Strong showings by Lady Mariners at track meets

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The Southampton Lady Mariners winter track team participated in several events at two recent meets, and with one to go, head coach Eddie Arnold is preparing for the league championships on Sunday.

At the Jim Howard Meet at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood, sophomore Jeanette Henderson placed 10th in the girls 55-meter dash with a personal best time of 7.7 seconds. Junior Amanda Aquino placed 29th in the same event with her personal best time of 8 seconds flat.

Senior Samantha Wellen ran her personal best time in the 1,500-meter run in 5:58, and junior Katie Laffey also recorded a personal best time in the same event in 5:52. In the 600-meter run, sophomore Adriana Benetiez ran for her first time and clocked in at 2:15, while freshman McKenna O’Shea ran the same event, also for her first time, in 2:08.

One of two seventh-graders on the Lady Mariners, Erika Gulija, ran her first competitive 1,500-meter run in 5:40 at the Jim Howard Meet.

On Saturday, the Lady Mariners returned to Suffolk West for the Art Mitchell Memorial Meet.

Gulija improved on her previous time and achieved a personal best time of 5:34 in the Art Mitchell frosh 1,500-meter run, and fellow seventh-grader Jade Kalbacher ran her first 1,000-meter run in 4:00. Arnold said the junior high school girls are strong competitors, noting that Gulija is “outstanding” and “the real deal.” He said Kalbacher had run a good time, especially for her age and level of experience.

Benetiez beat her previous time and ran the 600 meters in 2:11, while Deanna Iwanyckwj got her personal best in the event with a time of 2:06. In the frosh 55-meter dash, Grace Conklin placed 30th in 9.33 seconds in heat two, and freshman Ricki Berkoski placed 19th in the 55-meter hurdles with a time of 12 seconds flat.

In the sophomore 55-meter dash, Makayla Syas placed 11th with 8.31 seconds in heat two.

“We’re getting ready for the league championships Sunday,” Arnold said. “My goal is to score more points than last year.” In 2008, the Lady Mariners only earned four points and Arnold said he’s looking to surpass that number.

“I’m feeling very confident we can do that,” he said.

Sunday will mark the season’s end for most of the team, but Arnold said some girls will go on to qualify for the small school championships and the state qualifier. Senior shot putter Carly Stokes could qualify for the state qualifier, Arnold said, predicting that she’ll place second or third in the championships. He said Henderson is “one of the hottest sprinters in the league” because “she came out of nowhere” and predicted that she’ll place third or fourth for the 55-meter dash on Sunday. Arnold said senior Larissa Pauli ought to place third or fourth in the 3,000 meter run and he noted that she’s “one to watch” in distance events this spring.

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