The Shoreham-Wading River High School girls cross-country coach, Paul Koretzki, has seen Katherine Lee do some amazing things, but what Lee did on Saturday may have topped the cake.
Lee, a junior, has quite a running résumé. She was a state champion as a freshman and fourth as a sophomore. The last two years she was selected as Suffolk County’s most outstanding runner. Two years in a row she was a county champion.
On Saturday, Lee flew to first place in the 34th annual Brown University Northeast Invitational in a meet-record time of 16 minutes, 45.45 seconds on the five-kilometer course at Goddard Park in Warwick, R.I. That eclipsed a 13-year meet record of 16:52, which was set by Nicole Blood of Saratoga Springs, according to Koretzki.
Koretzki himself had trouble believing the time.
“This is her top race,” he said. “It was a D-I NCAA time. That’s really what it was.”
After Koretzki told Lee that she had set a record, she asked him if it was a school record. His response was, “‘No, that’s not the record I was talking about.”
Koretzki said, “She was a little shocked when I told her it was the meet record.”
Koretzki said the first mile of the race was the key, with Coe-Brown senior Alli Pratt pushing Lee hard. Lee just kept going the remainder of the race. She finished well ahead of the runner-up, Exeter junior Jacqueline Gaughan (17:12.56).
Shoreham senior Alexandra Hays finished fifth in 17:53.58. Two other Shoreham seniors, Maria Smith (18:21.22) and Payton Capes (18:41.61), were 10th and 12th, and yet another, Amanda Dwyer (19:32.63), was 29th.
The Wildcats won the team competition with 48 points. Bishop Guertin and Coe-Brown were their nearest challengers with 94 points each.
Koretzki said, “It was just a great performance, a great trip and the kids did really well.”