The most accomplished runner in Shoreham-Wading River history added to her legacy Saturday morning.
Junior Katherine Lee won her second state championship to help lead the Wildcats to the Class B team title at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championships at Chenango Valley State Park in Chenango Forks.
Lee finished the five-kilometer course in 17 minutes, 53.7 seconds to finish nearly 30 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher, Olivia Elston of Goshen.
It is the second state title in school history for the Shoreham girls, who last won in 1986. Shoreham is one of only two schools from Suffolk County to ever win a state title in girls cross country. Bayport-Blue Point is the only other champion. The Phantoms won Class C in 2002.
Lee, who has now won all 11 races this year, was the state champion for Class B as a freshman and finished third last year. This race marked her fourth trip to the state meet.
Shoreham coach Paul Koretzki said Elston hung with Lee in the early part of the race, but Lee ultimately pulled away. While Lee’s time was faster than her record-setting run last week in the Section XI Championships, Koretzki said taking into account the differences in the two courses, the time at Sunken Meadow State Park likely stood out as a slightly better race.
Lee’s teammates weren’t too far behind. Seniors Alexandra Hays, Maria Smith and Payton Capes all finished in the top-18 overall. Hays ran 19:01 for 11th followed by Smith in 19:04.3 for 12th. Capes finished 18th in 19:14.4. The crucial fifth leg to secure the final team total went to sophomore Francesca Lilly, who finished in 20:39.1.
“The other girls ran well,” Koretzki said. “Putting four in the top-18 before they took the individuals out was really good.”
In the team scoring, which doesn’t factor the places of runners who ran as individuals, the Wildcats had four of the top eight runners. Their fifth runner’s finish of 31 gave the Wildcats a total score of 51. John Jay was second with 68 points.
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The Wildcats posted an average time of 19:10. Lee’s time was the fifth fastest on the course Saturday. Four runners in the Class A race eclipsed her time.
The Wildcats ran the first race of the day starting at 9 a.m. Koretzki said the conditions weren’t too bad for mid-November.
Next on the schedule for Shoreham will be a trip to the Federation Championships next weekend in Wappingers Falls.
In other races Saturday, Kaitlyn Butterfield of Bishop McGann-Mercy finished 36th overall in the Class C race in 20:25.9. Senior Victoria Barlow was 49th in 20:38.7 followed by fellow seniors Devyn O’Brien in 21:40.9 and Rita Ellis in 21:56.8. All four runners qualified as individuals since Mattituck won the team title last week.
On the boys side in Class C, Mercy sophomore Michael Senica finished 86th in 18:13.
Photo Credit: Robert O’Rourk, file