The goal all season for Pierson sophomore Ben McErlean has been to break 18 minutes on the 3-mile cross county course at Mashashimuet Park. On Tuesday, racing against Port Jefferson, which is one of the top cross country teams in Suffolk County, McErlean finished third overall and posted a personal-best time of 17 minutes and 52 seconds. The team lost, 23-33, to fall to 32 on the season, but the outlook is good going into the upcoming divisional and sectional championships. Pierson will race in the divisional race on October 23 and in the Section XI Championships on November 2, with both races at Sunken Meadow State Park. Should anyone qualify for states in Class C, that meet will also be at Sunken Meadow, on November 10.
Peter Schaefer finished fifth on Tuesday in 18:16, followed by Sage Witty (sixth), Hunter Hansen (eighth) and Tom Schiavoni (11th). Other notables were junior Julian Cheng and freshmen Keegan Guyer and Mike Hardy, who all posted impressive personal times.
In the girls race, Port Jefferson won, 26-33, but Pierson sophomore Penelope Greene finished first overall in 20:06. Caroline Jungck was second in 20:20 as she closed out her career at the park along with fellow seniors Carly Browngardt, Grace Horan and Haley Capalbo. Seniors Phoebe Arkinson and Kristen Pettigrew were injured and were unable to run. The girls team also finished with a 3-2 regular-season record and will travel to Providence, Rhode Island, this weekend for the Brown Invitational. The division, county and state championship meets will be held on the same days as the boys.