Cross country teams kicked off their seasons this week, with many local teams participating in the Peconic Invitational at Red Creek Park in Hampton Bays on Thursday.
The meet typically draws only East End teams, but it was expanded this year to include several bigger schools from farther up-island, increasing the level of competition.
East End squads and individual runners still fared well, however—most notably the East Hampton boys team. The Bonackers finished second as a team among 16 schools in the 5K (3.1-mile) varsity race, and had three runners finish in the top 11 in a race that included 175 runners.
Sophomore Erik Engstrom led the way, taking third overall, in 17:54, followed by Jack Link, who was seventh, in 18:09, and Adam Cebulski, who was 11th, in 18:38.
Before competing in the invitational, the Bonackers earned their first League VI dual meet win, beating Sayville, 17-43 (low score wins), on the 2.8-mile course at Sunken Meadow. East Hampton took six of the top seven spots in that race, with Link winning the race in 16:29, followed by Engstrom (16:32) and Cebulski (17:51).
For the girls squad, Dana Cebulski was the top finisher in the 5K race at Red Creek, taking second overall, in 21:16. Jackie Messemer was 14th, in 22:59. In the freshman 1.5-mile race, Liana Paradiso was second overall in 9:57. East Hampton finished ninth out of 16 teams. They were scheduled to start the League VI season on September 17 against Miller Place at Sunken Meadow.
Both the Southampton boys and girls cross country teams also got off to good starts, with each team winning its first League VII dual meet and also doing well at the Peconic Invitational.
At the invitational, Mariner freshman Charlie Bedard finished fourth in the freshman 1.5-mile race, in 8:59, while teammate Ryan McCabe was sixth, in 9:09. In the varsity 5K race, Sebastian Hunter-Cuyjet was the top finisher for Southampton, taking 33rd, in 19:46.
Before the invitational, Southampton beat Center Moriches, 15-50, in a dual meet at Sunken Meadow. The Mariners took the top six spots, with Hunter-Cuyjet winning the 2.8-mile race, in 18:17, followed by Timmy Squires, Spencer Crough, Charlie Bedard, Kyle Vella and Johan Morales.
On the same day, at the same location, the Lady Mariners lost, 26-31, to Center Moriches. Freshman Lumei Abatangelo led the team, taking third, in 21:30, followed by Hannah Connolly-Sporing in fourth, and Erika Gulija in fifth. Gulija led the girls at the invitational, taking 17th, in 23:33.
The Whalers did not compete in the invitational, but both the boys and girls teams opened their seasons at Mashashimuet Park on September 10 against Stony Brook. The boys lost, 25-34, while the girls lost, 27-28.
In the girls race, Stony Brook took first, second, sixth, eighth and 10th. Pierson took third (Elena Skerys), fourth (Hannah Jungck), fifth (Maya Buckner), seventh (Arlena Burns), and ninth (Paola Zeas).