HARTSDALE – Last year, she was second. He was fifth.
But on Sunday, Ursuline’s Sarah Flynn and Briarcliff’s Ryan Gallagher left the Westchester County Cross-Country Championships at Woodlands High School as winners.
Flynn, a sophomore, won the girls race in 19:40.7, passing Ardsley’s Ruth Segall (19.44.8) in the last 800 meters.
Gallagher, a senior, won in 16:19.5, gapping runner-up Sam Morton of Mamaroneck (16:41.5) after climbs.
“I’ve really been doing a lot of training for strength in the hills. I feel like I had an edge over Sam in that respect,” Gallagher said.
After seven preceding days that were unseasonably cold, Sunday was warm and humid – nice weather for the few hundred fans on hand but not the best for most runners.
“The beginning two miles I didn’t feel the heat,” Gallagher said. “The last mile was just adrenaline.”
But the heat didn’t seem to bother the Somers boys.
The Tuskers claimed their third county boys team title ever, second since 2011 and first under coach Mike Lacko, with Matt Fusco running 16:53 for third place; his twin brother, Greg, finishing fourth; Mark Worsley taking 15th; Mike Panzarino finishing 19th and Tom Hannon crossing in 27th out of 255 runners.
“I felt like my training has definitely improved,” said Matt Fusco, who was 15th last year. “I feel more confident with my brother helping me along.”
Greg Fusco, who was sixth last year, was happy with his finish, noting the competition was difficult.
“Anybody running will say to you this is one of the best counties in the state,” he said. “We get to race against the best people every week.”
Fox Lane, with two top-10 runners — Shane Rooney (seventh) and Cameron Stafford (10th) — was second in the team competition. John Jay, with Charlie Stewart sixth, was third out of the 36 teams.
Mamaroneck’s Will Young (fifth); Rye’s Greg Shoeman (eighth) and Irvington’s Scottie Mitchell (ninth) completed the boys top 10.
Although it didn’t do quite as well individually as it had hoped, John Jay, which finished second last year in the girls team competition, won it Sunday.
“We were looking a little ugly out there today but an ugly win is still a win,” said coach Tom Nohilly, who praised his girls team (both varsity and JV runners) for pushing each other.
That was evident during the JV race as Pippa Nutall, who finished seventh (20:40.8) iin the varsity race,, kept pace for a time with a couple of her JV teammates in their race, urging them on.
Also scoring for John Jay were Cameron Crawford (10th place); Kathryn Nohilly (11th); Kelsey Crawford (20th) and Lauren Pollack (22nd).
Ursuline finished second and Mamaroneck third in the 22-team girls division. Freshman Haley McLean was fifth for Ursuline and Mamaroneck’s Eliana Safer finished eighth out of 182 runners.
The rest of the top 10 included Bronxville’s Kaitlin Ryan (third); Dobbs Ferry’s Mika Andrews (fourth); Scarsdale’s Sophia Rosset (sixth); and Byram Hills’ Jennifer Mui (seventh).
Like many runners, Flynn described the course as hillier and longer than last year.
But she had enough left in her tank to overtake Segall.
“I knew I could dig down deep and get it. I started to run and it felt great,” said Flynn, who noted her team changed from its normal long-sleeve shirts to short sleeves due to the heat.
Segall might have slipped from her goal of winning to second place but that still marked a big improvement from last year’s 12th-place finish.
She credited more consistent training and a month of Colorado training for a second summer at 9,000 feet above sea level with some of the country’s top runners.
“I surround myself with people who are better than me,” Segall said of her improvement.