Lady Mariners place in League V championships

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The Southampton girls winter track team finished the League V championships with 11.5 points on Sunday, well ahead of the team’s tally last year.

“They had a great season,” head coach Eddie Arnold said, noting that everybody worked hard and he “had fun” coaching the team this year. The girls had numerous placements and personal best times throughout the day’s 15 events.

Seventh-grader Erika Gulija placed sixth with a personal best time of 5:31.36 in the girls 1,500 meter run and junior Katie Laffey and senior Samantha Wellen both achieved personal best times in the same event. Laffey placed 11th with a time of 5:45.86 and Wellen ran the race in 5:54.60, placing 13th.

“They had a great season,” Arnold said of the girls.

Junior Amanda Aquino got her personal best time of 8.15 seconds in first heat of the girls 55-meter dash semifinals, placing 11th, while sophomore Jeanette Henderson placed eighth with a time of 8.09 seconds in the second heat. Shannyn Weeks, a sophomore, placed 15th with a time of 8.18 seconds in the first heat of the same event.

Senior Larissa Pauli placed seventh with a time of 12:29.39 in the girls 3,000 meter run, and senior Charlotte LaGuardia and seventh-grader Jade Kalbacher placed 21st and 22nd in the 1,000 meter run. LaGuardia ran it in 4:07.14 and Kalbacher was just behind her with a time of 4:09.98.

Freshman Ricki Berkoski placed 16th in the 55-meter hurdles semifinals with a time of 11.93 seconds, and sophomore Adriana Benetiez ran her personal best with a time of 2:03 in the 600-meter run, which would have put her in 16th place, but she was disqualified for wearing a metal barrette in her hair.

Sophomore Deanna Iwanyckyj ran the 300-meter dash in 51.29 seconds, placing 20th.

Carly Stokes, a senior shot putter, placed fourth in the league with a 29-foot 8-inch throw, earning four points for the Lady Mariners. Henderson placed sixth in the triple jump and earned her team half a point with 29-10 3/4.

Sophomore Makayla Syas was disqualified from the triple jump for wearing jewelry, but she, Weeks, Aquino and Henderson got a personal best together in the 4×200 meter relay. The 4×200 team “medaled,” finishing fourth with 1:59.79 in heat one, earning Southampton another four points.

The 4×800 meter relay team, including Wellen, Laffey, Pauli and Gulija earned a fifth-place medal with a personal best time of 11:19.33, earning another two points for the Lady Mariners. The 4×400 meter relay team placed ninth with a time of 5:10.67 in the first heat, which was not enough to earn a medal or points.

Arnold said the championships went about as he’d predicted, as his team scored more points than last year. Overall, the Lady Mariners’ 11.5 points placed them ninth among the 11 teams competing.

The coach noted that he’ll find out who qualifies for Saturday’s small school championships on Wednesday. “I expect to have some girls in there,” he said. “I’d say at least a handful would qualify.” The coach would not predict which girls might make the cut.

“I had a great season with these girls,” he said. “Everybody worked hard.”

Arnold noted that the spring track season should be great, adding, “I think they have a very good chance this year.” He said he hopes to bring as many girls to the states as possible.

The Lady Mariners’ first outing for spring will be a dual meet in East Hampton in March, and Arnold said “I’m predicting a great showing on both sides.” He said the two teams have not had a chance to compete against each other, but the Lady Bonackers were moved into Southampton’s league this year.

“It’s a rivalry that’s been around for years,” Arnold said, explaining his excitement for the upcoming face-off.

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