Written by Zachary Englis
Runners, coaches, officials, parents, and fans were scattered around the polo field of Bethpage State Park on a cool, cloudy afternoon this past Wednesday, two days after the polo field and woods were empty with gusts blowing and hard rain falling.
The fourth league meet for Nassau County high school cross country teams was canceled due to the weather warning of a possible tornado and severe rainstorms Monday, forcing the new date.
“It throws a lot of things off, especially our training,” Mineola head cross country coach Tom Leninger said. “Now instead of having our meet on a Monday we had our meet on Wednesday and we have a meet coming up on Saturday also. So tomorrow is turning into a workout day; which the athletes won’t be too happy about, but you have to roll with the punches. You can’t control Mother Nature.”
For the girls and boys teams from Mineola High School, it is just a hurdle they need to leap.
“We definitely had to refocus,” senior captain Jake Tavernite said, describing the quick adjustment the teams had to make when they found out they were not going to compete as they were about to get on the bus to go to the meet. “I think everybody did a great job coming back two days later, prepared.”
According to the Mineola athletes they are exceeding their expectations this season. With the losses of key senior members to graduation and the addition of new members, things seem to be going right even when Mother Nature tries to hinder them.
“The team, overall, is doing very well,” said Dylan Bestler, a senior captain. “Especially without all the seniors that left last year. After today we are 9-1, and I don’t think anyone expected this.”
Girl’s senior captain Emily Martins said that her team has “some more girls than last year. It was hard in the beginning, but everyone is starting to pick it up.”
Although there are over 20 teams present at the league meet, each school only fields two or three teams at a time. Coming off two days of added rest, the Mustangs competed against Roosevelt and Island Trees.
The boy’s team came away with two more wins to improve their record to 9-1. The girl’s team beat Roosevelt, but lost to Island Trees, improving their record to 4-6. Individually, coming off a rescheduled meet, Mineola athletes were able to walk away with 13 new personal records.
“I think this season has basically been going better than anybody expected,” Tavernite said. “I think right now, we have exceeded our expectations.”