On This Day in History | 1977

Mark & Laura Whitney
Mark & Laura Whitney

On this day 37 years ago, the Whitney family dominated the New York State Cross Country Championships. Laura, just a 13-year-old eighth-grader, capped off her first cross country season by winning the Class B individual crown in 18:13. Not to be outdone, her older brother, Mark, won the Class C title in a blazing 15:07, while a third Whitney, Andy, followed with a 4th place finish to close out a remarkable day in the history of Stony Brook athletics.

One year later, Andy and Laura repeated the feat. They remain the only two instances in New York State cross country history that siblings won titles on the same day.

Girls’ Class B Results

1.Laura WhitneyStony Brook18:13
2.Kathy AmatoPine Plains18:31
3.Emily WoodSkaneateles18:37
4.Deanna DennisonCat-Meridian18:39
5.Maureen LarkinPine Plains18:46

Boys’ Class C Results

1.Mark WhitneyStony Brook15:07
2.Kevin DegaafAdirondack15:26
3.Dave DavisOnondaga Central15:34
4.Andy WhitneyStony Brook15:40
5.Damien EmeryShoreham-Wading River15:45

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The Whitneys: State Champions in Cross Country

Stony Brook sent four runners to the New York State cross country championships at Malone, N.Y. on November 5. Three of them all live in the same house in Stony Brook. Two of the three, Mark and Laura Whitney, took first place in their respective races. The third, Andy Whitney, finished in fourth place. On November 19 at the New York State Federation Cross Country Championships (public and private schools), hosted by Stony Brook and held at Sunken Meadow State Park, Laura won first place in the girls’ individual race, and Mark won third in the boys’ individual race.

Mark, a senior here, is the oldest at 17; Andy, a junior, is 16. And Laura? Well, she is a state high school champion at 13. And she’s only in the eighth grade.

Laura started running just last year, when she was part of the Stony Brook track team in the spring. She started with it not only from the influence of her older brothers, but because she used to take runs with her father, who runs on his own. Mark also started out the same way, going out for cross country in seventh grade, enjoying it, and sticking with it ever since. When Andy was old enough, he joined the ranks of his brother and has been right on his heels in all their races. All three are on the high honor roll here at Stony Brook, and each estimates study habits that call for nearly two hours a night.

The presence of Laura has added a new dimension to their competition. “Probably the most incentive I’ve had in a long time came when Laura won her race in the state meet. I knew that I’d have to do no less than win,” Mark said. “She puts the pressure on.”

Laura said her brothers, and her teammates, have all helped her along and given her encouragement, and said coach Marvin Goldberg should be given credit for much of her success. Mr. Goldberg said Laura keeps up with all his workouts; however, he modifies them somewhat for her.

The State Federation Meet ended this year’s cross country season. For Mark, next year it’s on to college where he’ll continue to compete in both cross country and track. “I’d like to run a respectable mile once a day,” Mark said  “and go under four minutes.” He already has gone 4:16 as a junior, and that is a school record.

And Andy? As a junior he still had a year to go, and he’s not brokenhearted about his brother going to college. Because by Mark’s graduating, Andy said, “maybe now I’ll win a few races.”

~Winter 1978 Stony Brook Bulletin

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