By Bill Landon
With Port Jefferson cross country runner Aileen Schretzmayer nagged by injury and Shoreham-Wading River superstar Katherine Lee out on a college visit, both teams struggled to perform up to par during the St. Anthony’s Invitational Oct. 6.
Since Lee, who ran the Sunken Meadow State Park course in 18 minutes, 10 seconds, currently the fastest girl in Suffolk County according to her coach, was visiting Stanford University to narrow down her college choices for next fall, junior Alexandra Smith was first across the 5K finish line for the Wildcats.
Out of 300 runners, Smith placed 11th with a time of 20:38.50 behind first-place finisher Maggie Maier, a sophomore from Sacred Heart who finished in 19:39.
“I was first [for my team] because Katherine wasn’t here, but it was my personal best,” Smith said. “The toughest part of the course for me was the down hills, but I’m pretty good at running up.”
Lee currently sits atop the Class B leader board and is ranked No. 8 in the nation and No. 2 out of all seniors, according to Shoreham Wading-River head coach Paul Koretzki.
The coach was pleased with his team’s eighth-place overall finish, especially given the outcome for a handful of his runners.
“The first five ran their fastest times today,” he said. “The only Class B team that beat us was Kings Park, by a couple of points, and with Katherine we would’ve been right up there, maybe even moved to third.”
Port Jefferson’s Schretzmayer was first to cross the finish line for the Royals in 24:51.14 placing 161st.
“It’s not her personal best,” Port Jefferson head coach Donald Slingerland said. “She’s been injured, so we’re trying to bring her back slowly.”
Second across the line for the Royals was junior Amanda Brosnan, who covered the distance in 28:23 for 250th.
Slingerland warned his girls to drink plenty of fluids during the warm day, and to slow down when they thought they needed to, especially on what Brosnan said is tough course.
“It was a really big race,” Brosnan said. “There’s a lot of people running today and people came to this race from Connecticut. Cardiac Hill — it’s like a quarter of a mile long, it’s steep and it’s dirt and it’s right in the middle of the course, [so when you get to it], you’re already pretty winded.”
Shoreham-Wading River sophomore Nicole Garcia, who clocked in at 21:55.50 for 38th, also spoke to the course’s demands.
“Cardiac Hill was definitely the hardest [part],” Garcia said. “It’s a very steep hill and you think it’s never going to end; it’s very difficult.”
Smithtown’s Catherine Farrell placed second, Gabrielle Schneider placed 6th and Emily Ginty wasn’t far behind in 12th. The trio gave the Bulls enough points to finish 4th in the team standings. Kings Park’s Bridget Roell placed 15th while the Kingsmen came in 6th overall.
In the 1.5-mile run, Ward Melville’s Briana Grant was the top-place finisher and teammate Julia Stafford crossed just inside the Top 10 with a 9th-place time to help the Patriots take first in the team standings. Kings Park’s Tanner Richter rounded out the Top 10.