Thanks to the magic of ‘combined’ cross country teams, fall friends turned into winter adversaries Saturday at the Suffolk boys track Large School Championships. For Smithtown, it came down to an age-old question, East or West? And, in the case of the mile at least, it was East.
Smithtown East’s Marius Sidlauskas won the 1,600 meters in four minutes, 25.34 seconds, barely holding off Smithtown West’s Michael Grabowski on the final straightaway at Suffolk CCC-Brentwood. Grabowski was second in 4:25.78.
“The race was going kind of slow,” Sidlauskas said. “The last two laps, I decided to take it out and it was all in the bag.”
But complete relief didn’t come until Sidlauskas crossed the line, with him and Grabowski battling — virtually shoulder to shoulder — as the finish line approached.
“I was pumping my arms so hard,” Sidlauskas said. “Every part of my body was working hard.”
The two are teammates in the fall, with Smithtown combining their two cross country programs, making for a very friendly final straightaway Saturday.
“Grabowski and I are such great friends,” Sidlauskas said. “To be honest, I was not expecting such a close race like that.”
But it was Smithtown West that ultimately got the last laugh — winning the team title with 52 points and topping Huntington by one.
“We left some points out there, like me in the 1,600 and some others, but it definitely came together as we wanted it,” Grabowski said. “Some guys had some breakout performances, like James Moran. He had a huge performance in the hurdles, a breakout third place [in 8.29 seconds]. Everyone did their job and, if they didn’t do well in one event, they were looking toward the next event.”
Grabowski was part of Smithtown West’s winning 4 x 800-meter relay team that, along with Nicholas Cipolla, Nick Muellers and Jake Agunzo, finished in 8:24.28. Muellers, the second leg, keyed the victory by running 2:03.
“In training, we are getting into some really strong speed stuff,” Muellers said. “So, we had a really strong foundation and now we’re able to get the extra speed and endurance, too.”
Huntington’s Kyree Johnson won both the 55 (6.44) and the 300 (35.35).