Julie Milliman admitted that winning wasn’t exactly first and foremost on her mind prior to the Mattituck boys cross country team’s Suffolk County League VIII dual meet against Port Jefferson on Tuesday. The Tuckers’ second-year coach told her runners to run a smart race. They responded by running a winning race.
Mattituck snapped an 89-meet win streak by Port Jefferson, which had not lost in 14 years. With their 25-33 upset of the Royals at Sunken Meadow State Park, the Tuckers (5-1) finished the dual-meet season in a three-way tie for first place along with Center Moriches and Port Jefferson.
“I always look at Port Jeff as a program that you respect,” Milliman said. “They know what they’re doing. I feel lucky. I feel honored that my team works so hard.”
Mattituck runners took five of the top eight places in the race on the three-mile course. Corey Zlatniski was second in 17 minutes 4 seconds, one second ahead of his teammate, third-place Casey Grathwohl. Marcos Perivolaris was fifth in 18:02, Jake Nolan was seventh in 19:14 and Josh Conklin eighth in 19:23.
Milliman said all those times were personal-best numbers for those runners at Sunken Meadow.
It made for a happy ride home for the Tuckers, who had a pizza party on the bus.
Not a bad way to end a dual-meet season.
Said Milliman, “I can‘t really have pictured it any better.”