Ben McErlean got the season started off right for the Pierson/Bridgehampton boys cross country team on Saturday at the Jim Smith Invitational at Sunken Meadow Park in Kings Park.
Competing in the junior class 5K, McErlean finished the race in 17:43, the fastest time run at Sunken Meadow by a Pierson boy in the 30 years that Joe Amato, the team’s head coach, has been at the school. Amato stopped short of calling it an actual school record because he does not have records from 1976 to 1989, a period when Pierson runners at times ran as part of the East Hampton program. McErlean finished the race fourth overall out of 155 runners.
“In any case, it was a great start to the season. All the boys ran faster than last year at the meet. Several set PR the first race of the season. Things are going very well thus far,” Amato said.
The Whalers sophomore runners finished an impressive seventh out of 26 teams in their class race. Keegan Guyer was the first to cross the finish line, 26th overall out of 182 runners, in 20:06.03. Thomas Schiavoni and P.J. Ramundo finished in 20:35.95 and 20:38.14, good enough for 38th and 40th, respectively. Pierson’s freshmen squad finished 15th out of 25 teams, led by Marcus Krofman, who finished the 1.5-mile race in 9:01.98, which placed him 43rd out of 188 runners.
Pierson’s girls didn’t bring enough runners to place as a team in any of the races, but Penelope Greene ran in the junior class race and placed seventh out of 120 runners in 21:29.23. Abby Sherwood, competing in her first race ever at Sunken Meadow, ran in the sophomore race and placed 27th out of 108 runners in 25:25.69.
Both Pierson teams hosted Shelter Island in their first dual meet of the season on Tuesday and will be at Indian Island Park in Riverhead on September 24 in a meet with Mattituck.