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09/15/16 12:00pm
09/15/2016 12:00 PM

Mattituck cross-country runner Dan Harkin 091316

When contemplating what he likes about running cross country and how it compares to track and field, Dan Harkin makes some interesting analogies.

“Track is like a math test,” the Mattituck High School senior said before a recent practice. “Track is just laps. It’s concrete numbers. Cross country is like a science test. You’re going off course and stuff, into the woods. It’s more abstract.”
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11/14/15 7:08pm
11/14/2015 7:08 PM

Shoreham-Wading River sophomore Katherine Lee failed to retain her state title, taking third place in the girls Class B race on Saturday. (Credit: Robert O'Rourke, file)

Katherine Lee fell short in her attempt to win a second straight state championship on Saturday, but the Shoreham-Wading River High School sophomore came close, finishing third in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association girls cross-country championships. READ

09/11/14 10:00am
09/11/2014 10:00 AM
From left, Jeremy Rempe, Jon Rempe and Owen Klipstein are among the leading runners for a Southold team that is making a run at county and league titles. (Credit: Garret Meade)

From left, Jeremy Rempe, Jon Rempe and Owen Klipstein are among the leading runners for a Southold team that is making a run at county and league titles. (Credit: Garret Meade)

PREVIEW

After sending his cross-country runners off on their training run last Thursday afternoon, Karl Himmelmann speculated on the near future for his Southold team. It’s a bright future. Curious to see how the new season unfolds, he said, “I’m excited, really excited.”

Himmelmann has good reason to be. He called this the “deepest boys field I’ve had in the five years I’ve been coaching.” (more…)

11/02/13 8:33pm
11/02/2013 8:33 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Southold junior Jonathan Rempe, shown during the division championship, won the Class D county championship race Saturday at Sunken Meadow State Park.

SECTION XI CHAMPIONSHIPS

Ryan Udvadia wasn’t going to let some cramps cramp his style in his final competitive high school meet on his favorite cross-country course, Sunken Meadow State Park. The Shoreham-Wading River senior withstood some cramping and still won the Class B race in the Section XI Championships rather handily on Saturday.

Udvadia clocked a winning time of 16 minutes 26.84 seconds on the reconfigured 3.1-mile course. It was still 30 seconds faster than the second-place runner, Islip senior Mike Watts.

Udvadia’s performance, with an average mile time of 5:17.7, led the way for Shoreham-Wading River’s third straight county championship and ninth in 11 years. It has been a remarkable run for the League VI champion Wildcats, who have won 11 straight league titles, suffering only one loss over the course of those 11 years. They have also won nine of the last 11 division crowns under the guidance of coach Bob Szymanski.

Shoreham-Wading River grabbed the top ranking Saturday with 41 points. Its toughest competition came from Bayport-Blue Point (55 points).

Keith Steinbrecher (17:31.69) and Matt Gladysz (17:33.16) gave the Wildcats a boost by taking seventh and eighth. More help came from Connor McAlary (12th in 17:54.44), Jack Kelly (13th in 18:00.68), Michael Godfrey (21st in 18:25.87) and Ryan Groskopf (36th in 19:10.16).

As a county champion, Shoreham-Wading River is entitled to send seven runners to the state meet, which will be held Saturday at Queensbury High School.

Southold junior Jonathan Rempe was the Class D champion in 18:27.84. He qualified for the state meet along with teammates Owen Klipstein (fourth in 19:14.57), Jeremy Rempe (sixth in 20:11.15) and Gus Rymer (ninth in 20:35.75). Two other First Settlers, Michael Cosmadelis (21:13.35) and Christopher Buono (22:46.46), were 11th and 17th.

In Class B, Mattituck freshman Matt Heffernan came in sixth in 18:56.47. He was one place ahead of teammate Lucas Webb (19:00.92). Both of them are headed to Queensbury. The other Tuckers who competed were Adam Hicks (12th in 19:47.70), Dan Harkin (22nd in 20:33.12), Charles Zaloom (23rd in 20:34.23), Tim Schmidt (28th in 21:00.96) and Jack Dufton (32nd in 21:12.30).

Matt Abazis was the first of Bishop McGann-Mercy’s four runners, coming in 10th in 19:17.62. The others were Sean Tuthill (35th in 21:45.57), Dan Dern (40th in 22:54.96) and Elijah Louis (41st in 23:13.70).

Riverhead went into the Class A race hamstrung by the absence of its No. 1 runner, Travis Wooten, and its No. 3 runner, Nick Cunha, who both had SAT exams on Saturday. The Section XI Championships were originally scheduled for Friday, but postponed a day out of concern for inclement weather.

Without two of its top three runners, Riverhead finished 22nd among 23 teams. Joseph Gattusso was the first Riverheader to cross the finish line. He was 95th in 19:38.71. Also competing for the Blue Waves were Eric Cunha (100th in 19:48.99), Owen O’Neill (103rd in 19:53.08), Luke Coulter (112th in 20:11.43) and Connor Behr (147th in 21:33.55).

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09/10/13 9:00pm
09/10/2013 9:00 PM
ROBERT O'ROURK FILE PHOTO | Southold junior Jon Rempe leads a deep team into the 2013 season.

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Southold junior Jon Rempe leads a deep team into the 2013 season.

PREVIEW

Cross country is a sport that incorporates a team concept along with the individual aspect. In order to emphasize the team angle, the Southold boys team has adopted a motto for this season: “We run as one.”

It’s something coach Karl Himmelmann wants his runners to keep in mind when they are training or competing in a meet.

“Running can seem like a pretty solitary, isolated sport because you’re off by yourself, but it’s a team effort,” he said. “We run as a team.”

And the First Settlers hope to win as a team this season. They certainly have the ingredients.

Southold (4-2 last season) is coming off back-to-back Suffolk County Class D championships and is seen as a contender for the League VIII title this year. Its top runner, junior Jon Rempe, returns to a deep team along with freshman Owen Klipstein, junior Chris Buono and junior Michael Cosmadelis. Rempe and Klipstein were all-league runners last year. Rempe finished ninth in the Division IV team qualifier in the Section XI division championships at Sunken Meadow State Park last year. His time on the 3.1-mile course was 18 minutes 38.10 seconds.

“Jon Rempe has consistently been my top runner, but the other boys … have also been in that top mix as well,” said Himmelmann.

Like all cross-country coaches, it seems, injuries are a concern for Himmelmann, who knows that an injury to a key runner can knock a team off course. That is why he encourages his athletes to train smart, and has set up a training schedule to bring them along gradually. The idea is to strengthen muscles and joints for the season in the hope that it will help avoid pulled muscles and foot injuries.

But the First Settlers have already been hit by an injury. Gus Rymer, a junior who was the second Southold runner to reach the finish line in the divisional meet in 19:47.40, will miss the start of the season with a foot injury.

In the meantime, some newcomers to the team should help absorb his absence as well as the loss to graduation of four-year runner Jon Tomici and James Shine. Two juniors, Jeremy Rempe (Jon’s twin brother) and Gregory Quist, are new additions. So are five other first-year runners: sophomore Gage Bennett, sophomore Michael Gensler, freshman Joe Saporita, freshman Joe Tsoumpelis and senior Dan Stahl.

“A lot of these boys have been running all summer long,” said Himmelmann. He added: “They are all looking very strong. They’re looking fast.”

Another positive development for the cross-country program in Southold is the addition of junior high school boys and girls teams, both coached by John Palmeri. “That’s going to definitely help our program down the road,” said Himmelmann, who hasn’t had the benefit of junior high teams to draw from during his four years as the coach of Southold’s boys and girls varsity squads.

Meanwhile, the varsity team is eyeing a possible threepeat with county championships.

“I think we have a good shot,” Himmelmann said. “I think if the boys continue to progress, I think we have a legitimate shot.”

The sight of a small army of high school runners hopping off a team bus may not exactly be common, but it might be something someone would expect to see from a big school like St. Anthony’s or Sachem East. But tiny, little Mattituck?

“Last year we got a lot of looks,” said coach Julie Milliman, whose team started last season with 46 runners and finished with 40.

This year the number has dropped a little to 30, which is still a large size for a cross-country team, no less a cross-country team from a small school.

“We have a good mix,” Milliman said. “They push each other to be competitive, and with 30 kids you’re always going to have a friend.”

Of that 30, about 26 are returning runners and 13 are seniors.

Coming off a two-win, rebuilding season, the Tuckers expect to be more competitive this year. They are counting on veteran runners like senior Adam Hicks, sophomore Jack Dufton, sophomore Eddie Dowling, freshman Matt Heffernan, senior Bobby Becker, senior Kevin Schwartz, senior Chris Mehalakes and sophomore Lucas Webb. Hicks recorded a time of 19:21.80 that brought him 19th place in the division championships at Sunken Meadow.

“I do know that if some of these kids run to their potential, we’re going to fare much better than we did last year,” said Milliman, who is in her fourth year as the team’s coach. “They just have a more focused attitude, and I think they’re hungry for the prs.”

In Milliman’s first year, Mattituck had 12 runners, and that number grew to around 20 in her second year.

“It’s taken off,” she said. “As long as they have [good] attitudes … and they’re good kids, I’ll take as many as want to come out.”

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