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Girls Winter Track: Lee’s relaxed approach is a winner

It’s a different Katherine Lee that has been racing around tracks in a Shoreham-Wading River uniform this winter track season. It’s a relaxed Katherine Lee.

Lee’s more relaxed approach has been in keeping with her theme for her senior season.

“I’m a little bit more relaxed with myself as an athlete,” she told reporters. “I’ve been able to embrace ‘try your best but, you know, whatever happens happens; it’s out of your control.’ And especially I feel like the high school running stage has become so competitive in the past like 10 years. I think everyone’s just doing everything they can to get ahead when, you know, I have goals for college and I have goals for later in life, so I’m hoping to, you know, just relax now and be able to be fresh when I enter that collegiate stage.”

This being her final run go-around before the spring season and then running for Georgetown University in the fall, Lee is taking time to smell the roses — when she’s not running, of course.

On the track, though, she’s still all business.

Lee said she had a choice between two approaches to the 1,000-meter race in the Section XI small school team championships Thursday night at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood. Some had advised her to use it as if it was a workout. Others said she should “go for it, give it all you got.”

In the end, Lee said, “I don’t think I did, either. I did something in the middle.”

What Lee did was set Shoreham and small school meet records, winning in 2 minutes, 52.65 seconds. Mount Sinai freshman Kaitlyn Chandrika (2:59.19) was her nearest competition.

Lee broke the previous small school meet record of 2:57.18, set by Elwood/John Glenn’s Sarah Hardie in 2013. In addition, Lee took two seconds off her own school record of 2:54.34 that stood for only two weeks.

The 1,000 was the only race Lee ran in Thursday in order to stay fresh for Saturday when she will run the mile in the Millrose Games at The Armory in Manhattan.

“She did what she had to do to get ready for Saturday,” said Shoreham coach Paul Koretzki.

It was at the Millrose Games last year when Lee tripped and suffered a grade 3 ankle sprain that cut short her indoor season.

Lee has been doing good things this season. She has run the fastest 800 in New York State (2:14.14 when she took third in the Marine Corp Holiday Classic on Dec. 29), according to milesplit.com. In addition to her latest time in the 1,000, she owns the fastest times run by a Suffolk County girl this season in the 1,500 (4:52.61), the 3,000 (9:48.36) and the mile (5:01.08), according to just-in-time-racing.com.

How does Lee feel about running the 1,000?

“It’s a good distance to have confidence in your speed but also have confidence in your strength,” she said.

In other events, Bishop McGann-Mercy senior Olivia Kneski finished sixth in the 300-meter dash in 44.28.

Shoreham received seventh-place finishes from junior Alexandra Smith in the 1,500 (5:00.48) and junior Francesca Lilly in the triple jump (34 feet).

Mount Sinai won the team title with 106 points. Shoreham finished tied for 12th in the team scoring with Islip with 10 points. Mercy was 19th with one.

When her work for the night was done, Lee had a smile on her face. No surprise there. She was back in relaxed mode, enjoying life — and still winning.

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Photo caption: Shoreham-Wading River senior Katherine Lee (far right) lines up for the start of the 1,000-meter race. (Credit: Bob Liepa)