The Pierson boys cross country program has had a resurgence the past couple of years, and with the majority of its team returning this season, head coach Joe Amato only expects that to continue this season.
Hunter Hansen, Sage Witty and Tristan Remkus all graduated after last season and Amato said, “the three were outstanding leaders who had a strong work ethic.” But the Whalers have both of their state qualifiers — junior Ben McErlean and senior Peter Schaefer — back on board along with a handful of other returning strong runners including sophomore Thomas Schiavoni, senior Julian Cheng and junior Truman Yardley. Sophomore P.J. Ramundo has transfered in from out of state and is new to the team. Amato said he has been running fast the first few weeks of practice and will play a big part on the team.
“With a large group of 20 athletes running the future looks bright,” Amato said. “We had winning league records the past two years and should do so again. The two powerhouses — Port Jeff and Shelter Island — graduated few key runners so they will be tough to beat.
“The important thing is that athletes’ times are getting faster every year,” he continued. “Numbers are increasing and the culture is changing. Several runners are in the mix for All-League honors.”
Pierson opens the season at the Jim Smith Invitational at Sunken Meadow Park in Kings Park this Saturday, September 14. The league season will start the following Tuesday, September 17, at Mashashimuet Park against Shelter Island.
The Lady Whalers do not have the depth the boys do but they do have a returning state qualifier of their own in junior Penelope Greene who should lead the team at just about every meet this season. Her head coach, Jim Kinnier, said that Greene should vie for the individual county Class D title this season.
Joining Greene this season are seniors Daniella Schiff and Esrin Acar and sophomore Abby Sherwood. The girls will join the boys at the Jim Smith Invitational this weekend as well as the league meet on Tuesday against Shelter Island.