Three school records in five days.
It’s been a busy, eventful run for four members of the Shoreham-Wading River High School girls winter track team.
A foursome made up of three seniors and a junior set records in the 4 x 800-meter relay and the distance-medley relay on successive days. If that wasn’t enough, the lone junior, Katherine Lee, went on to break a record in the 3,000.
It all started last Wednesday in the Millrose Games trials at The Armory in New York City. The 4 x 800 team of Payton Capes-Davis, Amanda Dwyer, Alexandra Hays and Lee won in 9 minutes, 18.12 seconds. It is the second-fastest time in the nation this year and a school record, according to coach Paul Koretzki. The time shattered the previous Shoreham record of 9:32 that Megan Holden, Jennifer McNerney, Katrina Kothe and Rachel Schivers set during the 1986-87 season.
Davis ran the opening leg in 2:21.9, putting Shoreham sixth among 15 teams. Dwyer took the baton and then ran the same exact time against weaker runners, moving the Wildcats into second place. Hays then took first place by 1/10th of a second with a 2:22.1 split, and Lee capped it off with the fastest 800 a Shoreham girl has ever run, 2:11.9, said Koretzki.
The four qualified to run in the Millrose Games Feb. 11 at The Armory. No Shoreham girl has ever competed at the prestigious meet, which was held at Madison Square Garden from 1914 to 2011.
“Oh, they were very excited,” Koretzki said. “I didn’t think they were going to win. They didn’t, either.”
Similarly, the Wildcats weren’t expecting much the following night when they ran the distance-medley relay in the Zeitler Relays at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood.
“Really it was just run for fun,” said Koretzki.
They did more than that, though, winning in 12:15.87, which Koretzki said is the fastest time in the nation this year. Hays ran the opening 1,200 meters in 3:49, Capes-Davis ran 400 in 1:04, Dwyer ran 800 in 2:24 and Lee ran 1,600 in 4:56.
“None of us really had our best day, but together it was a really great time,” said Lee.
Capes-Davis was on her cellphone shortly after the race, checking to see how their time ranked in the nation. “I’m really weird and love to check stats,” she said.
“They’re all on their iPhones and trying to find out what the fastest time is,” Koretzki said, “and then they let out a yell, ‘We did it! We did it!’ ”
The mark set a new school record, bettering the 12:22.79 that Kaitlyn Ohrtmann, Megan Kelly, Dwyer and Lee set last year.
“They’re obliterating everything,” said Koretzki.
What is it like to be a record-setter?
“It’s just one of those things that you never forget,” Capes-Davis said. “In that moment, it feels like you’re on top of the world.”
Asked for her take on these record-setting runs, Dwyer said: “I think it’s crazy. When we first started, everyone had decent talent, but everyone just exploded with talent now. Everyone’s just at their prime right now, so it’s really exciting.”
There was more excitement to come Sunday night in the Art Mitchell Invitational at SCCC. Lee broke the Suffolk County indoor record in the 3,000 with a time of 9:37.77. That eclipsed the mark of 9:48.00 that Mary Kate Anselmini of Ward Melville set in 2011 at The Armory, according to Suffolkxctf.com. The previous Shoreham record of 10:04 was set by McNerney in 1987.
“It’s just so exciting to go down in Shoreham and county history with all of these times,” Lee said. “I think it’s really great that we’re all making such a huge mark.”
What did Koretzki have to say about those eventful five days?
“That was a really fantastic show,” he said.
But, the question has to be asked: Are there more records down the road?
Said Hays, “Yeah, definitely.”
Photo caption: From left, Amanda Dwyer, Payton Capes-Davis, Alexandra Hays and Katherine Lee turned in record-setting relay runs for Shoreham-Wading River on back-to-back days. (Credit: Bob Liepa)