VSN races to conference title


Behind four top 20 finishers, Valley Stream North took home the Nassau boys’ cross-country Conference IV championship last month by edging Seaford by nine points.

Freshman Jake Catalano and sophomore Phillip Inguanta set the pace for the Spartans by cracking the 18-minute mark while placing seventh and eighth, respectively. Catalano crossed the line in 17:48.8, and Inguanta followed in 17:53.3. Fredric Lang of Mineola won the race in 16:53.0, nipping Joseph Miller of Seaford by two seconds.

“Our top kid [Peter Wilk] got injured early in the race, but that’s why you have seven guys,” VSN coach Tim Boyens said. “Jake’s always been talented, and Phillip trained hard over the summer after giving up soccer. And some others stepped up.”

North’s roster was loaded with talented underclassmen, Boyens said. Leonardo Puerto served as the lone senior and was the team’s third finisher in the conference meet, placing 11th in 18:21.4. “He’s been injured on and off,” Boyens said. “He gutted out the race.”

Wilk, a sophomore, rolled his ankle within the first half-mile but still beat the 19-minute plateau for 20th place, finishing in 18:56.8, and sophomore TJ Magno placed 23rd in 19:09.1. When Magno crossed the line to give the Spartans 64 team points, the title was sealed. “Peter was our top runner during the regular season and helped us finish first,” Boyens said of Wilk. “He’s got the intangibles you can’t teach.”

In addition, sophomores Matthew Cinnamo (19:20.9) and Julian Osorio (20:15.8) would have scored for many other teams in a race that featured 79 runners.

On the girls’ side, the Lady Spartans finished fourth in Conference IV with 104 points. The race was won by Clarke’s Tristynn Mercedes, and Friends Academy took home the team championship.

Senior Sydney Cano was North’s top finisher and placed seventh-overall in 21:48.7. Junior Yasmin Dubissette also cracked the top 10 for the Lady Spartans, placing ninth in 22:01.3. Other scorers were senior Amira Dubissette (24:33.0), Nanami Ellis (24:57.1) and Allison McConville (25:23.0.)

“Even though there wasn’t a county meet, the girls would have qualified as a team,” Boyens said.

Since the Section VIII championships/state qualifier meet scheduled for Nov. 3 wasn’t held due to Superstorm Sandy, the conference results were used to determine qualifiers for the state meet.