Mixed feelings took to the trails this past Saturday as some veteran runners finished out their last 5k as a Lady Sailor while others achieved their long set goal to make it to the State Championship Meet. To put it into perspective, however, we have to look at where they started.
Walking onto the team nearly four years ago, the fastest time 5K time was about 23 minutes. The workouts included quarters (400m laps) at a 90 second pace, half miles at maybe 3:30 per and making the State Qualifier meet was an incredible accomplishment. However, based on the last meet, the team’s average 5k run is now at 20 minutes and 19 seconds with the fastest girls running just over 19 minutes. Working out five days a week, quarters are now run at almost 70 seconds a lap (with significantly less rest) and half miles in the 2:30s. This year, the team was eight seconds shy of second place at the state qualifier meet. So what changed?
If you ask beloved senior and captain Christina Moran, she’ll point to the mentality of our runners. “We treated winning as something that happened to other teams and we were just happy to make it to a certain point” she said. “And then we reached a phase where winning wasn’t just something that happened [for them], it was something [we] worked towards, something we should and could aspire to.” Evidently, the team took this attitude to heart as they ended off the season with five All Conference runners and four All County runners.
It was easy to see that the returning girls were getting faster each year, but the deciding factor had to be the younger teammates who held themselves to the same high standards that upperclassmen did. Nicola and Andria Scaglione (Nicki and Andi as they’re known on the team) not only held themselves to those standards as underclassmen, but raised the bar for the rest of the team.
Junior captains and two of the fastest distance runners on Long Island, Nicki and Andi bring an undeniable sense of grit and perseverance to the team. Now running at 19:46 and 19:08 respectively, it’s easy to see that their hard work has paid off. They both edged out the competition this past weekend running in the top ten in our larger county area and qualifying to run at the New York State Championships in Rochester!
This drive is something that will likely be passed on to future cross country runners. Freshman and varsity runner Emma Romano reflects that being on the ”varsity cross country team with the upperclassmen allowed [her] to create goals and develop the aspiration to reach the heights my role models have achieved.”
Coach Johnson, the girls’ Cross Country coach, hopes to win the County Championships in the near future and feels that it is a possibility with the current talent on the team. She further notes that she is so, “proud of the girls who ran this year,” and reflects on how they always, “went the extra mile.”
As a departing senior and captain myself, I have to say that I’ve never felt such pride to call myself an Oceanside runner as I do now. After four years, I can say with certainty that we have started a tradition here that will never graduate.