Paul Koretzki isn’t afraid to make a bold statement about the long-distance runners on his Shoreham-Wading River High School girls track and field team. Without hesitation, the coach called the five runners in question “the greatest distance team in the history of Suffolk County, maybe in the state of New York.”
A bold comment like that requires bold supporting evidence. Here it is: two national champion relay teams and five All-Americans — junior Katherine Lee and seniors Payton Capes-Davis, Amanda Dwyer, Aly Hayes and Maria Smith.
Katherine Lee’s face lit up in glee.
It was at once a familiar sight, and an unusual one at the same time.
Quantity is great. It sure helps, but sometimes nothing beats quality.
Perhaps more than anything, that was the lesson to be taken from Shoreham-Wading River’s triumph in the Section XI girls track and field division championships. Five Shoreham athletes accounted for all but 10 of the team’s 105 points as the Wildcats claimed their seventh Suffolk County championship in the meet, which wrapped up Friday at Ward Melville High School.
One could surmise that the Shoreham-Wading River High School girls track and field team’s showing in the 3,000 meters in the Section XI Division Championships on Tuesday is a reflection of the team’s outstanding depth at that distance.
Well, yes and no.
It’s not something that is seen every day, an athlete from one team cheering on an athlete from another team, a rival team at that.
But there was Kait Butterfield of the Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School girls track and field team urging on Mattituck’s Melanie Pfennig during a race Tuesday. The two seniors are living proof that rivals can be good friends.
Shoreham-Wading River High School may have had better girls track and field teams, but the top end of the roster is as good as it has ever been.
That’s what Paul Koretzki says, and he should know better than anyone, having coached the team since its inception in 1980.
That sounds like an odd approach for a track and field runner, but that is exactly what Maddie Joinnides wants to do this season — off the track, of course.
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. READ