Zariel Macchia of William Floyd crosses the 1500m finish line...

Zariel Macchia of William Floyd crosses the 1500m finish line in first place during the Suffolk Track and Field final state qualifying day on Friday, June 3, 2022 in Comsewogue. Credit: Dawn McCormick

All things considered, Zariel Macchia believes she’s better this year. And, two weeks before Halloween, that could be a haunting premonition for the rest of the country. The Floyd sophomore spent her eighth grade season making a name for herself – during a pandemic, no less. She spent her freshman year proving that she belongs on the cross country trails (and the indoor or outdoor track, for that matter) with the best girls in the country.

Now, it’s Macchia’s time to shine and, so far, she’s taking full advantage of it. Last weekend, she placed second in 14 minutes, 24.2 seconds in the Eastern States Championship race at the prestigious Manhattan College Invitational, run on the 4-kilometer course at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. Cornwall’s Karrie Baloga won in 13:55.3.  Macchia ran faster than Cicero – North Syracuse’s Kate Putman, who is committed to NC State – the defending NCAA outdoor track and field national champions.

“We all started fast,” Macchia said. “After the quick start, we all settling into race pace. As soon as that happened, Baloga made a pretty big move. Nobody really went to chase her. I didn’t go cover the move because I thought maybe she had run a little too hard early. But, she ended up getting away from us. I did a good job focusing on racing the other girls that were there and not worrying about if we had lost [Baloga].”

A week earlier, Macchia won at the St. Anthony’s Invitational, running Sunken Meadow State Park’s famously difficult 5K in 18:49.52. Those two races, coupled with a victory at the Six Flags Wild Safari Invitational (18:23) and a new 5K personal best (17:08.68) has Macchia satisfied with what’s behind her and excited for what’s next.

“Just looking at some indicators throughout the season, so far it looks like I'm having a better season than last year and hopefully that continues into the championship races,” Macchia said.

By any measure, Macchia was excellent last season. She was 12th at the Eastbay Cross Country National Championships in San Diego, the fastest freshman or sophomore in the field.

Macchia’s successes started in two September community races. Macchia ran that 17:08.68 personal best at the Smith Point Bridge Run for Literacy, a race where she won, beating both adult men and women. She also ran the first 5K in 17:50 at the Cow Harbor 10K in Northport, finishing in the top 75 in a race with nearly 4,000 finishers.

“My summer training had gone well and that was a good, hard effort,” she said of the Smith Point Bridge Run.

Once Macchia gets through the state postseason in early November, she’ll set her sights on two national competitions. She intends to run at the Champs Sports Cross Country National Championships (formally Eastbay and Footlocker) in San Diego and the Garmin RunningLane Cross Country Championships in Alabama, both held in December.  

“As of right now, those are my plans,” Macchia said. “Things can always change, but I think that’s what we’re going to stick with.”


Calhoun’s Logan Schaeffler continued his fast fall season with a 13:04.5 victory in the Varsity F race at the Manhattan College Invitational last weekend.

“It surprised me,” Schaeffler said. “My goal was top 10-15 and just trying to stay in there with the best guys.”

Schaeffler said he began the race in the middle of the pack and worked his way up towards the front, passing upstate Vestal’s Liam Cody on the final downhill.

“I just picked [them] off one by one,” he said. “…I thought If I keep a good pace, I could get the last guy.”

Schaeffler entered the weekend with the top 5K time on Long Island, according to He ran a 15:18.2 on the endlessly fast Eisenhower Park course in September.

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