Mattituck’s Melanie Pfennig finished in sixth place in the 1,500 meters at the Division Championships. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk).
Shoreham-Wading River High School has a proud history of producing good long-distance runners. Perhaps it’s the wooded areas near the school that provide the right training venue for them, surmised Paul Koretzki, Shoreham’s girls track and field coach.
Whatever it is, it’s working.
Shoreham runners produced three of the top four places (and four of the top eight) in the Suffolk County Division III 1,500 meters, not to mention the champion, Kaitlyn Ohrtman. The 3,000-meter champion, Katherine Lee, also ran for the Wildcats.
The 1,500-meter race in the Division Championships on Thursday at Northport High School held out the promise of being a good one, and it did not disappoint. Ohrtman, a junior, led from the early going and held on for an impressive victory in 4 minutes 41.42 seconds.
Perhaps just as impressive was who followed her. Lee, a freshman, took second place in 4:45.31, ahead of the third-place finisher, Bishop McGann-Mercy junior Meg Tuthill (4:47.90). Shoreham sophomore Alexandra Hays was fourth in 4:48.55.
The race featured a heavy presence of local runners, with Melanie Pfennig of Mattituck (4:58.29) sixth, Kaitlyn Butterfield of McGann-Mercy (4:58.64) seventh, Francesca Lilly of Shoreham (4:59.67) eighth and Kaylee Bergen of Mattituck (5:14.74) 11th.
On the first day of the meet two days earlier, Lee had coasted to victory in the 3,000 in 10:28.60. Hays was fourth in 10:51.84 and followed by Pfennig and Bergen (10:59.16).
Tuthill, who lives in Southold, earned a winner’s medal in the 800, edging out Lee by 1/100th of a second with a time of 2:17.76.
Ohrtman also ran the anchor leg for a triumphant 4×800-meter relay team. She joined forces with Lilly, Lee and Hays for a first-place time of 9:31.21.
Tuthill handled the anchor leg for McGann-Mercy, which was second in 9:35.18. Butterfield, Maddie Joinnides and Devyn O’Brien also ran for that team.
Shoreham pole vaulter Haley Lindell cleared 9 feet to land in third place. One of her teammates, Payton Capes-Davis, was sixth at 8-0.
Capes-Davis, Ohrtman, Megan Kelly and Alexandra Kuhnle were fourth for Shoreham in the 4×400-meter relay in 4:15.03. The McGann-Mercy team of Dayna Young, Olivia Kneski, Delaney Macchirole and Juliana Cintron-Leonardo was fifth in 4:16.54.
McGann-Mercy’s 4×100-meter relay team of Young, Macchirole, Cintron-Leonardo and Adafih Blackburn was fifth in 52.54.
In the 400, Joinnides (1:01.18) and Kneski (1:02.49) took fifth and sixth.
Shoreham’s Courtney Wrigley was sixth in the high jump at 4-8.
Megan Dinizio of Mattituck was sixth in the 100 in 13.87.
Bayport-Blue Point earned the team title with 126 points. Shoreham finished fifth in the team rankings with 66 points, McGann-Mercy was eighth with 31 and Mattituck was 15th with 5.
TWO THIRDS FOR SMITH In Division II, Ra’Shae Smith of Riverhead had third-place throws in both the discus (105-1) and the shot put (37-5 1/2).
Ashley-Ann Courts of Riverhead finished fourth in the long jump with a distance of 17-4.
Riverhead ranked 12th with 17 points. Huntington won the team title with 91 points.