Suffolk Spotlight: Week 1 - Jim Smith Invite

This year, MileSplit NY is highlighting specific communities within New York State. Vince Brock, a contributor from Section 11, will be running a Suffolk recap each week, with plans to expand to Nassau as well.
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The first meet at Sunken Meadow every year is the Jim Smith Invitational which is hosted by Port Jefferson. Jim Smith holds their races by age instead of separating them into different, equal but separate team races.  The races only score three runners instead of the usual five so the winning scores are much lower.  

Most years, Jim Smith is one of the slower meets at Sunken Meadow because it is most teams first invitational and it's also much hotter than the later season invitationals. It's not uncommon to see runners from both genders take multiple minutes off their time over the next 8 weeks.  A high finish in any of the races at Jim Smith is a good indication for later season success as well as proving who put in quality work over the summer.

The freshman races for the boys and girls are on the 1.47 mile course.  Brittany Sheffey, the former state champion from Bellport holds the course record at 7:59.  No one has ever been close to that time until Zariel Macchia nearly broke it last year when she ran 8:01.6 at Bob Pratt.  

This year's freshman girls team race was dominated by the very strong East Islip team.  Their four freshmen came back after a very nice dual meet win on Thursday to put their three scorers in the top 8.  They were led by Danielle Simonetti, one of the three Simonetti sisters on East Islip's team who won the race in 8:52.  Shoreham had two girls in the top five and were only one point behind East Islip through two runners.  Shoreham's top girl, Olivia Pesso also broke 9 minutes and led them to a third place finish.  Any runner under, or close to 9 minutes on this course is in good shape to start the season on the girls side.

The boys race was won by Rocky Point's Trevor Green who became the first person under 8 minutes on the season when he broke the tape in 7:54.  Breaking 8 makes you one of the elite freshmen in the county every year, to do it this early is a great sign for late season success. Sayville's Dylan Walsh and Port Jeff's Blake Weaver were the next two finishers and have an excellent chance to break 8 later in the season 8:07 and 8:08.  Smithtown took down the team title with 35 points with good depth closer to 9 minutes.  

The sophomore girls race top three were three girls that don't run in Section XI.  Maggie McCabe from Notre Dame took the title in 21:08.  Lana Jewett  from South Side and Olivia Czoch from Saint Anthony's were the rest of the top three.  Suffolk's first finisher was Gwen Connelly from host school Port Jefferson.  This is a big breakthrough for Connelly who now has to be considered for the Class D title with more improvement.  With no XC times from last year listed on Milesplit, this is the kind of addition to a small school team that can change who goes to the state meet.  Longwood was the first Suffolk team in the team standings in fourth place.  

The sophomore boys race is usually an interesting one at Jim Smith.  It shows the improvements last year's freshmen have made over the summer and for many, it's their first 5k at Sunken Meadow.  The top 7 individual finishers in this race were from Suffolk County.  Jake Albert from Lindenhurst took home the individual title in 18:17 over big efforts from Colin Veit and Patrick Shea who both were under 18:34.  Those are excellent times for early season sophomore's.  Kings Park, Rocky Point, and North Babylon finished 2-3-4 in the boys sophomore race behind Suffern.  

The girls and boys junior class races were both the fastest of the day (a common occurrence at this meet).  Marymount's Tess O'Donoghue made a huge leap since last track season and broke 20 minutes, winning by 64 seconds in 19:54 over South Side's Claire Bohan.  Suffolk county's first finisher was Paige Sheiffele, one half of Mount Sinai's superstar twins.  She started the season with a 21:08 which is similar to what she did last year when she ended up running 19:40 at the Division Championships.  Right behind her was East Hampton's Dylan Cashin who opened up ten seconds faster than her 2021 All-County season in 21:16.  East Hampton and Bay Shore tied for second with 31 points which was right behind South Side in the team scores.  

Two of the favorites for the Section XI Class A title squared off against each other on the boys side.  9:23 3200 runner Jake Gogarty from Bay Shore and Smithtown's Douglas Antaky were well ahead of the rest of the field and both ran 17:30 or better.  Gogarty got the win in 17:25 but was only five seconds up on Antaky.  They were the only two runners on the day under 17:50 and were 45+ seconds ahead of third place.  These two are heavy favorites for two of the spots for states but both of them lead good teams that will look to upset Northport in early November.  Class B co-favorite Miller Place won by 10 points over Smithtown in the team scores 21-31.

The girls senior race did not have a Suffolk County finisher until Georgia Buckley from Mattituck in 6th place.  The race was won by South Side's Cameron Coletti in a very nice 20:39.  She won the race by over a minute and a half over Saint Anthony's Kierra Udell.  Suffern and Saint Anthony's finished first and second in the team race with Mattituck in fourth with 39 points.  

Mason Meyer from Suffern took home the boys Senior race title ahead of Port Jefferson's Brendan Capodanno in 17:55.  Capodanno will look to lead Port Jefferson's much improved team to the Class D title in November.  Capodanno put in a ton of work over the summer and ran a huge Sunken Meadow PR of 18:00.  Port Jeff will be hard to beat for the team title based on Jim Smith results.  Suffern had a dominant team win over Shoreham in the team competition.  

The overall team performance of the weekend came from Class B favorite Sayville who traveled to the Pre-State Meet at VVS.  They showed off their new additions of Marianna Duffy and Catherine Simovich, both only in 8th grade.  They add a ton of depth to 2021's champion and they are now officially the favorites for Class B and one of the best overall teams in Suffolk County.  They finished fifth in the merge behind a lot of the top teams in the state.  They were led by 10:13 3000 runner Mullane Baumiller.  They have no seniors in their top five from yesterday and they were without their third girl from last fall's county meet so they will be even stronger at full strength.  Speed ratings from the pre-state meet seem slightly low and Sayville's performance will most likely seem better as the season goes on.     

Many teams did not race this weekend and will most likely open up on 9/17.  Look for a lot more results from Section XI athletes after this weekend.  Also keep an eye out for Zariel Macchia in the USA 10k Road Championships in Northport at the Cow Harbor Race.  She will be racing some of the country's best professional runners.