Be happy, but not satisfied.
The runners on the Mattituck High School girls cross-country team have heard that more than once or twice from their coach, Julie Milliman.
“I always tell them that’s the best way to be,” she said.
Well, the Tuckers had a good deal to be happy about on Friday. As a team, Mattituck finished in seventh place among small schools in the 33rd Brown High School Cross Country Invitational at Goddard Park in Warwick, R.I. Melanie Pfennig, a junior, led the way with a sixth-place finish on the five-kilometer course in 18 minutes 27.20 seconds.
“We knew it was going to be a fast course, a fast race, so we were ready to set prs, and everyone did,” Mattituck senior Audrey Hoeg said, referring to the cross-country shorthand for personal records.
Mattituck eighth grader Payton Maddaloni came in 33rd place in 19:55.17. She was six places ahead of Hoeg (20:07.16). The other Tuckers who ran were sophomore Meg Dinizio (96th in 21:19.01), senior Mia Vasile-Cozzo (127th in 21:48.33), freshman Maddie Smith (129th in 21:51.41) and junior Sascha Rosin (133rd in 21:56.35). Altogether, 218 runners competed in the race.
“It was so much fun,” said Hoeg, who made her third appearance in the Brown Invitational. “That race is always really fun because there’s so many teams there, so there’s so much competition and so many teams from other areas that we don’t usually run against, so it’s just a really great experience all around and the course is super fast.”
It was Maddaloni’s first experience in the Brown Invitational and she enjoyed it.
“I think we did extremely well,” she said. “It shows where we stand if we really give it our all.”
What Milliman also liked about the race was her team’s average time of 20:19. “That means all of our girls are getting faster,” she said.
The Tuckers (5-1, 4-1 in Suffolk County League VII) have been having a good run this season. They finished in second place in League VII behind Bishop McGann-Mercy (5-0, 5-0), the only team they lost to.
“I did expect us to have a really good group of girls this year, but I didn’t expect us to do as good as we have,” said Pfennig.
Pfennig, who has been on the team for four years, has led the pack.
“She’s been having a great season,” Milliman said. “She won every dual meet. She does everything you tell her to. She’s very coachable. She works hard every day. There’s not one day all year where she hasn’t worked her hardest in practice.”
Maddaloni, who ran for the junior high school team last year, has been a big boost, too. She has been the team’s No. 2 runner for most of the season.
Milliman has praised the leadership of her two seniors, Hoeg and Vasile-Cozzo. “I couldn’t ask for more out of my seniors,” she said.
Up next for the Tuckers will be the Section XI Division Championships on Oct. 27 at Sunken Meadow State Park.
“We’re ready to show what we got,” said Hoeg.
In the meantime, it appears as if the Maddaloni family will soon be getting a four-legged addition. With her time in the Brown Invitational, Maddaloni did more than just set a personal record.
“I broke my pr, which means I get a dog,” she said, explaining an agreement she had with her father, Greg, that she can have a dog if she broke 20:00.
What kind of dog will she get?
She said, “I’m going to get a yellow lab.”
Caption: Members of the Mattituck girls cross-country team posed for photos Friday at the Brown Invitational in Warwick, R.I. (Credit: Courtesy photo)