“Just be a great version of who you are.”
That’s one of the many pieces of advice that North Shore cross-country head coach Neal Levy gave to his girls ahead of their state meet at SUNY Plattsburgh on Nov. 16. Levy is used to providing some timely advice to motivate his group of girls to success, and, at this point, success is almost synonymous with the program.
The Lady Vikings finished their 2019 season as Nassau County cross country champions for the 14th consecutive year in a row. As that streak dates back to 2006, North Shore also continued an undefeated meet streak that has been active since 2007. In October, the program achieved its 150th meet victory in a row, outrunning three other conference foes.
Despite extreme regular season success, Levy’s group still had to focus in for a trip upstate in some less than optimal conditions.
“Principal (Albert) Cousins came to our bus before it left in the morning to go upstate for the meet,” Levy said. “We talked about how it’s going to cold up there and then he said ‘you’ve trained them for this, for all conditions,’ and that the tougher the conditions it would be to our advantage.”
Despite the below-freezing temperatures, North Shore finished 4th in Class B at the New York State cross country championship meet, only finishing behind East Aurora, Pearl River and Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake. North Shore also finished 12th overall.
In the three-mile Class B race, North Shore’s Nicole Schneider finished eighth with a 17:38.5 time and a 5:53 per mile pace. Junior Sophie Rosencrans finished 35th with a time of 18:17.3 and a 6:06 per mile pace. Sophomore Kate Gilliam and eighth grader Elle Archer finished together, accruing an identical 18:47.5 and a 6:16 per mile pace. Sophomore Sarah Hoell finished 66th with a 19:09.1 and a 6.24 per mile pace. Sophomore Emma Dulaski and senior Rachel Truskinovsky finished 78th and 89th respectively.
“Sara (Hoell) had a 50-second improvement on her previous personal best,” Levy said. “She has been running for four years. She didn’t want to let her teammates down. We get everyone to believe in each other.”
Out of the top 12 individual finishes from Nassau County, North Shore accounted for seven of them, with Schneider finishing atop the list.
“This is the first time Nicole has made it to the state meet with all of her teammates in her high school career,” Levy said. “And all she was talking about was how the rest of her teammates did.”
The last time North Shore made the state meet as a team was in 2015. They won the state championships in 2010-11. Every year, a new crop of North Shore girls enter the program and have to follow in the footsteps of a number of successful athletes before them.
“I told them, ‘no longer do you have to hear about those successful teams from years ago,’” Levy said. “Because now, they are one of those teams. They are now one of those teams that future North Shore teams are going to look up to.”