Winter Track Teams Brave The Cold For Weekend Meets

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Pierson senior Penelope Greene.

Sleeping bags; Uggs; hooded fleece ponchos; steaming cups of tea inside Yeti mugs — the gear spotted on the sidelines and infield at the Southampton High School track on Sunday more closely resembled what would typically be found at an alpine base camp. The same scene played out at high schools across Long Island over the weekend, with boys and girls winter track teams braving the elements for the third week of their abbreviated season.

East Hampton and Westhampton Beach

It marked the first weekend of competition for East Hampton’s boys and girls track teams, who were forced to the sidelines the previous two weekends because their school had been on fully remote learning, and school policy dictates that when schools are remote, students cannot practice or compete.

The Lady Bonackers (0-1) traveled to Westhampton Beach (3-0), where they lost the meet, but had several strong performances that made head coach Yani Cuesta pleased with the outcome. While teams are keeping score and recording wins and losses this season, a common refrain among coaches is that they aren’t putting much stock in those numbers. Competing outdoors in the unforgiving elements of winter, with several athletes missing on any given day because of injury or quarantine regulations related to COVID-19, they are simply happy to have the chance to get outside and compete against other schools.

Southampton’s Bridget Ferguson won the high jump on Sunday.
CAILIN RILEY

That was certainly the case for Cuesta on Sunday, as she had only eight athletes with her at the meet. The 4×400-meter relay team of Ava Engstrom, Emma Hren, Daniela Chavez and Penelope Greene finished first (4:56.10), while Bella Espinoza won the long jump with a distance of 13 feet 2 ½-inches. Nicole Velez was second in the same event (11 feet 1 ¾ inches), and Lyla Wilson was second in the triple jump (22 feet 1 inch). The field events were contested by both teams in the middle of the week leading up to the meet, in anticipation of the cold weather that would have made jumping into a hardened sand pit too dangerous.

Greene, a Pierson student, finished second in the 1,500-meter race in 5:17.79. Neither team entered competitors in the 3,000-meter race or 1,500-meter racewalk.

While the day was certainly frigid, Cuesta said it was manageable, and she said the meet ran smoothly and quickly.

“I’m eternally grateful that we were able to compete,” she said, adding that she hoped the snowfall totals from Monday’s storm wouldn’t lead to the cancellation of meets next weekend.

As for the Westhampton Beach girls team, Jackie Amato led the way in distance events, winning both the 1,500 and 1,000-meter races. Maureen Duffy won the shot put and the 600-meter race, and was on the winning 4×200-meter relay team with Jessie Dunn, Sintina Gregorio and Gabby Wendel. Oceane Ode won the 55-meter dash, while Valerie Finke won the 55-meter hurdles. Emma Way won the triple jump, Sara Dunathan won the 300-meter race, and Madison Phillips won the high jump.

The Westhampton Beach boys team beat out East Hampton on Saturday, with several strong performances. Aidan McKeon had a great day in what will be his final track meet of the season. McKeon is typically a wrestler, and had joined the winter track team as he waited to hear whether or not high-risk sports would be allowed to proceed. On Saturday, he won the 55-meter dash in 6.94 seconds. Nick Waszkelewicz was in the same boat — he finished second in the shot put, his last meet before joining the basketball team again.

Will Barry won the shot put, while Jake Mecca was third. Trevor Hayes won the 3,200-meter race, with Cole Cammarata taking second. Gavin Ehlers won the 1,000 and the 600-meter races, while Max Haynia was second in both. Results for the East Hampton boys team were not immediately available.

Southampton

The Lady Mariners hosted several teams on Sunday — Elwood/John Glenn, Shelter Island, Port Jefferson, Southold and Greenport — although it was a manageable number of students, as several of the teams arrived with only a handful of athletes. The meet was fast, with coaches, athletes and officials working hard to get it done quickly because of the weather. The long jump and triple jump were canceled because the ground was too hard.

Southampton dominated in most of the events. Bridget Ferguson won the high jump, clearing 4 feet 8 inches, while Jasmine Head was second, clearing 4 feet 4 inches. Kendra Jimenez finished second in the shot put, in another strong showing in the field events. Alexis Amandi, Carli Cameron, and Kyla Cerullo all won their heats in the 55-meter dash, while Southampton also won two relays. Amandi, Cerullo, Cameron and Gabriella Arnold won the 4×200 in 2:06, while Jeorgiana Gavalas, Hallie Beeker, Lucy Wesnofske and Juliette Archer won the 4×400 in 5:02.

The Southampton boys team was in action as well, traveling to Southold to compete against the host team and Glenn.

Southampton brought a small contingent of athletes to the meet, but had some good results. Billy Malone won the 600-meter race with a personal-best time of 1:32.67. He was also part of the 4×400-meter relay team, along with Evan Simioni, Tino Arnold and Griffin Schwartz that took first in 4:02.31. Harrison Gavalas won the 300-meter race with a time of 39.50, and Simioni was second in 41.10 seconds.

Hampton Bays

The Lady Baymen were victorious in a 48-31 home meet with Center Moriches on Sunday. Emma Halsey won the 55-meter hurdles in 11.6 seconds; Kati Mounts was first in the shot put with a throw of 23 feet 5 inches; Lilly Patek and Bryona Hayes finished one-two in the 300-meter race in 50 and 50.6 seconds; and Saorla Scully cleared 4 feet 2 inches to win the high jump. Sophiia Senchishin led the team by scoring a total of eight points in her events, while Patek and Danna Flores each tallied six points to help the team.

Results for the Hampton Bays boys track meet with Center Moriches were not immediately available.

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