BEAR MOUNTAIN – Patrick Hennelly called it.
Halfway through the Rockland County girls varsity championship cross-country race he yelled to his little sister, Mary, who was leading the pack.
“We could get the headline!” screamed Patrick, who, minutes earlier, had won the boys race.
His words clearly registered as Mary held off the hard-charging Katelyn Tuohy at the finish.
“I never sprinted that fast in my life,” said Hennelly.
And her time showed it, as did Tuohy’s.
The two eighth-graders (yes, eighth-graders) smashed Shelby Greaney’s eight-year-old county championships record.
Greaney, who ran for Suffern, was no slouch, winning the county championship five straight years.
But Greaney’s 17-minute, 26.7-second time is now third best in the 40-year history of the girls race.
Hennelly, who runs for Suffern, clocked 17:21.67 and North Rockland’s Tuohy 17.22.52 on the three-mile course.
North Rockland’s Alex Harris was third, her 17:38.18 placing her sixth all-time.
“Hopefully, next year I’ll go even faster,” Tuohy said.
The Hennellys’ finishes marked the first time a brother-sister won the county cross-country championship in the same year. (North Rockland’s Nancy Sayre won in 1983 and her kid brother, Warren, in 1988.)
Patrick Hennelly, who’s a senior, clocked 16:17.25. Pearl River’s Brian Mahoney was second (16:22.75) and North Rockland’s TJ Morales was third (16:27.17).
“It’s good to have a brother who’s fast,” Mary said. “We each knew if we really worked hard we’d be able to win. We both ran as hard as we could.”
For Patrick, who described himself as scared during Mary’s race, the win was especially sweet since it was his first in the race after four years on varsity.
“It’s fantastic,” he said. “I wanted to do it the last four years. As a senior, it’s definitely special.”
He credited coach Joe Biddy, who had him do a two-mile training race against sophomore teammate Ben Hocchheiser, who finished fourth.
North Rockland, behind Hennelly, Harris, Haleigh Morales (fifth place), Kerry O’Connor (seventh) and Claire Tantillo (ninth) won the girls team championship. Pearl River was second and Suffern third.
Pearl River, led by Mahoney, Travis Elmendorf (sixth), Aidan Russell (eighth), Patrick McCann (12th) and Brendan Harding (14th), took the boys team championship with Suffern second and Tappan Zee third.
Patrick Hennelly, whose pre-race fuel consisted of chocolate chips, Tostitos and Kool-Aid, was thinking his post-race meal with his fellow champion sister (as well as with their 19th-place sophomore brother, Michael) might be a bit more substantial.
“We might be going out to dinner tonight,” he said.