The Section XI Division Championships are about serious competition on a serious cross-country course.
When the best runners in Suffolk County gathered on Tuesday for the big meet at Sunken Meadow State Park in Kings Park, it was only natural that runners would be pushed and set personal records.
“It’s bigger, the competition is harder,” Mattituck senior Jack Dufton said. “Usually the times are better and it’s usually a good experience for everyone on the team.”
It sure was a good experience for Riverhead senior Luke Coulter. Coulter’s strategy of sticking close to West Islip senior Kyle Kelly was wise. Coulter remained close enough to finish second to Kelly’s first place among runners in the Division II boys championship race. Kelly won in 16 minutes 44.90 seconds. Coulter turned in a time of 17:08.26, his fastest ever on the five-kilometer course at Sunken Meadow.
“I did everything I was supposed to do,” said Coulter, who ran a time of 16:07 at the Brown Invitational recently. “I went out hard.”
Coulter plans to crack 17:00 in the Section XI Championships that will be run at Sunken Meadow on Nov. 6.
Coulter recognizes that preseason training helped him get where he is, along with his coach, William Razzano.
“It all starts in the summer,” he said. “You have to work hard in the beginning. It doesn’t just happen overnight. You have to work hard for it, and I really appreciate all the work that my coach has done because he’s been pushing us to the limit, and without him, I don’t think I could have done what I did today.”
Photo: Riverhead senior Luke Coulter ran his fastest time ever at Sunken Meadow Park on Tuesday, giving him second place among Division II runners in the Section XI Division Championships. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)