Bayport-Blue Point’s Sophia McInnes wins the 1,500-meter Run during the...

Bayport-Blue Point’s Sophia McInnes wins the 1,500-meter Run during the Art Mitchell girls track and field meet on Saturday at Suffolk CCC-Brentwood. Credit: Bob Sorensen

It’s late January and Sophia McInnes is back where she belongs – dominating a distance race in Suffolk County. McInnes, a Bayport – Blue Point sophomore, won the 1,500 meters in four minutes, 40.06 seconds at the small school session of the Art Mitchell Meet at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood Saturday morning.

The time – the second-fastest on Long Island, according to milesplit.com  - served as a helpful tune-up for next weekend’s county championships. It also served as another reminder that McInnes is the real deal when it comes to distance on Long Island. Only Floyd’s Zariel Macchia has run a faster 1,500 this season.

McInnes’ cross country season was cut short after the she collapsed entering the home straightaway at the unusually warm Suffolk Division Championships at Sunken Meadow State Park in October. At the time, McInnes was the 11th ranked runner in the state – according to speed ratings found on tullyrunners.com – and was among the favorites to win the Class B public school state title.

“I was really disappointed,” she said. “I thought I was on such a roll. I was pushing myself every meet, getting better and better. I thought I was going to do so well that last race, and I collapsed the last 200 meters. I wasn’t expecting it. It was upsetting.”

As far as she knows, McInnes never lost consciousness while collapsing, but realized something might be wrong after Cardiac Hill.

“The whole race wasn’t a struggle,” she said. “I felt fine, and then I started tripping over myself in the last 400-800 meters, right after Cardiac. I turned off the concrete bridge to the last straightaway, tripped over myself and couldn’t get back up….I was scared because that’s never happened to me before. I wasn’t exactly sure what happened, in that moment.”

McInnes said the collapse was due, in part, to over exhaustion and dehydration – which has caused her to change some of her pre-race habits.

“I’ve been drinking (fluids) much more,” she said. “I have a jug that I’ve been drinking everyday. I try to drink at least two…..I’ve been eating more carbs and proteins.”

McInnes said she was cleared by doctors on Dec. 12 to begin running again. Wasting no time at all, she began her indoor training on Dec. 13 – after nearly two months away from running.

“We started off a little easy,” she said. “But, we got right back into it….In the beginning, it was a little difficult (to find my legs), but as soon as I got the hang of it again, I felt totally fine.”

On Saturday, McInnes said she executed her race plan perfectly and feels like, physically, she’s where she needs to be one week before the county championships.

“I did everything I was supposed to do with pushing myself hard, going out right away, trying to have a good lead,” she said. “It was fun to push myself that hard.”

Elsewhere, Sayville’s Mullane Baumiller won the 1,000 in 3:12.67. Baumiller, whose 10:11.28 victory in the 3,000 at the Stanner Games two weeks ago is still the top time on Long Island, ran the shorter event Saturday as a change of pace. She expects to go back to longer distance at the county championships next weekend.

“I didn’t really know how to pace myself,” she said. “It was a new experience.”

Baumiller still won by a large margin, taking control of the race early and running 8.36 seconds ahead of the field.

“I really didn’t have a strategy going into it,” she said. “I was just thinking I had to go as hard as I could. I thought of it as an 800, but a little longer...It was fun, but I’d rather stick with the longer stuff.”

Deer Park’s Alexandra Geosits won the 600 in 1:41.29 and Westhampton’s Madison Phillips won the 55 hurdles in 9.23 seconds. Port Jefferson’s Jenna Jacobs won the 55 in 7.55 seconds and the 300 in 42.85.



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