The Mattituck girls cross country team doesn’t have the deepest roster compared to most teams competing in Tuesday’s Section XI Division Championships. Throughout the season, the Tuckers have had about 12 girls consistently at practices and competitions.
“I’d rather quality over quantity any day,” said Mattituck coach Julie Milliman.
And quality the Tuckers have.
Led by sophomore Melanie Pfennig, the Tuckers won the Division IV title at Sunken Meadow State Park. Pfennig ran 20 minutes 8.2 seconds for the second-best time among Division IV runners. Center Moriches senior Ryleigh Donegan edged Pfennig for the top spot.
“I set my expectations very high for the girls,” Milliman said. “So I wanted them to win their division because we haven’t done that in recent history as far as I know. And then they did.”
The Tuckers topped Pierson, Shelter Island and McGann-Mercy for the division crown.
Pfennig’s time put her among the tops in the county. She ran her fastest time of the year at Sunken Meadow and was 12th overall in the team championship race, which is made up of the two top teams in each league plus four at-large teams. The results of that race are divided into the four divisions.
“What’s great is, she’s been super strong, but then our second and third girls are very strong as well,” Milliman said. “So we pack them in pretty close together and it makes us a little tougher to beat.”
Senior Kaylee Bergen ran 20:53.6 for fourth in the division. She was followed by junior Audrey Hoeg in 22:06.67.
Milliman said the girls have had a mindset all of season of working hard to get better.
“They were given some hard workouts and right after a few of them come up and said ‘we won’t complain this week, we just want to get better,’ ” she said.
Freshman Megan Dinizio (23:09.23) and junior Mia Vasile-Cozzo (24:05.23) rounded out the scoring for the Tuckers.
The Tuckers were co-champions of League VII with McGann-Mercy this season. Both teams posted 4-1 records.
Mercy junior Meg Tuthill ran 20:44.85 to finish third in the division at Tuesday’s race.