Two of Long Island’s top cross-country runners proved Tuesday night that a change in season doesn’t have to mean a change in status. Shelter Island’s Kal Lewis, who is coming off his second straight Class D public school cross-country state championship, and Northport’s Sean Ryan, who was a Newsday All-Long Island selection in the fall, both won at a Suffolk crossover meet at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood.
Lewis won the 1,000 meters in 2 minutes, 43.06 seconds and Ryan won the 600 in 1:28.24. Both have different events and faster times in mind, with the early part of the season focused on getting ready to run a quick 1,600 time in January and beyond.
“Cross country’s a completely different season. You don’t really train for speed as much,” Ryan said. “So, from where I was last spring, I don’t have the same speed I did when I was doing the 800 and the mile at the end of the year. It’s a little more difficult to finish the race at the beginning of the season.”
To build back those quick legs, speed training is a large part of the season’s opening month. Ryan even ran a 300 for the first time Tuesday — clocking a 40.57 in a race that is significantly faster than anything he’s used to.
So, how far is he from optimum fitness?
“I’d say I’m getting pretty close,” Ryan said. “I’m trying to run fast in early January…I want to build up that speed that I need early in the season, get it over with quickly, and run a quick mile at the Hispanic Games (Jan. 4-5 at the Armory in Manhattan).”
Ryan said his goal is to win at the Hispanic Games and qualify for the Millrose Games, scheduled for Feb. 9 at the Armory.
Lewis also finished third in the 1,600 in 4:47.66. Northport’s Thomas Fodor won in 4:38.13.
Copiague’s Aryes Garrett injured his quadricep in the summer and reaggravated it in September, causing him to miss most of the cross-country season. He made up for the absence with an 8.39 second clocking in winning the 55-meter hurdles.
Garrett ran a personal best 8.31, last week.
“I was looking to go under my [personal best],” Garrett said of Tuesday’s race. “I didn’t have much practice because it’s been cold and we’ve been inside doing sprints in the hallways…I was just trying to run and make sure I was ahead of the pack by doing what I’m used to.”
Elsewhere, Southampton’s Luke Rey won the 55 dash in 6.73 seconds, Copiague’s Jackson Bright cleared 5 feet, 8 inches to win the high jump and Bright’s teammate, James Holland, flew 20 feet, 6 ¼ inches to win the long jump.