For the third straight year, a high school runner won the 26th annual Joe Koziarz Memorial 5K in Westhampton Beach on Saturday morning.
Jack Ryan, 18, who just finished his junior year at Westhampton Beach High School, crossed the finish line of the 3.1-mile race in 17:19 (a 5:34 mile place), ending the two-year win streak of Erik Engstrom, who graduated from East Hampton High School last month. Ryan held about a 30-yard lead over Nick Berglin, as the two came down the home stretch on Library Avenue, alongside the Westhampton Beach Village Marina and Yacht Basin. Berglin, 19, who graduated from Hampton Bays High School last year and just completed his first year at SUNY-Oneonta, took second place in 17:23 (5:36).
Jay Barry, 38, of Manhasset and Westhampton Beach—who won the race in both 2011 and 2013—placed third in 17:33 (5:39), while Eric Perez, 18, who ran with Engstrom at East Hampton, placed fourth in 17:54 (5:46). Daniel Dern, 50, of Shirley, coming off a win of the Shelter Island 5K last month, rounded out the top five, crossing the finish line in 18:01 (5:48).
Maria Succheas, 39, was the first female to cross the finish line, 10th overall, in 18:57 (6:06). Tara Farrell, 37, of East Quogue was the second female finisher, 12th overall, in 19:22 (6:14), with Aileen Barry, 34, coming in right behind her in 19:34 (6:18).
Full results are at islandrunning-joekoziarz5.itsyourace.com.
Ryan had only run the Koziarz race once before, in the summer heading into his freshman year, but said it’s a good way to start his summer training session.
“It’s a pretty flat course,” he said. “It’s a good race to run because it’s easy and I’m at the beginning of my summer training right now, so it’s a good benchmark for me to see where I’m at and base my mileage off that.”
With the race at the end of July every year, runners usually expect the morning temperatures to be high, and this Saturday was no different. Ryan said hydrating even days before is key.
“I hydrate a lot the morning of, the day before,” he said. “I actually start two days before a race and really start cranking out some serious water. And I get out here and I know it’s about keeping your cool and I know I’m not dehydrated.”
Ryan is close to setting school records at Westhampton Beach. He was half a second away from tying Kevin Hogan’s 27-year-old mile record of 4:17.7 this past spring. Ryan is looking to break Hogan’s cross country school record this fall and will be looking to break both his mile and two-mile records next spring.
“I’m looking to go out big my senior year,” he said.
The Over The Bridge 10K/5K in Hamptons Bays in September is the next big race in the area and Ryan said that if he happens to be around he’ll compete in that too. But he is going to the Princeton Training Camp in the beginning of August and he’ll be attending The Running School at Camp Chipinaw in upstate Swan Lake, New York, with some Westhampton Beach teammates at the end of August.
Proceeds from the Joe Koziarz Memorial 5K go to a number of entities, including the Town of Southampton Police Athletic League, the Peconic Bay Medical Center Emergency Room in Riverhead and the Joe Koziarz Memorial Hurricane Scholarship Fund at Westhampton Beach High School.