Freshmen Help Lead ESM Cross Country Teams

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Taylor McClay is a freshman but she’s running like an upperclassman this season for the Eastport South Manor girls cross country team.

McClay placed second in ESM’s 27-29 dual-meet victory over Harborfields on September 17 at Sunken Meadow State Park in Kings Park, then she won the freshman race at the Queensbury Adirondack Invitational at Queensbury High School, the site of the New York State Cross Country Championships in early November, on Saturday.

McClay finished last week’s dual meet in 19:04 and teammate Alex DeCicco finished third in 19:28. Danielle Venturino and Jackie Wasilko placed fourth and fifth, respectively, for the Lady Sharks, which wound up being the difference in the victory. Venturino finished in 21:01 while Wasilko finished in 21:06. It was the first dual meet of the season for ESM.

At the invitational on Saturday, McClay blew past the competition, finishing in 10:31, 11 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. There were 237 runners in the race. Fellow freshman Nicole Navan finished 39th overall in 12:15.

In the varsity race, DeCicco finished 14th overall out of 178 runners in 19:55.

The ESM boys cross country team has a freshman runner of its own who is bursting onto the scene in Ryan Corbett. In a 22-38 dual-meet victory over Huntington at Sunken Meadow on September 17, Corbett finished third in 17:02. Senior teammate Tom Meehan won the race in 16:02.

Then, at the Suffern Invitational at Bear Mountain on Saturday, Corbett won the freshman 1.8-mile race in 9:57. There were 157 runners in the race.

Meehan beat out 144 other runners to win the varsity 5K race in 15:49. ESM head coach Mike Doyle said Meehan was coasting the entire race and was still able to win by 13 seconds. Brandon Turbush finished the varsity race in 17:18.

Doyle is excited about his top runners this season in Meehan and Corbett.

“Tom has been a good mentor and a role model to Ryan,” he said. “But Ryan is extremely dedicated and disciplined. He works hard to be as good as he can and he’s not afraid of competition. He goes after it. It’s nice to have a senior and a freshman doing so well.”

As for the team’s 2-0 start in dual meet action, Doyle said it could get a little harder for his team going forward.

“[League V] is very tough this year,” he said. “We’re 2-0 so far but the harder part of the schedule is coming up and we’ll have our work cut out for us. We’ll compete, but our four and five guys will have to step it up, and I know they will. But it could make for some very close dual meets the rest of the way.”

Hampton Bays

The Hampton Bays boys cross country team won its first dual meet of the season, 18-45, over Center Moriches on September 17 at Indian Island County Park in Riverhead. The meet was originally scheduled to be at Sunken Meadow, but Superstorm Sandy had created a lot of hazardous conditions on the course, so both Hampton Bays and Center Moriches coaches agreed to run at Indian Island.

Nick Berglin won the race for the Baymen in 17:26 with twin brother Christian coming in second at 18:26. Hampton Bays won the four through eight spots in the race. Jack Hilton and Angel Bamberger came in fourth and fifth respectively for the Baymen.

Hampton Bays also competed at the Jim Smith Invitational on Saturday, which was at Sunken Meadow. The freshman trio of John Ferguson, Chris Downs and Dan Ruiz finished 11th out of 32 teams. Ferguson finished in 10:43.

The Baymen also did well in the junior race, finishing seventh out of 32 teams. Nick Berglin finished seventh overall in 18:04 while Christian Berglin finished 32nd overall in 19:18.

The Hampton Bays girls cross country team lost, 18-45, to Center Moriches in their first dual meet of the season on September 17 at Sunken Meadow. Cameron Heaney placed third in 22:55. The next Lady Bayman in was Taylor Dunn at 25:42, good enough for ninth place.

The Lady Baymen then brought a freshman team only to the Jim Smith Invitational on Saturday. Christina Pasca finished 49th overall out of 181 runners in 12:39. Stacey Lattimore finished 101st in 14:07.

Westhampton Beach

Both Westhampton Beach boys and girls cross country teams suffered dual meet losses last week. The boys lost, 22-34, to East Hampton at Sunken Meadow on September 17, while the girls lost 20-36 to Islip.

Grace Gilbakian placed third overall in the loss to Islip in 21:10. Jenny Jordan placed sixth in 21:50. Gilbakian finished 23rd overall out of 159 runners in the sophomore race of the Jim Smith Invitational on Saturday. Jordan finished 12th overall in the freshman race in 11:33.

Results from the boys dual meet against East Hampton were not provided. Alex Patricolo placed 22nd overall out of 188 runners in the junior race in 18:59. Roger Llivasaca finished 42nd in 19:47. Graham Brown finished the senior race in 23rd place in 18:34.

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