Owen Laub proved to be a powerful force for Southampton at the Division III track championships at Connetquot High School on Tuesday and Thursday.
The junior sprinter beat all of his opposition in the 400-meter dash preliminary race with a time of 50.51 seconds and he went on to beat that time, and his personal record, and win the final in 49.55 seconds on Thursday. Laub’s seed time was 50.10 and his winning run earned the Mariners 10 points. He also placed second in the 200-meter dash in 22.96 seconds and earned another eight points for Southampton in the finals, but Laub was seeded at 23.34 and he ran his best time of 22.90 during the preliminary heat.
Head coach Tony Dottin said he knew Laub had the potential to run well, but it was a pleasant surprise to see him break 50 seconds in the 400. “That is a magic barrier,” he said, explaining that Laub broke through to 49 seconds for the first time and he did it in a convincing fashion. The athlete is now ranked first in the 400-meter dash among all juniors, in all classes, in Suffolk County.
Another steadfast athlete on the Mariners roster, junior Nick Collazos placed third in the 800-meter run in 1:58.35 and added six points for Southampton, while junior James Cowell placed 12th in the event in 2:12.65. Collazos finished seventh in the mile run and fell just one spot short of earning points in 4:35.55.
“Nick Collazos ran a terrific race,” Dottin said, though he noted that the runner lost his concentration in the 800. “I’m very happy with Nick,” he said.
Southampton’s 4×100-meter relay team, which includes Laub, sophomore Adrian Simioni and juniors Onajja Browning and Jordan Seymore, won its heat of the preliminaries and beat its seed time in 45.44 seconds before placing second in the final and earning another eight points with a time of 45.56. Seymore, Laub, Collazos and Simioni added eight more points, broke their team record and finished second in the 4×400-meter relay in 3:27.07. Cowell, junior Raul Meza, Gerardo Meza and Eugene Jacobs earned one point in the 4×800-meter relay and finished sixth in 9:12.42
Seymore placed second in the triple jump and earned eight points with a 42-foot-9-inch jump. He also finished fifth in the long jump and earned two points with a distance of 20 feet 5 inches. Simioni beat his best time in the 400-meter dash in 53.22 during the preliminary races on Monday.
Southampton finished fourth among 17 schools at the Division III meet with 51 total points. The team also finished fourth in League VII with a 6-3 record.
Dottin said he submitted the 4×1 and 4×4 relay teams and Laub, Collazos, Cowell, Seymore and Simioni in individual events for the state qualifier this week.
The Lady Mariners were 10th among 18 schools with 16 points at the Division III meet and the team’s stars continue to shine.
Sophomore Bianca Pessoa performed even beyond head coach Eddie Arnold’s high expectations and finished second in the 1,500-meter racewalk with her new best time of 7:38.75. Pessoa earned eight points and beat her previous best time of 7:52.60 by a significant margin. “She blew her time away,” Arnold said after the race. “She makes me proud,” he added. “She’s going to nationals.”
Pessoa was only beaten by Shoreham/Wading River junior Danielle Opatovsky and she finished well ahead of the third place finisher, Rachel Sigismondi, a senior at Sayville. Pessoa is the top seed among small schools for the state qualifier and she is ranked 15th in New York.
The Lady Mariners’ 4×100-meter relay team, including junior Shannyn Weeks, junior Makayla Syas and seniors Amanda Acquino and Jeanette Henderson, placed second behind John Glenn in 51.10 seconds and it earned eight points for Southampton. Junior Deanna Iwanyckyj, sophomore McKenna O’Shea, senior Katie Laffey and eighth-grader Erika Gulija placed seventh in the 4×800-meter relay and logged a personal best time in 10:46.89. Both the 4×1 and 4×8 relay teams should be advancing to the state qualifying meet, Arnold said before the seeding meeting on Monday.
Laffey placed sixth in the 800-meter run with a personal best time of 2:35.73. Sophomore Gabriele Escallier placed third in her preliminary heat of the 400-meter hurdles and logged a new personal record in 77.73 seconds. Freshman Andrea Crippen placed seventh in the shot put and set a new personal record with a distance of 29 feet 3½ inches and she was one position shy of earning a point for Southampton. Syas placed third in her heat of the 100-meter dash preliminary race and had a personal best time in 13.01 seconds.
Along with Pessoa and the relay teams, Arnold said Gulija could qualify for the county meet in the 3,000-meter run and the steeple chase, and Escallier should qualify in the 100-meter dash.
“They’ve all been stepping up,” he said, explaining that now “It’s showtime.”