It’s late January and Sophia McInnes is back where she belongs – dominating an endurance race in Suffolk County. McInnes, a Bayport-Blue Point sophomore, won the 1,500 meters in four minutes and 40.06 seconds in the small school session of the Art Mitchell Meet at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood on Saturday morning.
The time — the second fastest on Long Island according to milesplit.com — served as a helpful vote for next weekend’s district championships. It was also another reminder that McInnes is the real deal on Long Island when it comes to distance. Only Floyd’s Zariel Macchia has run a faster 1,500 this season.
McInnes’ cross-country season was cut short after she collapsed while coming straight home at the unseasonably warm Suffolk Division Championships at Sunken Meadow State Park in October. At the time, McInnes was the 11th runner in the state – according to speed ratings on tullyrunners.com – and was among the favorites to win the Class B state title in a public school.
“I was really disappointed,” she said. “I thought I was on a role like that. I pushed myself at every meeting and got better and better. I thought I was going to do that well in the last race and collapsed in the last 200 metres. I didn’t expect it. It was annoying.”
As far as she knows, McInnes never lost consciousness during the collapse, but realized something might be wrong after Cardiac Hill.
“The whole race wasn’t a fight,” she said. “I was feeling good, and then I started tripping over myself in the last 400-800 meters right after Cardiac. I turned off the concrete bridge to the last straight, tripped over myself and couldn’t get up… I was scared because it had never happened to me before. I wasn’t quite sure what happened at that moment.”
McInnes said the collapse was partly due to over-exhaustion and dehydration – which caused her to change some of her pre-race habits.
“I drank a lot more[liquids],” she said. “I have a jug that I drank every day. I try to drink at least two…I eat more carbs and protein.”
McInnes said she was cleared by doctors on December 12 to start running again. Without wasting much time, she started her indoor training on December 13th after a nearly two-month break from running.
“We started out a little loose,” she says. “But we got right back in it… It was a bit difficult at first (finding my legs) but once I got the hang of it, I felt really good.”
On Saturday, McInnes said she executed her race plan perfectly and feels physically where she needs to be a week before the county championships.
“I did everything I was supposed to do by trying hard, going out straight away and trying to get a good lead,” she said. “It was fun trying so hard.”
Elsewhere, Sayville’s Mullane Baumiller won the 1,000 in 3:12.67. Baumiller, whose 10:11.28 win in the 3,000 at the Stanner Games two weeks ago is still the best time on Long Island, ran the shorter event Saturday as a change of pace. She expects to go the longer distance again at the district championships next weekend.
“I didn’t really know how to move,” she said. “It was a new experience.”
Nevertheless, Baumiller won by a large margin, took the lead early on and was 8.36 seconds ahead of the field.
“I really didn’t have a strategy for it,” she said. “I just thought I have to go as hard as possible. I thought it was an 800 but a little longer… It was fun but I prefer to stick with the longer stuff.”
Deer Park’s Alexandra Geosits won the 600m in 1:41.29 and Westhampton’s Madison Phillips won the 55 hurdles in 9.23 seconds. Port Jefferson’s Jenna Jacobs won the 55 in 7.55 seconds and the 300 in 42.85.
Jordan Lauterbach joined Newsday’s sports department in 2012. He covers running and the Long Island Ducks. Lauterbach graduated from the CW Post with a degree in Electronic Media in 2010.
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