This race promised to be a good one, and it didn’t disappoint.
It was an intriguing sight, to be sure. The leading six runners in the 12-girl field in the Division III 1,500-meter final were clumped together like a big ball of pasta for the first half of Thursday’s race as spectators at Comsewogue High School’s Tom Cassese Athletic Field waited for some separation.
Shoreham-Wading River’s Alexandra Hays had pulled in front at the start, and led the way with a first-half split time of 2 minutes 36 seconds.
By the third lap, teammate Kaitlyn Ohrtman moved to the lead as the pack was reduced to four: Ohrtman, Hays, Shoreham’s Katherine Lee and Bishop McGann-Mercy’s Meg Tuthill.
On the final lap, Ohrtman made a move on the outside, but then Lee turned on the jets with an energetic burst on the final turn to race across the finish line first. In keeping with the manner of the race, the first three finished within three seconds of each other: Lee in 4:41.22, Ohrtman in 4:42.37 and Tuthill in 4:43.95.
It was quite a showing by Lee, the sophomore who has done so much. On the first day of the meet two days earlier, she won both the 800 (edging Tuthill at the line by 39/100ths of a second) and the 3,000.
“She is amazing,” coach Paul Koretzki said. “She puts the hammer down.”
When it comes to the 1,500, Shoreham is rich in depth. That was visibly demonstrated with six Wildcats among the event’s 12 finalists. Five of them finished among the top seven. Hays was fourth in 4:46.53. Mercy’s Kaitlyn Butterfield (4:50.47) edged Shoreham’s Amanda Dwyer (4:50.97) for fifth. Shoreham’s Maria Smith was seventh in 4:52.48 and Mattituck’s Melanie Pfennig took eighth in 5:02.70.
Bayport-Blue Point ran away to the Division III title with 115 points in the Section XI Division Championships while Shoreham was a distant second with 77 1/2.
Tuthill did taste victory, though, in the 4×800-meter relay, which amounted to a showdown between the top two seeds, Mercy and Shoreham.
Maddie Joinnides, running the third leg, brought Mercy the lead and gave Tuthill, handling the anchor leg, a cushion to hold off the dangerous Lee and close out the victory in 9:25.34. Olivia Kneski and Kaitlyn Butterfield also ran for the Monarchs.
Shoreham, which included Ohrtman, Dwyer and Hayes, posted a time of 9:31.67.
The 800 is Shoreham junior Payton Capes-Davis’ strength in the pentathlon, and she won that race by nearly 11 seconds in 2:25.80 to secure second place in the pentathlon with 2,231 points. Miller Place’s Jillian Patterson was the pentathlon champion with 2,333.
In her other pentathlon events, Capes-Davis ran the 100-meter high hurdles in 19.51, high jumped 4 feet 4 inches, threw the shot put 22-10 1/2 and long jumped 14-1 1/4.
In other events:
• Riverhead’s Madelyn Batista was third in the Division II high jump, reaching 5-0.
• Shoreham pole vaulter Haley Lindell cleared 9-6, good for fourth place. Teammate Gabriella Massa was tied for sixth at 8-6.
• Kneski finished fifth in the 400 in 1:00.30.
• Mattituck’s foursome of Alya Ayoub, Jordyn Maichin, Miranda Annunziata and Meg Dinizio was fifth in the 4×100 relay in 52.73.
Photo caption: Shoreham-Wading River sophomore Katherine Lee finished first in the 1,500 meters, her third triumph in the Section XI Division Championships. (Credit: Bill Landon)