The effects of the superstorm that crippled the area put a damper on the high school cross-country season. The Nassau County Championship Meet was cancelled, runners had virtually nowhere to train, and uncertainty left student-athletes with little idea as to when they’d be competing next.
Despite the distractions and uncertainty, two members of the East Rockaway cross-country team qualified for the state championships, and made the 400-mile trek to upstate Elma to compete among the state’s best runners.
Juniors Jonathan Schloth and Carly Howard qualified for the meet by virtue of their strong performance at the Conference IV meet at Bethpage State Park. Schloth, who qualified for the state meet for the fourth consecutive year, placed third in the conference meet with a time of 17:12.3.
Howard, who qualified for the state meet for the second time in three years, finished 12th among 69 runners in the conference meet. Her time of 22:11.5 was her best time of the season.
East Rockaway head coach Andrew Rinn believes the approach that Schloth and Howard took enabled them to persevere. “Both of them were very focused coming into the season,” Rinn said. “They put in the work over the summer, and did everything it took to be successful. They both performed very well all season long.”
Schloth had his sights set on earning All-County honors as a junior, but the cancellation of the county meet rendered that moot. However, Schloth had the top time in the county among Class C performers.
At the state meet, Schloth crossed the finish line in 18:10, the second best time among Nassau County Class C public school runners, despite stopping along the course to come to the aid of a fallen runner who appeared to be injured. Howard’s time was tops among Nassau County Class C public school runners.
Schloth and Howard did more than just post solid times. Both were selected by opposing coaches in the conference as sportsmanship winners giving to the runners who best exemplify the standards of sportsmanship and ethical behavior. Both earned All-Conference recognition.