Pearl River senior Molly Shine woke up hurting Friday morning.
The Pirates were not even sure she would run in the Section 1 Class B girls cross country championships until 10 minutes before the racee.
"She woke up this morning and her Achilles tendon was killing her," said Pearl River girls cross country coach Dan Doherty. "There was a lot of tension before the race, but the girls went out and ran fantastic. I really think it was our best race of the year."
Shine ran the course in 19:11.09 to finish first overall, helping the Pearl River girls to their 33rd consecutive section championship.
"When I woke up, I could hardly walk so naturally I was heartbroken," Shine said. "But thankfully, Tommy Lynn, my physical therapist, was able to help me and so was the trainer at the meet. By the time everything was done, I had only 30 minutes to stretch, warm up and get to the starting line. When the gun went off, my adrenaline must have taken over and masked most of the pain.
"I was thrilled to win the race, but more importantly I was happy that my team won."
The Pearl River boys turned in an impressive performance of their own. Although one of their top runners, Brian Edsall, had to drop out of the race due to injury, the Pirates put three runners in the top 10 to repeat as Class B boys team champions.
Pearl River entered both races as the favorite, but the boys race figured to be the tougher challenge. When the section eliminated Class AA for this season, effectively merging Class A and Class B, that set up a battle between the Pirates and two-time defending Class A champion Brewster for the team title.
"Brewster is the two-time defending Class A champs and they didn't graduate anybody, so we knew they would be tough," Pearl River boys coach Mike Kiernan said. "Our top three ran as well as they ahve all year and our next two guys really stepped it up. People say cross country is an individual sprot, but today, these guys really showed it is a team sport.
Kieran Brennan led Pearl River by finishing seventh overall in 17 minutes flat. Steven McNiff took ninth and Joe Clinton was 10th for the Pirates, who also got solid performances from Brian Cook, Ben McDermott and Brenden Bateman.
Both Pearl River teams will now compete in the state championships Nov. 12 at Vernon Verona Sharon High School in Vernon, NY.
The Pearl River girls got there despite the rough start to the day.
"That was not what I needed to hear first thing in the morning," Doherty said of Shine's sore foot. "We knew as long as we performed, we should win. But to wake up and maybe be without our top kid, that makes it interesting.
"She got an emergency physical therapy appointment this morning. The trainer at the meet taped her up."
Shine has battled adversity in big meets before. She suffered an asthma attack during the 2010 state meet and managed to crawl to the finish.
She had no such troubles Friday and was one of four Pirates to finish in the top six overall. Ceili McMorrow took third in 19:35.8, with Kelly Hayes fourth and Maria Kohlbrenner sixth.
"Ceili McMorrow had one of the best races of her life, definitely her best race this year," Doherty said. "It wasn't a nice day up there. It was chilly and windy. Most of the girls improved their times, which was surprising because of the conditions. It was also very muddy."
Laura Cooper finished 15th, just ahead of Brianne Garvey's 16th, and Emma Haley was 24th.
"Our fifth and sixth also improved their times tremendously from when we were here two weeks ago," Doherty said.
Full results for all of the Section 1 cross country championships can be found here.
Section 1 Class B Cross Country Championships
At Bowdoin Park
Top 3 Teams
- Pearl River 67
- Brester 78
- Tappan Zee 85
Top 10 Individual Finishers
- Justin Maguire, Brewster 16:30.31
- Taylor Love, Rye 16:35.23
- Marc Violone, Byram Hills 16:43.47
- Joe Dinan, Tappan Zee 16:47.38
- Nathan Kotch, Tappan Zee 16:49.59
- Adam McIe, Brewster 16:55.82
- Kieran Brennan, Pearl River 17:00.26
- Luke Gavigan, Tappan Zee 17:02.56
- Steven McNiff, Pearl River 17:02.77
- Joe Clinton, Pearl River 17:04.94
Top 3 Teams
- Pearl River 27
- Nanuet 62
- Tappan Zee 109
Top 10 Individual Finishers
- Molly Shine, Pearl River 19:11.90
- Ariana Bottalico, Brewster 19:27.20
- Ceili McMorrow, Pearl River 19:35.79
- Kelly Hayes, Pearl River 19:40.02
- MaryKate O’Meara Nanuet 19:45.71
- Maria Kohlbrenner, Pearl River 19:52.38
- Meagan Jaskot, Tappan Zee 19:54.18
- Katherine Doyle, Sleepy Hollow 20:05.57
- Megan Young, Nanuet 20:10.18
- Nicki Nesi, Pelham 20:14.96