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Top Sports Stories 2019: Another county title for cross country team

It’s doubtful that eight is enough for the Mattituck High School girls cross-country team, but it’s awfully sweet.

Mattituck secured its eighth successive Class C championship in the Section XI Championships on a brutally cold, blustery day at Sunken Meadow State Park. The Tuckers were led by senior Payton Maddaloni, who finished first in the Class C race for the second time in three years. Her time on the five-kilometer course was 21 minutes, 11.39 seconds.

“I’m so proud of her,” Mattituck junior Bella Masotti said of Maddaloni. “She’s been a team leader since she was a freshman. She’s been pushing us every day in practice.”

Mattituck grabbed four of the first five places, with Masotti second in 21:20.44, sophomore Emily Nicholson third in 21:35.79 and sophomore Kate Schuch fifth in 22:11.46. Two Mattituck juniors, Emma Reidy (23:54.90) and Abby Rosato (24:04.05), were 13th and 14th. Kylie Conroy, a junior who had been Mattituck’s No. 2 runner before being sidelined with knee tendinitis, made a comeback and was 17th in 28:29.37.

“They looked strong, so that’s what we wanted to be, be strong, finish well, be healthy and go to states with a great attitude going forward,” coach Chris Robinson said. “Since day one they’ve been inseparable. So, I mean, just the dynamic between each one of them, it’s a big family and they pick each other up. They push each other constantly.”

The weather that day — 37 degrees at the start of the meet with a wind-chill factor that made it feel as if it was in the 20s — was good preparation for the state meet, which was held at SUNY/Plattsburgh.

Mattituck, making its eighth straight appearance as a team in the state meet, finished seventh. Masotti (18:48.7) and Maddaloni (18:52.1) were 42nd and 44th. Also crossing the finish line for the Tuckers were Nicholson (64th in 19:30.4), Schuch (76th in 19:51.2), Reidy (115th in 21:31.0) and Rosato (117th in 21:35.2). The snow-covered course was shortened to about 2.8 miles because of the conditions.

“It’s amazing,” Nicholson said. “I love this team so much. It’s the best team I’ve ever been on.”

Photo caption: Southold’s Olivia Lynch, Mattituck’s Emily Nicholson, Payton Maddaloni and Bella Masotti led the Class C pack at the Section XI Championships. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)