SMITHTOWN, N.Y. – Earlier this week, there were doubts Katelyn Tuohy would run at Saturday’s state public high school cross-country championships.
She’d been sidelined the previous week with knee tendonitis.
When the decision was made that Tuohy would run, North Rockland coach Brian Diglio knew the only thing stopping the nation’s top-ranked high school girls runner from winning was self-doubt.
Tuohy erased hers and everyone’s doubts Saturday at Sunken Meadow State Park.
She didn’t break the course record she set earlier this fall but she took the lead early and never faltered, clocking 17:02.1 to win the state Class A girls title.
Her seemingly-forever chief rival, Saratoga Springs’ Kelsey Chmiel, was second (17:20.6).
Saratoga won the Class A team competition with Fayetteville-Manlius second.
North Rockland was third. That could qualify the team to compete in next week’s State Federation (public, private and parochial) Championships at Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls.
Section 1 also took the top of the podium in the boys Class C race, where Bronxville’s Matt Rizzo out-kicked Croton’s Sean Gardiner for the top spot. Section 1 finished 1, 2, and 4 in that race with Rizzo’s twin brother, Alex, taking fourth.
Saturday, boys and girls ran by school size, with championships held in four divisions each.
Next weekend, there will be only one boys race and one girls race.
Tuohy on the rebound
And in the girls, Tuohy will be the favorite.
“This really was for her mental state more than anything else,” Diglio said of Tuohy running and winning Saturday.
“For an athlete, any time out of your routine, throws you off. It was an important race for her mentally. …. This is a big step. It’s where she wants to be and needs to be,” Diglio said.
Tuohy, whose course record is 16:52.97, wasn’t complaining but she wasn’t quite 100 percent.
She still isn’t swimming (which she uses as cross-training) because kicking aggravates things. And Diglio said she was favoring her knee, which had thrown other things off.
But Tuohy wasn’t off by much.