Suffolk Spotlight: Week 5 - Suffolk Officials / Manhattan

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

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The Manhattan Invitational week is a big one for many teams. As we wrote about last week, there were some important dual meets on Monday.  The bad weather did not prevent some teams from having monster days.  In the very difficult League 4, two squads, that have hopes of running all the way until late November, faced off.  East Islip and West Babylon had a back and forth battle over the 2.5 mile dual meet course at Sunken Meadow State Park.  East Islip ended up getting the better of West Babylon in a close meet.  West Babylon had the stronger fifth runner but could not overcome East Islip's top four runners.  Sayville also faced off against their rivals, Shoreham Wading River, in an earlier race.  Sayville is the Class B defending champions and they have shown their depth this season.  They are good through 8-9 runners and defeated Shoreham on Monday to cement their status as the favorites to repeat on November 4th.  

For the teams that did not travel to the Bronx to run at Van Cortlandt, there was the Suffolk Officials Invitational.  On a nice, cool, rain-free morning at Sunken Meadow, a few runners continued their ascension toward breaking twenty minutes.  Nassau County star Aislinn Frazer got the overall win in 20:09 over Mt. Sinai's Paige Sheiffele who ran 20:20.  Sheiffele led the Suffolk County runners with her second place finish.  She crossed the line just in front of one of the girls who she will see in the Class B championship race in November.  Right behind Sheiffele was East Hampton's Dylan Cashin at 20:23.  2021 Class A state qualifier Anna Gansrow who ran 20:32 for fourth place.  As we have written multiple times, the Class B race is going to be extremely competitive to make the state meet.  Sayville seems destined to repeat as a team and there are a plethora of girls who will be hunting those five individual spots.  Three of them were in this race and all three are very close right now.  For the second year in a row, Suffolk County has found an outstanding 7th grader (last year was the Wickard twins).  Traditionally, anything near 20:30 will get you All County honors and Mt. Sinai's superstar 7th grader Cali Gabrielson ran a 20:35 for fifth place.  She is now directly in the cross hairs for one of those five coveted Class B spots.  Comsewogue's Madison Cole may be able to nab one of the Class A individual spots if she keeps improving from the 20:40 she ran on Saturday.

Eastport South Manor took the team title behind the fourth place finish of Gansrow to beat Comsewogue 68 to 86.  ESM's team average was 22:00, also ahead of Comsewogue's 22:12.  Both teams were easily under the 23:00 threshold for qualifying for the county championships.   

The boys individual race was not quite as deep as the girls, but Huntington's Matt Armstrong got his first invitational win in an impressive 17:08 over Oyster Bay's Christopher Tardugno who ran 17:11.  Armstrong was nine seconds better than he was a few weeks ago at the Bob Pratt Invitational.  He will absolutely be a factor in qualifying for states as an individual in 25 days.  Harborfields' teammates James Ricci and Hartley Semmes were the only two Suffolk runners within 45 seconds of Amstrong for third and fourth place.  

A ton of teams traveled to Van Cortlandt to test themselves against some of the best teams and runners in the state over 2.5 miles at the Manhattan College Invitational.  A few teams entered into the Eastern States race while the rest of the teams entered into the individual letter races.  

On the girls side, there were not any notable performances in the A race or the B race (the race lettering is random and does not factor into the talent level of the people in the race).  In arguably the performance of the day (not the fastest race) Sophia McInnes from Bayport had the best cross country race of her career.  She won the C race by 18 seconds in a tremendous time of 14:50.  Breaking 15 minutes is very difficult to do, she ended the day as the fifth fastest performer overall and was the only person who broke 15:08 that was not in the Eastern States division.  Sophia is now the odds on favorite in Class B and has a good chance to finish in the top five at the state meet.  Beating Cornwall's Karrie Baloga will be virtually impossible (Cornwall moved from Class A to B this year) but she is one of the best of the rest.  She will most likely be the second ranked Class B runner in the state later this week.  In the very competitive Class B individual race, she will be extremely hard to beat.  Look for her to throw down an excellent time at the Division Meet when she will face Zariel Macchia from William Floyd.  

In the girls D race, Connetquot's Olivia Digaetano was Suffolk's top finisher in 16:17.  She also finished in the top 10 to help lead her team to a 6th place finish.  Their team average was 17:33 which was one of the better team performances at Manhattan.

Seemingly every week we write about North Babylon's Alicia DeFilippis but once again, she has a performance that warrants writing about.  She was the fourth fastest Suffolk girls performance of the day.  She broke 16 minutes when she finished in 15:57 to finish 9th in the E race.  Deer Park's Ava Capone fought for a 15th place finish in 16:43, just ahead of Vanessa Voltaire from Bay Shore who was 18th.  DeFilippis has an excellent shot to make her first state meet if she keeps improving.  Class A's race seems wide open depending on which team wins the race.                   

The F race was the Sayville show.  Sayville's top runner was their leader Mullane Baumiller.  She was the third fastest Suffolk runner of the day in 15:54 to place second in the last girls race of the day.  Their team average was 16:42 which was the second fastest team average from Suffolk on the day (West Babylon was in the Eastern States race).  Sayville is very deep, their top JV girl actually would have been their sixth girl on Varsity but was in the JV race.  They have room for improvement going forward and will be very difficult to beat in 25 days.  

The girls Eastern States Championship race was a tremendous individual battle between four of the top six girls in NY State.  Suffolk's top female runner for the last three years has been Macchia.  She finished in second place today behind Baloga who tied the 6th best time ever for the 2.5 mile course at Van Cortlandt Park.  Macchia now has the third fastest Suffolk time ever (14:24) behind Jillian Mastroianni (14:17) and Katherine Lee (14:19).  Macchia will not have to deal with Baloga at the state meet this year, but will have Saratoga's Emily Bush, Izzie Sullivan from Fayetteville Manlius and today's third place finisher Kate Putman from Cicero North Syracuse.  She will have to go through them, among others, to win her first state title.          

Earlier this week, two of the top three teams in Class A faced off in a dual meet.  At Manhattan, they locked horns again in the Eastern States and West Babylon was able to flip the results on East Islip.  Facing many of the top teams from the state, and some from out of state, West Babylon finished 14th and East Islip was one spot behind them in 15th.  They will see each other a few more times but November 4th is the big one.  West Babylon was led by Shannon Hieber who ran a very nice 16:11.  After Hieber, Alejandra Garcia ran a 16:26 as their number two.  They were the only Suffolk team to have all five of their runners break 17 minutes.  East Islip was led by freshman Danielle Simonetti who is one third of the Simonetti sisters.  She stopped the clock at 16:39 as their first runner and East Islip only had a 22 second spread.  West Babylon, East Islip and Sayville were all reasonably close in the merged results and it will be very interesting to see where they finish at the Division Meet before they split up to their separate classes on November 4th.

The first boys performance of the day was the fastest performance of the day.  Westhampton Beach's Max Haynia and Trevor Hayes led their team to an 8th place finish in the B race.  Haynia was the only Suffolk runner to break 13 minutes today.  He stopped the clock in 12:57 for fourth place in a very competitive letter race.  The majority of the boys who break 13, do it in their Eastern States race.  

In the C race, Sachem North's Dylan Friel finished just in front of Class C favorite Trevor Zappulla.  Both runners broke 14 minutes as they ran 13:42 and 13:48 when they finished 4th and 6th respectively.  Sachem North was the highest finishing team from Section XI in 8th behind Friel's performance.  

Race D had league two rivals Commack and Ward Melvile face each other.  Ward Melville edged out Commack by five points, 150 to 155 for third place overall.  Melville was led by breakout star Brian Liebowitz who was sixth in the race in the third best Suffolk time of the day 13:19.  As we have been saying for weeks, Liebowitz is one of the favorites to get an individual spot for the state meet and he will look to lead Ward Melville to at least the Federation meet.  Port Jefferson did not have anyone under 14 minutes, but they had a solid performance by putting four runners under 15 minutes to remain heavy Class C favorites.  

The main performance of note in the E race was from Connetquot's Gregory Baldinucci.  Baldinucci broke 14 minutes and finished in 16th place.  He was Connetquot's only runner under 15 minutes.  

In the F race, Bay Shore won the team title and were the best Suffolk team of the day overall in the merge.  Bay Shore was led by their star junior Jake Gogarty who had the fifth fastest Suffolk time of the day.  Gogarty ran 13:24 to lead Bay Shore to a team score of 109.  Their spread of 72 seconds still needs to get a bit closer but their team average of 14:00 was just ahead of Ward Melville's 14:01.  Class B hopeful Shoreham had their top two guys under 14 and will look to close their spread in four weeks to try and get to the state meet.  

The G race had the runner with the fastest Class A Suffolk time of the day.  That time was achieved by Smithtown's Douglas Antaky.  Antaky ran a 13:12 to place third and lead his team to a fourth place finish.  Antaky with Gogarty and Liebowitz will all be primed to be going upstate if Northport defends their title.

With 25 days to go before November 4th, things are starting to take shape.  Everyone will know everyone's cards after the Division Meet in 17 days.  Many of the classes on both sides have strong favorites at this point but plenty can change in the last four weeks.  With the dual meet season coming to a close soon, teams can get in more training with less breaks and big jumps in fitness can still be made.