The Westhampton Beach boys and girls cross country teams each advanced to the Section XI, or Suffolk County, Cross Country Championships, otherwise known as the state qualifier, after they finished under the qualifying times at the Division III Championships at Sunken Meadow State Park in Kings Park on Thursday, October 26.
The Hurricanes placed fifth in a highly competitive Division III, but since their overall team average of 19:08 was well under the qualifying time of 19:30, they were able to move on.
Ermel Bautista, a sophomore, placed sixth in the division, in 18:03. Eighth-grader Gavin Ehlers placed 13th, in 18:45, and sophomore Kieran Ryan placed 19th, in 18:59.
The Canes will be battling with a handful of teams for the Class B title this Friday at counties, which are back at Sunken Meadow. East Hampton, which won Division III, Shoreham/Wading River, Mount Sinai and Southampton all have a shot at claiming the county title. The five fastest individuals after the winning team will advance to the New York State Cross Country Championships, which are November 11 at Wayne Central High School, just outside of Rochester.
The Lady Hurricanes will also be at the state qualifier, finishing with a team average of 23:01, which placed them second in Division III. Freshman Jackie Amato led the way for Westhampton Beach, finishing in 22:16, which placed her sixth. Freshman Ashley Steedman placed 11th, in 22:38, freshman Abigail Gobler placed 14th, in 22:47, and sophomore Coleen Jordan finished 19th, in 23:22.
Westhampton Beach head coach John Broich said the team didn’t run well at last year’s state qualifier so he’s looking for a better performance this time.
“Our goal is to run a better time, and we’ll see what happens,” he said. “We finished the season with some close meets. We’ve been running better, and we’ve had two good practices.”