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Boys Cross-Country Preview: SWR has no stars, lots of competition

One will not find a star runner among them, but that doesn’t mean the Shoreham-Wading River High School boys cross-country team will not be shooting for the sky — or at least the top of Suffolk County League VI.

Bob Szymanski, who is in his 38th year coaching the Wildcats, likes the competition he sees within the team. Compared to last year’s squad, which went 5-1 and finished second in the league to Miller Place, Szymanski said the current Wildcats are “similar in we don’t have an outstanding one above the rest, but they seem to run well together.”

SWR’s top runner could be senior captain Raymond LaPorte or junior Eric DiLisio or junior Joe Krause, an All-Division selection. “It’s going to be real close,” said Szymanski.

Also in the running for scoring positions are junior Chris Vedder, sophomore Adam Zelin, freshman Jacob Jablonski (the No. 1 runner on last year’s junior high school team), freshman Garrett Frost, senior Patrick Lane, sophomore Camden Sisler, junior Andrew Liguori and senior Brendan Madden.

Last year a SWR boy did not compete in the state meet for the first time in 22 years, according to Szymanski. The top SWR finisher in the Section XI Championships Class B race at Sunken Meadow State Park’s 3.1-mile course was Krause (14th in 18 minutes, 19.98 seconds).

Szymanski said Krause and DiLisio could have what it takes to make it to the state meet, “but I wouldn’t knock out those other guys.”

“The kids train hard and they pull for one another,” he said. “They’re just good young kids.”

So, what does Michael Senica do for an encore?

Last year, in his first cross-country season, the Bishop McGann-Mercy runner qualified for the state meet, no mean feat. His time of 18:32.51 brought him sixth place in Class C at the Section XI Championships at Sunken Meadow State Park. At the state meet he was clocked in 18:13.

Now, as a junior, Senica wants to return to the state meet — only this time he wants some company.

“He wants to go to the state meet really bad and he wants to bring some other guys [from the Mercy team] with him,” said coach Les Williams.

Senica, the team captain, has undoubted talent. He has run two miles in 10:56. This past spring he ran a mile in 4:44.

“I gave him the workouts after spring and said, ‘This is what you got to do during summer,’ and he went out and did that,” Williams said. “He can be very good. He works extremely hard. He gives a hundred percent.”

Mercy (0-5) has sophomores Robert DeWitt and Philip Marino back in addition to junior Robert Penn. New to the team are freshman Anthony Senica, who is Michael’s brother, and sophomore John Anthony Miller.

“They ran all summer, so I think they’re going to be OK,” Williams said. “These guys are very dedicated.”

The Monarchs lost sophomore Anthony Varacchi, however. Varacchi, who would have been one of the team’s top runners, transferred to Longwood.

Riverhead coach Matt Yakaboski did not return messages prior to the deadline.

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Photo caption: Shoreham-Wading River junior Joe Krause was an All-Division selection last year. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk, file)