With snowflakes falling around them last Thursday, Southampton girls track and field team members accomplished something they have never done before in the 11-year tenure of head coach Eddie Arnold: They took down Mount Sinai in a dual meet.
The Lady Mariners not only beat the typically strong team and much larger school, but did so in dominating fashion, winning 83.5-35.5 to get what is expected to be a great League VII season off to a solid start.
Because the snow began falling hard and fast as the meet went on, both coaches agreed to cancel several events, including the pole vault, all three relays and the long jump. But of the 13 events that were contested, Southampton won 11 of them.
Arnold said he was very proud of his squad’s effort, not only because it beat a team it hadn’t defeated in more than a decade, but because his girls were undaunted by the poor weather conditions.
“The team came together in the worst conditions possible, and did their job,” he said.
Arnold said entering this season that this was the strongest team, top to bottom, he’s ever coached. He knew that beating some of the bigger and more powerful programs like Mount Sinai was a possibility this year, but said he didn’t necessarily expect to enjoy such a wide margin of victory.
“I knew we won against them [during the winter track season], but I didn’t think we’d beat them by that much,” he said. “It was great having the girls step up in these weather conditions, because honestly, the weather could be this way for awhile. It was like a winter wonderland out there. The girls were joking around about singing Christmas carols.”
There were strong performances and a slew of wins for the Lady Mariners, so Arnold said it was impossible to highlight a single athlete or event. He did say he was impressed with his young high jumpers though. Freshman Brooklyn Walker won the high jump, clearing 4 feet 2 inches, while freshman Annie Connolly-Sporing and sophomore Angel Greinke tied for third by clearing 3 feet 10 inches.
“It was their first time doing the event, so I was very happy with the way they stepped up,” Arnold said.
Patti Sanchez had a personal best time in the 1,500-meter race, finishing in 6:45, which beat her previous best time by almost 30 seconds. Lady Mariners Carley Guida, Isabella Franz and Michelle Abatangelo swept the top three spots in that race.
It was the first time in competition on the track for Guida, a senior, since her sophomore year. She missed all of her junior track season with an injury and just came off a Suffolk County and Long Island Championship season with the Southampton basketball team this winter.
Paris Hodges, one of the top players on that basketball squad who joined the track team this year, won the 100-meter dash in 14.1 seconds. Emily Wesnofske, one of the best athletes on the team who excels in sprints, showed her versatility by winning both the discus and shot put, and she won the 200-meter race as well.
Meggie Gallo, another talented sprinter, won the triple jump with a leap of 30 feet 6 inches. LuMei Abatangelo and Shelby Pierson finished one-two in the 3,000-meter race, while Franz and Hannah Connolly-Sporing were one-two in the 800.
Southampton swept the 400-meter race, with Hannah Connolly-Sporing taking first, followed by Jessa Laspesa and Miranda Moloney. Erika Gulija won the 400-meter hurdles in 82 seconds, and was second in the 100-meter hurdles in 18.6 seconds. Kayla Cobb was third in the same race, finishing in 21.9 seconds.
Boys Fall To Mustangs
The Southampton boys track lost its first League VII meet, falling 75-36 at home to Mount Sinai last Thursday. Individual results were not available.
ON THE SCHEDULE: Girls—Wednesday, 3/27, invitational at Port Jefferson, 2 p.m.; Wednesday, 4/3, vs. Center Moriches, 4:30 p.m. Boys—Wednesday, 4/3, at Center Moriches, 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 4/13, invitational at Uniondale High School, 8:30 a.m.