WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY TEAM AT
NORTH SHORE HIGH SCHOOL

The Women’s Cross Country team at North Shore High School has won 128 consecutive league meets and 10 Nassau County Championships. This incredible record translates to a 10-year winning streak!  If the 128-0 win-loss record doesn’t impress you, there is more…the Lady Vikings have earned two NEW YORK STATE CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS and garnered two TOP 10 finishes at the Nike Cross Country Nationals. Additionally, in 2012, the North Shore Cross Country team was chosen by Newsday as Long Island’s TOP TEAM (across all sports) and was prominently featured in ESPN Magazine and that’s just the Cross Country team! When you add the Women’s Winter and Spring Track squads to the equation, the Lady Vikings have produced numerous All Conference, All County, All State and All American runners and have captured 24 NASSAU COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIPS! This incredible success story is due in large part to the experience, knowledge, and leadership of High School coach, Neal Levy and Middle School Coach, Donna Jean Welch.  Their passion for running is contagious and they have built a dynasty, one runner at a time.


Coach Neal Levy grew up playing soccer and baseball. He joined his high school track team as a freshman and it was his athleticism and intense work ethic that earned him a spot on the Stony Brook University Track team. While earning his teaching degree, Neal realized that he wanted to become a Track and Field Coach so he sought out mentors who could help him realize his potential.  His “coaching mentors” came in the form of Steve Borbet and Jack Daniels. While he was at Stony Brook University, Neal’s track coach, Steve Borbet, became his friend and teacher. According to Coach Levy, “Steve is the greatest motivator I have ever come across.”  When Levy transferred to the State University at Cortland, he was under the tutelage of the master track coach and exercise physiologist, Jack Daniels. These two gurus were pivotal in developing Neal’s coaching philosophy. Coach Levy started his coaching career at Holy Trinity High School. During his six-year stint with the Titans he steered the team to three Catholic High School State Championships. His next stop was at Jericho High School where he led the Jayhawks Women’s Track team to Winter and Spring Conference Championships. He came to North Shore High School in 2002 and quickly assumed the role of the Women’s Winter and Spring Track Coach. Two years later, he started the Women’s Cross Country team. By 2006 the Vikings had won their first Cross Country Championship. And of course, from 2008 through 2017, the Vikings have had a 10-year winning streak. Along the way, Coach Levy developed a training program called “Run How You Feel” that allows distance runners of varied abilities to steadily improve. Coach Levy has gained a reputation for seeing the potential in every athlete, and he motivates each runner to push past their comfort zone so they can achieve their personal best…on the track and in the classroom. During his 15 years as the Women’s Track coach, he has established relationships with the top college track coaches in the country and his athletes have earned millions of dollars in scholarships. Neal’s love of running has never wavered. He competes in the Long Island Half Marathon and consistently places in the top 10. His motto is “IF YOU DO THE BEST YOU CAN EVERYDAY, REGARDLESS OF THE OBSTACLES, IT WILL ULTIMATLEY LEAD TO SUCCESS IN YOUR LIFE!


Almost every North Shore runner has had the privilege of working with Coach Donna Jean Welch. With her passion for track and her belief that the sport should be fun, the Middle School athletes fall in love with the sport. Donna Jean Welch was born to run.  From the start she had the quickness, speed and power that gave her an edge over her competitors.  When she was eight years old, she competed at the Colgate Women’s Games, which is the largest U.S. amateur track series for girls and young women. Each runner must compete in multiple preliminary meets and semi-final races. Only the premier runners make it to the finals. The athletes race for trophies and the chance to receive an educational scholarship. It is no surprise that at just eight years old, Donna Jean won a track scholarship to St. Kevin’s Catholic Academy. At the college level, she competed for Cougars at the University of Houston, and later for the Sun Devils at Arizona State University. While earning her Masters of Education degree at Springfield College, she coached the West Springfield High School Women’s Track team. She fell in love with coaching and knew that she wanted to impart the joy of running to young athletes. According to Coach Welch, “running is a sport that you can do anywhere, at any time, and it’s a fantastic way to stay healthy.” Coach Welch started coaching the North Shore Middle School track team in 1993, and then returned to the district six years later and started the Sea Cliff and Glen Head Elementary School Running Programs. If that wasn’t enough she formed the Middle School Winter Track team with John Jackson and has been coaching NSMS track for the past 12 years. Because Coach Welch’s training regimen is similar to most High School programs, the Middle School athletes can easily compete at the next level. Coach Welch likes to educate her runners about nutrition, mental toughness and the importance of good grades. She encourages any athlete who is interested in running, to come out and join the Middle School track team. Her motto is “LIVE IN THE MOMENT!”


Coach Levy and Coach Welch lead by example. They are dedicated and determined to guide the Women’s Cross Country team to success. These two coaches instill the love of running, the importance of teamwork, and inspire every athlete to be the best athlete and person that they can be. After all, a good coach can win a meet, a great coach can change a life.

 

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