The Eastport South Manor track program took a huge step in its short history when the girls team traveled to Yale University on Friday for an invitational. It marked the first time that an ESM track team had traveled outside of the state to compete, something that might be normal for a seasoned track program, but not for one that just began three years ago.
“They were ecstatic,” ESM girls head coach James Lever said of his team. “They were beside themselves. It’s a step in the right direction for the program. They had an amazing time and they did really well. I was glad they could put the excitement aside and do what they do.”
Lever brought his relay teams and two of the three teams placed. The 4×400-meter relay team of Brittany Mailander, Brianna Hayes, Jessica D’Amico and Emily Tooker placed 11th out of 24 teams in 4:25, a personal best for the squad.
The 4×800-meter team of Briana Siele, Jasmine Bancore, Rebecca Kelly and Leah Riccio placed 14th out of 24 teams in 11:14, 32 seconds faster than their previous best.
The girls then came back home and went to Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood for the Art Mitchell Meet on Saturday.
Bancore placed fifth in the 1,000-meter run in 3:27 while Siele placed fifth in the 1,500-meter freshman run in 5:27.
The Lady Sharks will be back at SCCC-Brentwood on Sunday for the league championships which will begin at 7 p.m.
The ESM boys squad went to its lone meet on Saturday at SCCC-Brentwood and had a few runners place.
Bret Kearns was the highest place winner for the Sharks as he finished seventh in the 55-meter freshman/sophomore hurdles in 10.25. Zach Thorne finished eighth in the 300-meter freshman/sophomore dash in 42.06.
Ben Tuttle, who ESM head coach Jim Robson said “is proving to be our iron man,” did well in both the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter runs. He placed 11th in the 3,200-meter freshman/sophomore run in 11:13 and placed 13th in the 1,600-meter in 5:22.
Alec Rosenberg placed 17th in the 300-meter dash in 41.15. Robson said the team has been doing well considering three of the team’s top runners—Thorne, Ryan Brandow and Andrew Boullianne—have either been out with colds or various injuries.
“The whole thing is a learning process,” he said. “As long as they’re competing they’re going to learn some more stuff and I think we’ve made some strides. Some of the officials have said to me, ‘You guys are in the midst a little bit more.’ I think the commitment and attitude on the team has really developed since last year.”
Robson added that it’s hard not to use the winter season as a springboard to the spring season.
“I think our runners always like to compete,” he said, “and the coaches like to see that. But the hard part of the winter is the training aspect. Sometimes it feels like you’re getting a good week of work in and then, like this past week, that all turned sour quickly because of the cold weather.”
The Sharks used the week to train for the league championships which will be Saturday at 7 p.m. at SCCC-Brentwood. Individually, Robson said Rosenberg, Thorne, and the 4×200-meter relay team of Rosenberg, Alex Cavagnaro, Dan Josepher and Joe Scalamandre are looking to place fairly high.
“The team has been really competitive,” he said of the relay squad. “They’ve been working on gelling as a unit. I’m hoping they improve and they could do okay.”
Boullianne, a distance runner for the Sharks, should run in the 3,200-meter run at the league championship on Saturday but could be hampered by a leg injury suffered at the past crossover meet. Robson said he was close to qualifying in the event last winter and, if all goes well this week, he should qualify.
“Right now it’s something with his hip,” Robson said of Boullianne’s injury. “We don’t know if it’s a pulled muscle or if it’s more serious than that. He was in severe pain over the weekend and if it flares up like that again he’ll have to go to the doctor and be shut down. He really wants to run, though, and he knows he has a better chance to qualify this season.”