The mere mention of Sunken Meadow State Park and its famed Cardiac Hill is enough to make more than a few cross-country runners shudder. Not Jon Rempe, though. The Southold High School sophomore not only doesn’t mind running the famed course, but he welcomes the challenge.
“I like it better than Indian Island” County Park, Rempe said. “There’s nothing bad about it. The hills help me out.”
And the competition Rempe faced in the Division IV team qualifier in the Section XI division championships at Sunken Meadow State Park on Tuesday didn’t hurt, either. “It makes you push faster,” he said.
Rempe pushed himself to a ninth-place finish. His time from the 5,000-meter run was 18 minutes 38.10 seconds.
“It wasn’t what I had hoped, but I guess it worked out pretty good,” he said.
Another sophomore, Nicholas Berglin of Hampton Bays, won the race in 18:02.10.
Mattituck senior Anthony Howell was four places behind Rempe, and for good reason. He said he was using Rempe as a target to follow.
Howell’s time of 19:00.50 was the best he had ever clocked on the course.
“It wasn’t the time I really wanted,” Howell said. “I was hoping for 18:45, but it was close enough, and I haven’t run this meet in a while, so it was satisfying.”
Since Mattituck lost its top runner, Marcos Perivolaris, to an ankle sprain, Howell has become the team’s new No. 1.
“He works hard and I’m proud of him,” Mattituck coach Julie Milliman said. “I really don’t know how much better he’s going to get, but he’s been getting better every race. He’s one of those guys who’s really never happy with his times, which is why he is always getting better.”
Mattituck junior Adam Hicks registered a time of 19:21.80 that was good for 19th place. The Tuckers who followed him were junior Jake Nolan (28th in 19:52.40), eighth-grader Matt Heffernan (29th in 19:54.10), freshman Jack Dufton (32nd in 20:00.90), junior Clay Davis (33rd in 20:03.00) and freshman Lucas Webb (38th in 20:13.60).
Gus Rhymer, a sophomore, was the second Southold runner to reach the finish line. He was 27th in 19:47.40. The other First Settlers who competed were eighth-grader Owen Klipstein (41st in 20:44.10), sophomore Christopher Buono (52nd in 22:24.60), junior Ian Toy (53rd in 22:27.30), freshman Ronan Guyer (54th in 22:32.90) and senior John Tomici (65th in 24:43.10).
Mattituck was 18th in the team scoring with 113 points. Southold was 27th with 173.
A light rain fell during the race, but the weather conditions were otherwise pleasant. Howell said the course was in good shape. As for those hills, he didn’t seem to mind them, either.
He said, “Sometimes you’re going downhill, and that gives you a break.”