Emma Sullivan said she wanted to put a period on her cross country career.
An exclamation point likely would have been a better choice for the Mount St. Mary senior, who won her second consecutive Monsignor Martin championship Sunday at a muddy Elma Meadows. Sullivan finished the 5-kilometer course in 20 minutes, 15 seconds. Her teammate, Hailey Gattuso, finished as runner-up (20:50) for the second straight year.
“To be able to come back here and win it again means so much to me,” Sullivan said. “It’s just amazing to have Hailey as my teammate, I have the best teammate anyone could ever ask for. She pushes me to be that much better every day.”
After suffering from some nasal breathing issues in the opening mile, Sullivan was able to pull away by using her innate ability to listen in to the opposition.
“I’ve developed a good system of hearing, so I can tell where people are behind me — how close they are to me,” she said. “When I hear the footsteps falling back that tells me to pick it up and try to increase my lead. Just listening to people yell, ‘Go Emma, go Emma,’ always helps, too.”
Sullivan’s teammates will be joining her at the New York State Federation meet Nov. 17 at Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls as the Thunder edged defending champion Immaculata for the girls team title.
The Bears fell to second after Mount Mercy’s individual results were disqualified because the Magic competed with an incomplete roster. As a result, the Thunder’s fifth runner moved up two spots in the finishing order, which enabled Mount St. Mary to edge Immaculata, 43-45. The Thunder finished 1-2-7-10-23.
Immaculata’s Claire Attea (third, 21:07), Holy Angels’ Kim Fohrd (fourth, 21:45) and Nardin’s Bethy Mercer (fifth, 21:58) also qualified for the Fed meet as individuals.
On the boys side, Canisius junior Billy Christ carried on the Crusaders’ championship tradition by crossing the finish line first in 17:12. Christ was fourth a year ago when former teammate Ryan Bogdan won the race.
Rival St. Joe’s, though, claimed the team title for the first time since 2004, finishing with 25 points to edge second-place Canisius by five. Freshman Anthony Belfatto led the Marauders’ pack, finishing second in 17:30. J.D. McGuire was third (17:39), Connor Tumiel was fourth (17:44) and Cornell Overfield took sixth (18:01).
“Anthony ran a super race today, but the real story from my point of view is Connor Tumiel, who is a senior and a year ago today was in the hospital with a collapsed lung,” St. Joe’s coach Matt Hellerer said. “He came back and now he’s really starting to gain his form again. Having him in there with his experience is important. The younger kids can learn from him. He’s really pulled this team together.”
Individual qualifiers for the Fed meet include Christ and a pair of his Canisius teammates — Shane Fiust-Klink (fifth, 17:51) and Will Deuschle (seventh, 18:12).