The Big Five has been reduced to the Big One.
Last year’s Shoreham-Wading River team, which coach Paul Koretzki believes was the best high school girls cross-country team that Suffolk County has ever seen, was primarily powered by five sets of strong legs. READ
Paul Koretzki isn’t afraid to make a bold statement about the long-distance runners on his Shoreham-Wading River High School girls track and field team. Without hesitation, the coach called the five runners in question “the greatest distance team in the history of Suffolk County, maybe in the state of New York.”
A bold comment like that requires bold supporting evidence. Here it is: two national champion relay teams and five All-Americans — junior Katherine Lee and seniors Payton Capes-Davis, Amanda Dwyer, Aly Hayes and Maria Smith.
Katherine Lee’s face lit up in glee.
It was at once a familiar sight, and an unusual one at the same time.
Quantity is great. It sure helps, but sometimes nothing beats quality.
Perhaps more than anything, that was the lesson to be taken from Shoreham-Wading River’s triumph in the Section XI girls track and field division championships. Five Shoreham athletes accounted for all but 10 of the team’s 105 points as the Wildcats claimed their seventh Suffolk County championship in the meet, which wrapped up Friday at Ward Melville High School.
One could surmise that the Shoreham-Wading River High School girls track and field team’s showing in the 3,000 meters in the Section XI Division Championships on Tuesday is a reflection of the team’s outstanding depth at that distance.
Well, yes and no.
Payton Capes-Davis made quite a splash — in more ways than one — in her introduction to the 2,000-meter steeplechase on Wednesday.
The Shoreham-Wading River High School senior, running the event for the first time, won in stunning fashion. Afterward, she had a first-place medal as well as a bloodied right knee and left shin to show for it.
Shoreham-Wading River High School may have had better girls track and field teams, but the top end of the roster is as good as it has ever been.
That’s what Paul Koretzki says, and he should know better than anyone, having coached the team since its inception in 1980.
The odds weren’t in Shoreham-Wading River’s favor. Not only was Shoreham missing its best runner, but the girls 4×1 mile relay team was seeded 12th in a field of 15 and had as many as eight teams ahead of it during the race.
But odds don’t determine track and field races. Times and heart do.