For the first time since 2006, there will be multiple athletes representing the Westhampton Beach girls indoor track team upstate this winter.
Junior Lauren Lorefice and sophomore Keira Kelly both qualified for the New York State Championships, slated for Saturday, March 1, at Cornell University, following impressive performances at the Section XI Championships held at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood on Saturday.
Their upcoming trip upstate will be the first for both Lorefice and Kelly, as neither had previously qualified for states in either cross country or track.
“Both girls have a legitimate shot at placing, and they won’t be satisfied with just going there, to tell you the truth,” Westhampton Beach head coach John Broich said. “Lauren has matured so much as an athlete, and Keira had struggled to put it together, but recently she’s done very well with her workouts, and seems to be a little more focused.
“It’s nice to see two girls go up,” he added. “The team is certainly on an upswing, and the attitudes are infectious. The expectations among themselves are higher because of what some of the girls have been able to do. When Lauren steps on the track, the other girls on the team pay attention and they step up their games a little because of her. That makes my job a lot easier. And the parents have been very positive and supportive, which is nice.”
Lorefice was seeded fourth in the 300-meter dash and Broich said she needed to break 41.9 seconds to win the event. She finished the finals in a personal best 41.5 seconds, but placed second. Sophomore D’Jai Baker of North Babylon won the race in 41.2 seconds.
Kelly was seeded 10th in the high jump coming into Saturday’s meet, but she wound up taking second with a personal best height of 5 feet 4 inches, finishing just one inch behind East Islip junior Faith Penny. Broich said Kelly’s placement was a bit of a surprise being that she had only been high jumping the past 10 days due to a broken elbow she suffered earlier this season.
The 4×400-meter relay team entered Saturday’s meet undefeated but running without Lorefice, since she had to run twice in the 300-meter dash, and that proved to be a slight detriment. The team of freshmen Kaitlyn Brierton and Jenny Jordan, and sophomores Grace Gilbakian and Nora Murphy, placed second in 4:13.68, nearly two seconds behind the winning Half Hollow Hills East team.
Senior Sabrina Mason placed eighth in the 1,500-meter race walk in 7:21.11. Mason reached All-County two weeks ago by winning the Small Schools title.
Westhampton Beach is not totally done yet with the winter season. There will be a handful of girls competing at the Long Island Elite Meet at St. Anthony’s High School next Friday, February 21, and at the 80th annual Eastern States Championships at the New Balance Track and Field Center at the Armory in New York City on Monday, February 24.
Graham Brown, a senior, was the only Hurricane to represent the team at the boys Section XI Championships at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood on Saturday. He was leading the 1,000-meter race the first four laps, but eventually relinquished the lead in the final lap and placed seventh in 2:43.83.
“He ran out of his shoes, but the competition at the meet this year was tough,” Westhampton Beach head coach Jim Ford said. He also noted that he entered Brown in the Long Island Elite Meet at St. Anthony’s and the Eastern States Championships at the Armory.
For the second consecutive winter, ESM senior Tom Meehan has qualified for the New York State Championships, this time after placing second in the 1,600-meter race at the Section XI Championships at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood on Saturday.
It will be the first time Meehan will be competing upstate in the 1,600. He ran the 1,000-meter race last year. The New York State Championships are scheduled for Saturday, March 1, at Cornell University.
Meehan finished the 1,600 in 4:24.54 and was able to hold off Islip senior Mike Watts, who finished in 4:25.37. According to ESM head coach Brian Methven, Meehan kicked things into gear with 200 meters remaining in the race. Port Jefferson junior James Burke won the event in 4:20.43.
Sophomore Luke Lafferty placed eighth in the long jump with a leap of 20 feet 11 ¾ inches. Methven said it was a good showing for the young Lafferty, who was the only sophomore among the final jumpers and able to finish a spot higher than he was seeded.
“He did really well,” Methven said. “The spring looks great for him. He still sits at number two in the state for sophomores. Every meet his jumps seem to get better and better. He’ll be one of the better jumpers in the spring and, hopefully, top five in the entire county by next winter.”
The 4×400-meter relay team was seeded to finish last, but took 11th place out of 12 teams, crossing the finish line in 3:46.05. The team was without Luke Lafferty since he was busy in the long jump. Sophomore Jeremy Saudi stepped into his spot, and ran with seniors Matt Lafferty and Pat Kenneally, and sophomore Aleks Cusumano.
With three weeks until states, Methven says he does not plan on bringing anyone to the Long Island Elite Meet or the Eastern States Championships. Meehan had been sick two weeks ago and has been battling a minor knee problem throughout the season, so rest may be the best thing for him, Methven explained.
The Lady Sharks were not able to qualify anyone for the state meet at Saturday’s Section XI Championships at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood even though a few athletes had good performances.
ESM freshman Taylor McClay took fourth place in the 1,500-meter race, finishing in a new school record of 4:53.70. McClay set the school record earlier this season at 4:54. The 4×200-meter relay team of Brittney Gross, Kelly Gomez, Kaeli Huff and Lisa Marone, which was seeded last, placed ninth in a new school record of 1:55.47. The previous record of 1:56.06 was set earlier this season by Gross, Gomez, Huff and Keara Brown.
Ashley Schafer finished ninth in the 3,000-meter race in 11:16.80. She was the only girl from a small school in the race, according to ESM head coach James Lever.