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Girls Winter Track: Lee sets county record in 1,000

Hard as it may be to believe, one of the few prizes to elude Katherine Lee during her glorious track and field career has been an indoor state title. Saturday was her last chance to change that.

Although Lee didn’t walk away with a winner’s medal, she earned a pair of consolation prizes: nice looking runner-up federation and public school medals that will make a nice addition to her trophy case.

The Shoreham-Wading River senior earned those for her second-place finish in the 1,000 meters in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championships at Ocean Breeze Track and Field Athletic Complex in Staten Island. Not only that, but she also set a Suffolk County record.

Lee, the No. 3 seed, clocked a time of 2 minutes, 46.91 seconds. Ursuline junior Lily Flynn won in 2:45.83.

Lee’s time broke the previous Suffolk record of 2:49.48 that Brittany Sheffey of Bellport set in 2005, according to suffolkxctf.com.

“Even though the race didn’t go as I would have liked — I think I could have gone faster — I’m glad that I got a county record,” said Lee, who sliced nearly six seconds off her previous best time.

“I was on the outside box, so it was a little hard for me to judge where the other girls were,” she said, describing the start of the race. “I started out a little further behind than I would have liked to but I’m so really thankful for the clean start, not a lot of jostling.”

Lee was in third place before passing FDR sophomore Sarah Trainor for second on the final lap. Trainor (2:50.60) finished fourth, behind Kellenberg junior Maureen Lewin (2:50.05).

“I haven’t raced here too many times,” Lee said. “It was just another experience, and for me it really didn’t feel like a state meet. It felt like any other race, just go out there and do what you can. I was trying not to stress too much [over] it, remembering that there’s always another race, so whatever happens happens.”

It was the third state indoor meet for Lee, who missed last year’s postseason meets because of injury.

After the race, Lee was asked if that evasive state indoor title was on her mind.

“Not so much,” she said. “My coaches and parents were trying to bounce the idea around, but you know, I kind of wasn’t having it because things have been really different for me this year and I’m just trying not to focus on spots or titles or anything. I’m really focused on how I feel and staying healthy and just pressing time-wise … I just try to focus on me and not focus on anyone else.”

Lee has another opportunity to win an indoor medal. She will run the mile in the New Balance Indoor Nationals at The Armory in Manhattan next weekend.

On Saturday, though, Lee wore the look of a happy athlete.

“I’m satisfied,” she said. “I think it shows me that I am in shape and that’s something that I’ve been trying to get through my head this season because cross country was really a tough season for me mentally. So I feel like I’m constantly questioning myself, ‘Am I in shape? Am I able to achieve my goals?’ ”

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Photo caption: Shoreham-Wading River senior Katherine Lee didn’t get the state indoor title she was looking for, but she did set a Suffolk County record in the 1,000 meters. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)