Best known for her cross country prowess, Shoreham-Wading River’s Katherine Lee can outlast almost any runner on Long Island. Over the course of a 5-kilometer race, it’s her outstanding endurance that has kept Lee at the top of the best-of lists in the fall, and won her a state public school Class B cross country championship two seasons ago.
However, Suffolk saw a different side of Lee on Sunday. A quick side, a fast side, a side that shows her tremendous versatility. It was a side that even Lee, who ran in the unseeded heat of the 600 meters, didn’t know she had.
Lee won the event in 1 minute, 37.06 seconds at the Suffolk Small School Championships at Suffolk Community College in Brentwood.
“My coach threw me in the race because we needed the points,” said Lee, a sophomore who estimated that she’s run the 600 once since seventh grade. “At first, I was upset that I wasn’t running my race, like a 3,000, but then I realized that [teammates] Alexandra [Hays] and Kaitlyn [Ohrtman] have that one, so I’ll just see what I can do in the 600.”
The instructions from coach Paul Koretzki were simple — sprint the whole time, as hard as you possibly can.
“I just felt more awake than I would have in the 3,000 meters,” Lee said. “The 3,000 is more of a laid-back start. Everyone just goes out and tries to find their spot. In the 600, everyone is just trying to get in front of everyone. It was really scary and I thought I was going to get spiked.”
Huntington, which needed a strong performance in the 4 x 200 relay to secure a team championship, won with 49 points. Shoreham-Wading River was second with 41. It is the second consecutive year Huntington has won both boys and girls Suffolk small school championships.
“This was all I could have asked for at this point,” Alex Koumas said.
The Blue Devils set four school records en route to the title.
That 4 x 200 relay team, composed of Ryann Gaffney, Latoya Shand, Marina Ruzic and Savannah Richardson, won in 1:49.12. That time broke the school record of 1:49.66 set last year.
Gaffney ran a 7.69 in the 55 meters, breaking the 7.71 school mark, set in 2011 by Dania Merilan and tied last year by Ruzic. East Islip’s Jackie Ginty won the event in 7.28 seconds.
Gaffney also finished third in the 55-meter hurdles in 8.94 seconds, breaking Leslie O’Brien’s 2007 mark of 9.04. Comsewogue’s Tori Reid won in 8.6 seconds.
Koumas finished fourth in the 600 in 1:39.64, breaking her own record of 1:40.20, set last year, Huntington assistant coach Shawn Anderson said.