In preparation for the upcoming state qualifier meet, the Southampton boys and girls track teams competed in the Division III meets last week, with the girls taking their turn at Connetquot High School on May 20 and 22, while the boys participated there on May 21 and 23.
As a team, the Lady Mariners finished eighth out of 17 squads, and several individuals had strong showings.
Erika Gulija was third overall in the pentathlon with 2,428 points, the highest point total she has ever achieved in that event. She won the high jump (4 feet 7¾ inches) and the long jump (14 feet 8 inches), was third in the 800-meter race (2:37.15), was fourth in the 110-meter hurdles (17.62 seconds), and was seventh in the shot put (23 feet 2 inches).
Sophomore Meggie Gallo finished fourth overall in the 100-meter dash, in a personal-best 13.03 seconds, and more importantly met the state tournament time in that event. She also was part of two relay squads for Southampton. She ran on the 4×100-meter relay team—joined by Jessa Laspesa, Paris Hodges, and Brooklyn Walker—which was second to rival Bayport/Blue Point, finishing in 52.29 seconds. Bayport was first, in 51.82 seconds. Gallo also was on the 4×400 team that was third, in 4:06.43, joined by Laspesa, Hannah Connolly-Sporing and Isabella Franz. That 4×400 team broke its own school record by more than two seconds.
Franz finished fourth in her signature event, the 800-meter race, in 2:19.03; Carley Guida was eighth in the 400-meter race (62.71 seconds), followed by Connolly-Sporing (63.55); Hodges was seventh in the high jump (4 feet 8 inches); Laspesa was fifth in the triple jump (34 feet 9¼ inches); and Michele Abatangelo was 14th in the 1,500-meter race (5:20.74).
Southampton sprinter Joseph Strassfield, who spent a good chunk of the second half of the season sidelined with an injury, returned for the division meet and did well, making it to the finals in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes. He was fourth in both, with times of 11.45 seconds and 23.91 seconds, respectively. Jesse Scanlon finished ninth in the 110-meter hurdles, in 16.55 seconds, and was eighth in the triple jump with a mark of 40 feet 8 inches. Brian Knoebel was ninth in the long jump with a mark of 19 feet 8½ inches.
Keaton Laub just missed out on making the finals in the 400-meter race, finishing seventh in 52.88 seconds.
Southampton’s young distance runners did well against tough competition. Eighth-grader Spencer Crough was 14th in the 800-meter race (2:06.59), followed by teammates Kevin McCabe (15th, in 2:07.04) and Sebastian Cuyjet-Hunter (2:10.08). Crough was 13th in the unseeded 1,600-meter run, which includes runners from all three divisions, in 4:52.50, and Alejandro Rojas was 13th in the Division III 1,600, in 5:00.30.
The 4×800-meter relay team of Laub, Kevin McCabe, Crough and Cuyjet-Hunter was fourth, in 8:48.29.
Members of both the boys and girls teams will compete in the state qualifier at Port Jefferson High School on Friday and Saturday at 3 p.m.