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.”
The First Settlers (5-1), packed with seniors, return their top 10 runners. Six of their top eight runners are seniors.
They all return from last year’s team, which was the runner-up to The Stony Brook School in Suffolk County Class D and to Port Jefferson in League VIII.
This year, the First Settlers could give those teams and others a run for their money.
“My entire boys team has a tremendous amount of potential to do great things this year,” Himmelmann said. “I’m not one to say, to predict, that they’re going to win this or that because, you know, like I told them at the beginning of the season, I said potential doesn’t necessarily translate into success. Potential plus hard work translates into success, and they’ve been showing me a tremendous amount of hard work so I think there’s the definite possibility that the boys can win League VIII this year. I think there’s a definite possibility that they can take the [county] Class D championship.”
Southold last won a county title two years ago. The First Settlers have never been league champions.
But they did have the top Class D runner in Suffolk last year: Jon Rempe.
Rempe took top honors in Class D in the Section XI Championships with a time of 18 minutes 27.84 seconds at Sunken Meadow State Park’s 3.1-mile course. It was his second county title in three years and the third year in a row in which he qualified for the state meet.
Jon Rempe wasn’t the only Southold runner to do well in the Section XI Championships. Owen Klipstein was fourth in 19:14.57, Jeremy Rempe (Jon’s fraternal twin) was sixth in 20:11.15 and Gus Rymer finished ninth in 20:35.75.
Jon Rempe, a senior, is in his fourth year on the team. He was an all-league runner last year, as were Klipstein, a sophomore, and Jeremy Rempe.
“Being a successful runner is part commitment and part natural gifts,” Himmelmann said. “It’s like anything else, and they’re natural-born runners, and they know that, and I think it makes them work even harder because every single day, there’s never an excuse, there’s never an ‘I can’t.’ It’s always, ‘I will,’ and it shows in their times.”
Chris Buono, Greg Quist, Mike Cosmadelis and Gus Rymer — all seniors — add to the team’s depth along with sophomore Joe Saporita.
“I always have in my head, you see who your top runners are but then in that middle of the pack, there’s always somebody that can surprise you, and I think Joe has a possibility of doing that this year,” said Himmelmann.
Jon Rempe and Klipstein are usually Southold’s top two finishers, said Himmelmann. The coach said, “They’re always trying to push each other and I tell them, ‘You can use that healthy competition between the two of you to push each other to new heights.’ ”
Mattituck’s new coach, Mike Jablonski, did not return phone messages. The Tuckers (4-1) will be counting on runners like Jack Dufton, Matt Heffernan and Lucas Webb.