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Cross Country: Lee clocks fastest Sunken Meadow time by Suffolk girl

Shoreham-Wading River runner Katherine Lee 110416

The fleet-footed Katherine Lee can cover ground on a cross-country course awfully quickly. On Friday the Shoreham-Wading River High School junior was flying. She ran the five kilometers at Sunken Meadow State Park faster than a Suffolk County girl had ever done before.

Lee won her third straight individual title in the Section XI Championships and led the way for Shoreham, which blew away the competition for its third successive county Class B championship.

Lee, who has won all 10 races she has run in this season, clocked a time of 18 minutes, 10.37 seconds in the state qualifier. That easily beat the previous fastest time by a Suffolk girl, Laura Cummings of Bay Shore, who ran Sunken Meadow in 18:15.3 in 2002, according to the Suffolk County Track Coaches Association. Lee’s latest performance is the fourth-fastest by a girl at Sunken Meadow. The course record of 18:07.5 was set by Christine Curtin of Mepham in 1981.

Seven Shoreham runners placed among the top 17 as the Wildcats put up 26 points, well ahead of runner-up Mount Sinai’s 57, for the team’s 14th county title.

Lee crossed the finish line nearly a full minute before the next runner, Mount Sinai’s Noreen Guilfoyle, who was timed in 19:07.37.

The next two runners, Maria Smith (19:14.55) and Payton Capes-Davis (19:25.40), wore Shoreham uniforms. Alexandra Hayes (20:06.35) was sixth, Amanda Dwyer (21:08.88) 12th, Francesca Lilly (21:22.30) 14th and Alexandra Smith (21:32.88) 17th.

As a team, Shoreham’s average time was 19:37.11.

The seven Shoreham runners qualified as a team for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championships that will be run Nov. 12 at Chenango Valley State Park.

Bishop McGann-Mercy senior Kait Butterfield was the Class C runner-up to Mattituck senior Melanie Pfennig, who won for the second year in a row. Pfennig’s time was 20:28.52, and Butterfield finished in 20:37.52. Mercy’s Tori Barlow (21:29.52) and Devyn O’Brien (21:37.27) were fifth and sixth, with teammates Rita Ellis (22:28.44) and Grace Hayes (22:44.18) coming in ninth and 10th.

Mattituck topped Mercy, 26-32, for its fifth straight county crown.

In Class A, freshmen Christina Yakaboski and Megan Kielbasa were the top finishers for Riverhead. Yakaboski was 13th in 20:25.99 and Kielbasa was 19th in 20:35.99.

First-year runner headed upstate. Mercy sophomore Michael Senica, in his first cross-country season, qualified for the state meet. Senica finished sixth in the Class C race in 18:32.51.

A Shoreham boy will not compete in the state meet for the first time in 22 years, according to coach Bob Szymanski. The top Shoreham finishers were Joe Krause (14th in 18:19.98) and Anthony Peraza (15th in 18:21.41). Shoreham’s Eric DiLisio was 19th in 18:37.12.

Riverhead’s top finisher was Eric Cunha, who came in 17th in 17:17.45.

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Photo caption: Shoreham-Wading River junior Katherine Lee ran the Sunken Meadow State Park course faster than a Suffolk County girl had ever done before. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)