Alex Saavedra's strategy was simple: find a comfortable pace early and pick it up as he went along.
The Sachem East senior picked it up early and separated from himself from the pack within the first half-mile, winning the Suffolk boys cross country Class AA title in 16:01.40 on Friday.
Saavedra's teammate, Joe DiRienzo, was the runner-up in 16:22.40.
After finishing second in both 2008 and 2009, Saavedra set his bull's-eye on this title, which doubles as the state qualifier.
"At the beginning of the season, I planned for it to be the best season of my high school career," Saavedra said.
After his 16:00.30 performance at the Division I championship on Oct. 26, the talk turned to whether he could go sub-16:00. Saavedra said he did not worry about time, only winning the race and doing so in comfortable fashion.
"It's just great," Saavedra said. "I felt so in control and smooth during the race."
While Saavedra and DiRienzo gave Sachem East a 1-2 punch, Connetquot took home the Class AA team title, its first since 1983. Connetquot's 63 points bested Smithtown District and Sachem East by 19 points apiece.
"It feels real good," Connetquot coach Tom Anziano said. "Smithtown and Sachem East are tremendous teams who put a scare in us."
The Thunderbirds were led by Zach Krause (fourth, 16:34.70), Tyler Murtha (fifth, 16:37.90), Scott Litts (eighth, 16:49.00) and Dom Costanzo (11th, 16:55.10).
In Class A, junior John Lee of Shoreham-Wading River took home the individual title in 16:40.80. Austin Coneys came in second (16:56.00), helping lead Harborfields to its second straight Class A team championship.
But the most dominating team performance of the day belonged to Bayport-Blue Point, which finished 1-4 in the Class B race. All seven of the Phantoms' runners finished in the top 13.
The Phantoms were paced by Connor Crowley, whose time of 16:53.80 gave him a comfortable 23.7 second victory.
Joe Ray (17:17.50), John Antonacci (17:23.90) and Adam LaFemina (17:26.30) rounded out Bayport's top-four sweep.
Port Jefferson took home top honors in Class C, and Stony Brook bested Southold in Class D.