East End Track Classic Is Successfully Revived By Pair Of Coaches

Pierson's Meredith Spolarich takes the baton from East Hampton teammate Bella Tarbet in the 4x-400-meter relay. RON ESPOSITO

East Hampton High School is typically the site of the East End Classic, a track and field invitational that hosts both boys and girls athletes from a number of schools, mainly from the East End.

But after a collection of high jump mats were damaged during the offseason, East Hampton girls track head coach Yani Cuesta, who usually puts the meet together, was left scrambling with the realization that new mats wouldn’t reach the school on time.

Enter Southampton girls track head coach Eddie Arnold.

Arnold volunteered to host the meet. And while it was a lot of work with a lot of moving parts, both Cuesta and Arnold were able to successfully revive the East End Classic at Southampton High School this past Friday night, after a year’s hiatus due to the pandemic.

In addition to the East Hampton and Southampton track programs, Shelter Island, Southold/Greenport, Center Moriches, Hampton Bays girls, and even some private school athletes competed in what was a very rare invitational under the lights. Most are held during the day, typically on Saturdays.

Cuesta said the intention was to bring the invitational back to East Hampton next year, although Arnold did note that the two schools could swap sites from year to year.

“We’re grateful Eddie volunteered and it was great working with him to organize it,” Cuesta said. “ I believe that even though the event was very early in this short season, it was an event that was fun and needed by all who participated and even those who came to watch.”

Arnold admitted that he never hosted his own invitational in his 20 years of coaching because of the time and the commitment it would take, while also coaching his own team.

“This year was a very, very stressful year for us, what we’ve all gone through. I really thought this would bring the community together, the parents and athletes of the other schools,” Arnold explained. “Something in my gut told me this was the right time do it, and it was a sacrifice because you’re sacrificing your own team when you’re a meet director. You can’t be there to coach them, you can’t get their times. But you’re kind of doing it for everyone else, for all of the East End. And we are a running community out here, so this was a big deal for a lot of people.”

Arnold thanked Southampton Athletic Director Darren Phillips and Southampton School District Superintendent Dr. Nicholas Dyno for not only giving the thumbs up to host the meet, but to allow spectators, both home and away.

“Having the students all here, hearing the roar of them cheering on the sidelines, it was nice having a real track meet,” Arnold said. “We haven’t had that in a very long time. And everyone was engaged, everyone was cheering for each other. The meet ran very smoothly. We had good officials, good teams and good performances.”

East Hampton’s Bella Tarbet won the 400-meter intermediate hurdles in a personal best 75.6 seconds. East Hampton also swept the first three placements in the 1,500-meter race with Dylan Cashin (5:13.5), Ava Engstrom (5:18.9) and Emma Hren (5:31.7). Pierson’s Meredith Spolarich won the 400-meter dash in 65.2 seconds and placed second in the high jump after reaching a personal best 4 feet 11 inches. Pierson’s Penelope Greene won the 3,000-meter race in 10:47 and Bella Espinoza won the pole vault with a height of 8 feet 6 inches. Bridgehampton’s Leslie Samuel placed second in the 100-meter dash in a personal best 13.5 seconds.

East Hampton’s Brayan Rivera waits for the baton from teammate P.J. Ramundo. RON ESPOSITO

East Hampton’s boys team didn’t have too many of its athletes at Friday night’s meet as they were coming off a dual meet that the squad lost at Islip, 81-68, the day prior. Bonac head coach Ben Turnbull said his team gave up 27 points by not having a pole vaulter or triple jumper, and had the meet only been scored in the events that his athletes actually competed in, his team would have won.

Colin Harrison won the 110-meter high hurdles against Islip, also won the shot put and took third in both the discus and long jump. Brayan Rivera placed second in the 1,600-meter race and finished in 4:46, nearly setting a new freshman record, which still stands at 4:45. He also won the 800-meter race in 2:11 and was part of the winning 4×800-meter relay.

Pierson’s P.J. Ramundo placed third in the 1,600 in a personal best 4:47 and won the 3,200-meter race in 11:11 and was also part of the winning 4×8. East Hampton’s Liam Fowkes won the 400-meter intermediate hurdles in 69 seconds and was part of the winning 4×400-meter relay team. Pierson’s Jackson Bakes won the 100-meter dash in a personal best 12.2 seconds and placed third in the 200-meter dash. East Hampton’s Amari Gordon placed second in the 400-meter dash in 53.4 seconds and was on the winning 4×4.

Southampton’s boys and girls won a number of events on Friday night. Bridget Ferguson won the high jump in a season’s best 5 feet. Amanda Mannino won the 100-meter dash in 13 seconds and she was a part of the winning 4×100-meter relay team with Alexis Armandi, Gabriela Arnold and Carli Cameron, who finished in 54.2 seconds. Arnold, Caroline Luss, Lucy Wesnofske and Laine Yastrzemski won the 4×400-meter relay in 4:35. Wesnofske placed second in the 800-meter run in 2:38. Cameron placed second in both the long jump (14 feet 8 inches) and triple jump (29 feet 4 ¾ inches) and Kyla Cerulo took third in both events, reaching 14 feet 2 ¼ inches in the long jump and 28 feet 9 ¼ inches in the triple. Kendra Jimenez placed third in the discus with a throw of 59 feet 11 inches.

Southampton’s boys were led by Billy Malone, who won the 800-meter race in 2:05.6, and Evan Simeone, who won the 400-meter dash in 55.4 seconds and placed second in the 200-meter dash in 23.4 seconds. Malone, Simeone, Saintino Arnold and Griffin Schwartz won the 4×400-meter relay in 3:49.6. Brad Bockhaus won the discus with a throw of 104 feet 9 ½ inches. Saintino Arnold placed fourth in the triple jump with a leap of 32 feet 3 ¼ inches.