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Girls Cross Country: Tuckers nab sixth straight county title

The streak lives on.

That’s six straight.

The Mattituck High School girls cross-country team won a sixth straight Suffolk County championship Friday.

With a first-place finish by Payton Maddaloni and three Tuckers among the first five Class C finishers, Mattituck retained its hold on the county crown in the Section XI Championships at Sunken Meadow State Park in Kings Park.

“Yeah, it feels nice,” said coach Julie Milliman, whose team had taken the League VII championship earlier this season. “I think they’re excited about it. Obviously, I think any team would be. I know they run for each other. They like going up as that unit, that team that they’ve trained with all year. So, I just think that they’re happy, and they should be.”

Maddaloni, a sophomore, led the way with her winning time of 21 minutes, 36.26 seconds on the five-kilometer course. She was followed by Center Moriches sophomore Cassandra Cosma (21:44.58), Bishop McGann-Mercy sophomore Grace Hayes (22:20.33) and Mattituck freshmen Bella Masotti (22:28:28) and Kylie Conroy (22:33.96).

The other Tuckers in the race were senior Meg Dinizio (12th in 24:09.59), freshman Abby Rosato (24:26.50), senior Jane DiGregorio (24:35.84) and freshman Emma Reidy (18th in 25:41.59).

Mattituck won the title with 35 points. Center Moriches was second with 45.

For the sixth year in a row, Mattituck will compete as a team in the state meet that will be held Nov. 11 at Wayne Central School in Ontario Center.

“It’s all about our dedication, our team unity and our confidence,” Maddaloni said. “I feel like the reason why we’ve done so well is because of our chemistry, but also at the same time, mentally we’ve been a lot stronger and through these past couple of weeks, we’ve tried to really put in the miles and say, ‘Hey, it’s not going to be as easy as it was past years.’ ”

Masotti, who is in her first year on the team, said, “I think it’s really cool that we had it for that long.” She said the Tuckers don’t take winning for granted. “We don’t try to get ahead of ourselves because we know that we still have to try our hardest,” she said.

Has winning become expected by the Tuckers?

“I would hope not, actually, to just expect good things to happen to you,” Milliman said. “I think that would deter them from working so hard.”

Unseasonably warm and humid weather didn’t help times. The temperature reached the mid-70s.

“I like it a little bit colder, so this was kind of more of a challenge for me to fight through the elements,” said Maddaloni.

But the weather didn’t prevent the Tuckers from reaching their goal.

Said Milliman, “I just think that they know what it takes to win and they like to win.”

Southold sophomore Olivia Lynch is in her first full cross-country season and she is headed to the state meet. Lynch (22:04.48) was second in Class D to Shelter Island senior Lindsey Gallagher (20:56.70).

“I am beyond happy,” she said. “I can’t even describe it. No words. It’s incredible.”

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Photo caption: Mattituck sophomore Payton Maddaloni won the Class C race and led the Tuckers to their sixth straight county championship. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)