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Top Sports Stories 2019: Blue Waves shine in cross-country

When the cross-country season began this past September, Riverhead girls coach Justin Cobis didn’t hesitate to call the team the best he has had. A large reason was the return of senior Christina Yakaboski, who had just come off standout seasons to end her junior year in winter and spring track.

Alongside Yakaboski, the Blue Waves featured fellow returning All-County runners Megan Kielbasa and Linda Pomiranceva.

“There are five, six, seven girls who are going to have an impact on some of these meets,” Cobis said at the start of the year.

The Blue Waves lived up to their expectations with a stellar season.

Competing in League II, the Blue Waves finished in a three-way tie for first with Ward Melville and Sachem East. All three teams finished 5-1. It was the second straight league championship for Riverhead. The Blue Waves’ only loss was a 26-31 setback against Sachem East in the second league meet.
The Blue Waves climbed as high as 15th in the Class A state rankings by the New York State Sportswriters Association.

At the Section XI Division Championships, it was Kielbasa who emerged on top for the Blue Waves as she ran her fastest time ever on the 5,000-meter course. It brought her to fourth place, just ahead of her teammate, Yakaboski.

“I knew going into it that I just had to work on myself personally, do the best I could do, try to [run a personal record] myself, and I did that, so I’m really happy,” Kielbasa said after the meet.

At the Section XI Championships, Yakaboski turned in the fastest time for Riverhead to finish in fourth place for Class A and earn a spot at the state meet. She had missed qualifying by one place a year earlier.

“I definitely was not going to let it go this time,” she said after the meet.
At the state meet, Yakaboski ran the fastest time for a Suffolk County Class A girl and finished 29th overall.