The East Hampton/Pierson/Bridgehampton girls track team had a trio of athletes compete at the Section XI Track and Field Championships at Commack High School on Thursday, June 17. Two of the three earned All-County honors for their efforts.
East Hampton senior Bella Espinoza tied with Smithtown West junior Jane Gullason for fourth place in the pole vault after both cleared 9 feet on the same amount of attempts. Pierson senior Penelope Greene placed third in the county in the 3,000-meter race finishing in 10:20.32, a personal best by four seconds. Greene also ran in the 1,500-meter race and placed sixth in 4:58.62. The top four in each event earn All-County status.
East Hampton senior Bella Tarbet finished ninth overall in the pentathlon with 2,016 points. She placed eighth in the 100-meter hurdles (18.60 seconds), third in the shot put (25 feet 6 ¼ inches), 11th in the long jump (13 feet 3 ½ inches), 11th in the high jump (4 feet 2 inches), and fourth in the 800-meter run (2:46.08).
East Hampton head coach Yani Cuesta said she was “super happy” with how each girl did considering they got to the meet with only about 10 minutes to spare. Both Espinoza and Tarbet basically had no time to warm up for their events.
Espinoza was frustrated for a number of reasons, not just getting to the meet late, she said. Having cleared 10 feet, 6 inches in practice before, Espinoza was hoping, with the county meet potentially being her final one of her four-year varsity career, that she would finally reach that height in a meet. But, just like almost the entire field, she could only clear 9 feet, 6 inches, below her personal best. Only Half Hollow Hills West junior Ashley Brule, who wound up being county champion, cleared higher than 9 feet, reaching 11 feet.
“Pretty upset, you know?” Espinoza said. “I did 10 feet as a freshman my summer before my sophomore year, but that was at practice. It’s always been at practice. I even cleared 10 feet 6 inches at practice … it’s tough. And today we were rushed. We got here at 3:20. They were already warming up, I only got two warm-up jumps in. It’s just frustrating. I’ve had a long four years.”
Espinoza will be joining the business program at Pace University in the fall. Pace does not have a track program. Espinoza said she’s grateful for her time spent on the track team.
“I didn’t even know what pole vaulting was, and then I just started spring of freshman year and I said, ‘Alright, I guess I’m good.’ I went to divisions that year,” she explained. “I guess I’m just grateful for everything pole vaulting and track has taught me.”
Greene, the two-time cross country champion for Pierson, put a nice bow on her career with the All-County finish in the 3,000. Planning to run in both the 1,500 and 3,000, she said she was hoping the 1,500 would take place after the 3,000, her main event, and she got her wish, allowing her to go all out in the nearly 2-mile race. Greene reset East Hampton’s school record in the 3,000 earlier this season and improved on it in each race, including last week’s county meet.
Overall she’s happy with her high school athletic career and is looking forward to running at SUNY Geneseo.
“I had good luck,” she said. “There are very few who are in my position. I feel super happy. I think I ended it on a good note.”