The Brooklyn Dodgers famously made “wait till next year” the optimistic yet doomed catchphrase of losing teams everywhere, simultaneously signaling hope for victory in the future and certainty that victory will never come. But for the Calhoun High School girls’ cross-country team, “next year” looks like it really could be right around the corner.
The Calhoun girls lost the Class I county-cross country championship to Syosset High School on Oct. 26 at Bethpage State Park by a razor-thin margin — one runner on each team made all the difference — and no other school came close to them. Calhoun is also a young team — three of the top nine girls in the Class I championship race were underclassmen competing for Calhoun. One of them, Nadya Resnick, who finished sixth, is an eighth-grader at Merrick Avenue Middle School.
Grace Moore, a Calhoun sophomore, won first place in the county, blowing away the competition with an 18:39.5 race time, almost 34 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. She, Resnick and Emma Joseph, a Calhoun sophomore who placed ninth in Class I, performed well enough in the state qualifier meet on Nov. 2 at Bethpage to win spots on the starting line at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association’s Cross-Country Championship this Saturday in Queensbury, N.Y., near Lake George. Katie Woo, a Calhoun senior, rounded out the top 10 in the Class I county race and was less than one second behind Joseph.
“It’s so exciting. It’s like a dream come true,” said Erin Lusenskas, the Calhoun girls’ cross-country coach, about having three runners qualify for the state championship race. She called the girls’ work ethic “amazing.”
“It’s a team that motivates from within itself,” Lusenskas said. “It’s contagious.”
Moore said she was surprised by her own success. Last fall she was on the Calhoun soccer team, not the cross-country team. But after joining the winter and spring track teams last year, she was hooked on competitive running. She said that in the state qualifier race, she had just one main competitor, Garden City sophomore Steph Gerland, who bested her for first place by less than 11 seconds.