Even though fewer teams were represented than in previous years, there was still a record turnout for this year’s version of the Peconic Invitational held at Red Creek Park in Hampton Bays, according to race director and Hampton Bays girls cross country coach Dave Oakley. Nearly 500 runners competed in the popular cross country event held last Thursday, September 11, blowing away previous numbers.
Oakley said the increase in runners was due to the number of large schools attending this year’s event.
“It ran smooth,” he said. “Everybody likes the course. The coaches like it because it’s challenging. Some of the runners don’t like the last set of hills on the course, but it’s good training.”
Four separate races were run last week, including two 1.5-mile freshman races for boys and girls, and two 5K varsity races, also for boys and girls. A total of 24 teams—12 each for boys and girls—entered the competition; 141 runners competed in the boys varsity 5K and there were 133 runners entered in the girls varsity 5K.
East Hampton’s Erik Engstrom, who finished third in last year’s race, won the boys varsity 5K in 17:27, which helped lead the Bonackers to the overall victory with 67 points. Southampton (86 points) and Eastport South Manor (100 points) finished second and third, respectively.
Nick Berglin of Hampton Bays placed second in 18:07.41 in the race while ESM’s Dom DeAngelis took third in 18:20.44. Mount Sinai’s Keegan Sabo finished fourth in 18:30.24 and Jack Ryan of Westhampton Beach took fifth in 18:37.42.
As for the girls varsity 5K, Sachem North dominated that race by having three runners finish in the first four spots. Sachem North’s Elise Ramirez defended her title successfully, winning for the second consecutive year. She crossed the finish line in 20:11.94. Her teammate, Mackenzie Coleman, placed second in 20:48.71 while Mattituck’s Melanie Pfenning finished third in 20:54.93. Sachem North’s Gabriella Mott finished fourth in 21:01.65 and Bellport’s Mariah Jno-Charles rounded out the top five, crossing the finish line in 21:12.74.
Overall, the Lady Flaming Arrows totaled 48 points to take top honors while Mattituck finished second with 111 points and Islip took third with 121 points.
The Eastport South Manor boys and girls won their first dual meets of the season last week. The Sharks defeated Sayville, 19-39, at Sunken Meadow Park in Kings Park on September 9, while the Lady Sharks took down Bellport, 24-35, at the same venue and on the same day.
The boys swept the first three spots in their race. Ryan Corbett won the 5K in 17:34, while Brandon Turbush placed second in 17:39 and DeAngelis finished third in 18:01.
In the girls race, Taylor McClay finished second for ESM, finishing the course in 20:13. The Lady Sharks won the race by having runners also take fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh. Ashley Schafer placed fourth in 21:05 while Nicole Navan finished fifth in 22:00. Jordyn Biscup placed sixth in 22:33 and Danielle Venturino crossed the tape in seventh in 22:48.
The ESM girls also competed in the freshmen and junior varsity races at the Jim Smith Invitational at Sunken Meadow on Saturday. The freshmen finished seventh out of 29 teams. Biscup led the group with a 19th-place finish out of 255 runners in 9:48.
The Westhampton Beach boys team lost a close meet, 26-29, to Shoreham/Wading River at Sunken Meadow on September 9. Alex Patricolo placed third in 18:13 while Jack Ryan placed fourth in 18:39.
The Westhampton Beach girls cross country team did not have a dual meet, but it did compete at the Jim Smith Invitational. The sophomore squad placed second out of 29 teams. Jennifer Jordan placed sixth overall in 22:12.74, Kaitlyn Brierton placed 12th in 22:42.04 and Reilly Gwinn finished 38th in 24:46.65.