Freshman runner secures All-American honors

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It continues to be an amazing year for William Floyd High School freshman and star student-athlete Zariel Macchia. After dominating the fall season of cross-country, she continued to make her presence felt in track throughout the winter. She has won or placed in the top three in multiple races and secured All-American and All-State honors in the process.

“At this point there is nothing that surprises me about Zariel,” said John Ryan, head coach of the girls’ varsity track and cross-country teams. “What she has accomplished so far in her young career is truly unimaginable.”

In February, Macchia was crowned the overall champion in the 1,000-meter run with a time of 2:56.57 at the Section XI State Qualifying Meet, which qualified her for the state championship meet in early March. She followed that up with two victories at the Long Island Elite Meet—the 600-meter and the 1,500-meter—becoming the only student-athlete in the competition to win two events at this meet.

Then in early March, she ran a third-place finish at the New York State Championship meet, earning her All-State honors in the process. Her time of 2:51.73 was among the top 10 times this indoor season in the entire nation and the fastest time ever run by a freshman at the New York State Championship meet, according to Coach Ryan.

Zariel competed at the Nike and New Balance Indoor Track & Field National Championships over the weekend of March 12-13 and took home first place overall in the Nike National Championship Two-Mile race with a time of 10:17.09, the fastest two-mile time ever recorded by a female athlete from Long Island and the all-time national record for a freshman. This victory secured her First Team All-American honors.

“Zariel’s natural ability, combined with her work ethic, puts her on a different level,” added Coach Ryan. “She is a ferocious competitor, a gifted student, a model teammate and a caring soul. As a coach I love her competitive nature, but it’s her humility when the race is over that makes her special. Zariel would rather see others recognized for their achievements before her own. She is laser focused, goal-oriented, and always able to understand the bigger picture. It’s still hard for me to believe that she’s only a freshman.”

Zariel’s accomplishments up to this point include winning the Suffolk County Class A girls cross country championship two years in a row (eighth and ninth grade); winning the Suffolk County Division Championship in the 5K two years in a row (eighth and ninth grade); placing second in the Eastern States Championship Race at the Manhattan College High School Invitational; and winning the annual Smith Point Bridge 5K Run for Literacy race two years in a row (seventh and ninth grade—no race in eighth grade due to the pandemic). She was also named last season’s Suffolk County Female Runner of the Year. She also ran a second-place finish in the 2021 Eastbay Cross Country Regional Championships in November, which qualified her for the Eastbay Cross Country National Championship Meet in San Diego, CA, in December. Zariel finished 12th in that race, higher than any other freshman or sophomore in the United States, resulting in All-American honors. She had been training and preparing to compete in the Pan American Cross-Country Cup on March 27 in Serra, Brazil, however, the U.S. is not sending a team this year due to COVID-related travel restrictions. Zariel was also recognized at a William Floyd Board of Education meeting in January for her vast accomplishments.