Cross Country: Wildcats headed back to states

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River senior Dan Purschke leads the Wildcats into the state championship this weekend.

As runners from across Suffolk County ran the 3.1-mile course at Sunken Meadow State Park Oct. 23, little did they know that a trip to the state championship was on the line.

Following Hurricane Sandy, the Section XI State Qualifier Nov. 2 at Sunken Meadow had to be postponed to Wednesday. Poor weather forced that to be canceled as a nor’easter ripped through the area.

So the qualifier had to be canceled as time ran out to hold the race before the state championship this weekend at Elma Meadows Park.

The only option left was to take the results from the division championship Oct. 23 to determine which teams would win the county titles.

That was good news for Shoreham-Wading River, the Division IV champs who are now headed to the state meet as Class B champions.

Led by junior Ryan Udvadia, who ran a superb time of 15 minutes 57.10 seconds, the Wildcats edged Bayport for the division title. The Phantoms were the team the Wildcats would have needed to beat again to win the county title in Class B.

The Wildcats will send their top seven runners to states, including senior Dan Purschke, sophomore Matt Gladysz, senior Joe Whelan, junior Keith Steinbrecher, senior Evan Purdy and junior Connor McAlary.

It’s the second straight year the Wildcats won the county title. Last year it took a tiebreaker to beat Harborfields.

McGann-Mercy will send one runner to the state meet. Junior Matt Abazis, who ran 18:28.4, also qualified for the state meet. The top five runners in each classification qualify in addition to the winning team, which sends seven runners. Mercy is a Class C school in cross country.

The Mattituck girls won the Class C county title for the first time since 2006 and the Tuckers will send seven runners to the state meet. For sophomore Kaylee Bergen and freshman Audrey Hoeg, it’ll be the second straight year running at states.

Bergen posted the top time for Mattituck at the division championship in 20:11.9, which was 15th fastest among all runners in the county. She was first in Division IV.

Junior Tara Gatz, eighth-grader Melanie Pfenning, freshman Mia Vasile-Cozzo, senior Sara Paparatto and Hallie Kujawski make up the rest of the Tuckers’ state-bound lineup.

The Southold boys also won the county crown in Class D. Sophomore Jonathan Rempe anchored Southold’s team at the division meet when he ran 18:38.10. He’ll be joined at the state meet by sophomore Gus Rymer, eighth-grader Owen Klipstein, sophomore Christopher Buono, junior Ian Toy, freshman Ronan Guyer and senior John Tomici.

Mercy will send two girls to the championship in Class C: Delina Auciello and Meg Tuthill. Auciello ran 20:32 at the division championship and Tuthill ran 21:05.5.

Southold, which won Class D last year, will send three girls to states: juniors Katie Connolly, Shannon Guyer and Justine Kundmueller.

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