You wouldn’t have known it was Zariel Macchia’s first time running the 5-kilometer course at Bowdoin Park.
Macchia dominated the top runners in New York at the state Federation championship on Nov. 18. The Floyd junior won in 17 minutes and 59.4 seconds, nearly 25 seconds faster than the field.
“I’ve been enjoying a lot this season,” Macchia said. “I’ve gone to a few races that I’ve never been to before, I’ve gotten to run new courses and meet new people.”
Before claiming the state Federation title, Macchia won the Nike XC Town Twilight Classic in Terre Haute, Indiana, in 17:00.9. She also won the 4K Eastern States Championship at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx in 14:10.3, the fastest time ever run on the course by a Long Islander, according to MileSplit.
Macchia then won the Suffolk Division championship and the Suffolk Class A championship for the fourth consecutive season.
The 18:19 time she clocked at the Suffolk division championships ranks fifth all-time among Suffolk girls at Sunken Meadow State Park.
That set her up for a second-place finish in the Class A race at the public school state championships at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School. She won the state Federation championship a week later.
The winning didn't stop there. Macchia won the Foot Locker Northeast Championship on the 5K course at Franklin Park in Boston in 17:13, qualifying her for Foot Locker Nationals at San Diego's Balboa Park on Dec. 9.
“When I first started running, winning a Foot Locker regional wasn’t even something that crossed my mind,” Macchia said. “That’s something that I looked forward to all year, and to be able to win was really exciting.”
At Foot Locker regionals, Macchia beat a lineup of top runners from Maryland, Delaware, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and New England.
“It’s a really good opportunity to challenge myself,” Macchia said. “To have other people there who are the same or better than I am is a special opportunity.”