Nanuet's Megan Young won the NYS Class B title in cross country as a freshman back in 2009. She's had an amazing career since — particularly on the track — but has had ups and downs on the trails. By winning the Rockland County Championships on Thursday, she has announced herself back in a big way.
Young beat Pearl River's Kelly Hayes at Bear Mountain to win the three-mile race in 17:34 and lead her team to a win over Suffern (NYS Class A No. 7) and Pearl River (NYS Class B No. 6). It was Nanuet's first Rockland County title since 1991 when Coach Sheri Felenstein Dempsey was running for the Knights. Young's time ranks 18th-best all-time on the course and she is now the third-best Rockland runner ever — behind only Hayes and Rockland legend Shelby Greaney, who just finished fifth at the Big East Championships on Friday running for Providence.
Young was surprised by her win — something she also accomplished as a freshmen. "Kelly (Hayes) and Kate (Zendell) have been running awesome," Young said. "I was going into this race just focusing on my time. But once everyone kept telling me how much of a lead I had, it kept motivating me to open it up more and more."
Coach Dempsey is being inducted into the Nanuet Track & Field Hall of Fame next month — partly because she was the individual county champion three straight years from 1990 to 1992. So on the 20th anniversary of her team's last win she has guided the Knights back to the top. Dempsey also has bragging rights at home as her husband Jeff is the head coach of the second-place Suffern girls.
The Section 1 Championships will be held on Friday at Bowdoin Park and the longest Sectional winning streak in the state is on the line. Coach Dan Doherty's Pearl River girls have won 33 straight years dating back to 1979. Nanuet and Pearl River high schools are less than theee miles apart and the communities are very much intertwined. Many of the kids in each school grow up on the same sports teams or in the same grammar schools. It's one thing for a team from Westchester or Putnam to beat Pearl River. It's a whole other story if it was Nanuet to end Pearl River's streak. On Friday — no matter the outcome — there will be one team celebrating and one team left distraught.