One of the smaller teams participating among larger schools such as Patchogue/Medford, Sachem East, Longwood and Northport, the Southampton girls winter track team took part in the girls B crossover meet on December 10 at the western campus of Suffolk Community College in Brentwood where it performed well, according to head coach Eddie Arnold. The B meet is the second of four crossover meets held before league competitions begin.
Seventh-grader Erika Gulija, on the heels of a successful cross country season with the high school varsity team, finished the 1,000-meter run with a time of 3:37.54 to take 12th place.
“We’re doing different races,” said Arnold of the plan for Gulija, which has been trying several different distance runs to see where she’s most comfortable. Arnold said he thinks the 1,500-meter run will be her strongest event. In this week’s 1,500-meter, Samantha Wellen finished with a time of 6:09 and Katie Laffey ran the event in 6:12 for a seasonal personal best. Placements in this event for Wellen and Laffey were unavailable.
Among the other personal bests were Ricki Berkoski, who finished the 55-meter hurdles in 11.7 seconds; Grace Conklin, who leaped 27 feet, 3/4 inch in the triple jump; Makayla Syas who leaped 27 even in the triple jump; and Adriana Benitez who ran the 300- meter dash in 53.7 seconds. Charlotte Laguardia finished the 1,000-meter run with a time of 4:02 for her personal best.
Sophomore Shannyn Weeks took ninth in the 55-meter dash, finishing with a time of 8.39 seconds. Fellow sophomore Jeanette Henderson completed the triple jump with a distance of 29-10.
“We’re a very young team, but I’m excited,” said Arnold of his runners, adding that this is the best winter season he’s coached. He credited seniors Wellen, Larissa Pauli and Carly Stokes with leadership roles on the team, which he said contributed greatly to the program.
Arnold also praised assistant coach Lou Stellato with his work, particularly with the team’s shot putters.
“That’s his specialty,” he said. “He does a wonderful job with them.”
Personal bests were set in the shot put event as well, including Berkoski (20-2), Rebecca Katz (21-10) and Cat Kruckel (25-1 1/2).
The team was scheduled to return to the western campus of SCCC for its next crossover meet at 11:45 a.m. on Saturday
Boys Winter Track
The Southampton boys winter track team had its B crossover meet of the season on Sunday at the western campus of Suffolk Community College in Brentwood, where coach Tony Dottin said the day reflected the focus on conditioning and fundamentals, including proper body mechanics, which some of the younger runners are still working on.
“We had what I’d call a mildly successful day, due in part to our training philosophy this time of year,” said. “We get our kids in great physical shape, and we also try to teach them how to run properly. But based on where we are right now, we still have some outstanding performances.”
Nick Collazos, also back from a successful cross country season, finished the 1,000-meter run with a time of 2:49.6 to take sixth place. Davin Johnson ran the 600-meter in 1:32 to take fourth place. Johnson also finished fifth overall in the 55-meter dash with a time of 7.42 seconds, in which B.J. Mack finished third overall with a time of 7.12 seconds.
Johnson is also a gifted field event performer, according to Dottin, who said that Johnson is set to emerge in the top five among the county’s long jumpers and triple jumpers.
“We play possum with a kid like him,” said Dottin of Johnson, adding that he will ramp up his competition as the season continues, although he does not want to “burn him out” with an intense regimen too soon. “We’ll hold him back for now.”
Mack also finished the 300-meter dash with a time of 39.5 seconds to place fourth, followed closely by Owen Laub with a time of 39.55 seconds. Laub won in his age group for the event as well as in the 55-meter dash, where he finished with a time of 7.1 seconds. Deyvid Melo ran the 300-meter dash in 40.44 seconds to finish among the top 10. The Mariners’s 4 x 400-meter relay team—consisting of Collazos, Johnson, Mack and Laub—took fifth out of six teams, beating the second team from Longwood to finish with a time of 3:58.2.
In field events for the day, Zach Escallier and Jordan Seymore had personal bests in the long jump with respective distances of 17-4 and 17-5.
All the runners had personal bests in their events as well, said Dottin.
“I was most pleased with the new crop of kids, freshmen and sophomores,” he said. “They’re a good indicator of what the future of the program will look like. They are learning fast and coming along.”
Dottin is also excited to have 35 runners in total on this season’s roster, adding that the number is more than the team has had in several years.
“This is the largest number of boys on the team in the past six years,” he said, attributing much of the growth to word of mouth.
The team was slated to return to SCCC’s western campus for its third crossover meet on Wednesday at 5 p.m. Five of the team’s members—Collazos, Mack, Johnson, Laub and Melo—will compete at the Bishop Loughlin Games this Saturday at Manhattan’s Armory Track and Field Foundation at 2 p.m.