Cross Country: SWR junior named top runner

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River junior Ryan Udvadia was honored as the top runner in the county.

Shoreham-Wading River junior Ryan Udvadia was honored as Suffolk County’s top runner at the cross country awards dinner following a tumultuous end of the season for everyone involved in the sport.

Udvadia became the third Shoreham runner to win the award, joining Dion Telting and Bobby Andrews in the exclusive club.

Udvadia ran 15 minutes, 57.1 seconds at the Division Championship in late October in one of the best races at Sunken Meadow State Park in years. Mike Branigan of Northport narrowly edged him for the victory.

Based on his body of work over the season, which included six invitational victories, Udvadia was selected over Branigan as the top runner.

At the state championship Udvadia was ninth overall in 16:08.8 among Class B runners.

He was one of four players to earn all-county honors along with Joe Whelan, Matt Gladysz and Dan Purschke.

The Wildcats won their 10th straight league title during the season and the county crown for the eighth time in the last 10 years. The two years they didn’t win they were second.

The end of the cross country season was thrown into disarray by Hurricane Sandy. The state qualifier meet had to be cancelled and the results from the divisions were used to determine which runners advanced.

Then, at the state championship, Southold freshman Ronan Guyer slipped and hit his chest on the ground during a practice run. He went into cardiac arrest and then into a coma at a Buffalo hospital. He later died from his injuries at the age of 14.

Shoreham coach Bob Szymanski looked over the Southold runners at the state meet while coach Karl Himmelmann stayed at the hospital.

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