Southampton Track Standouts Set Sights On Postseason

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With their sights now set on the upcoming postseason meets, members of both the Southampton boys and girls track teams took on some of the best competition the state has to offer at prestigious invitationals last week. Both teams had representation at the Loucks Games at White Plains High School on Saturday, while members of the boys team also competed in the North Shore Invitational at North Shore High School on Saturday as well.

Boys

It’s been a banner season for sophomore Jesse Scanlon, who has shown talent and versatility in a variety of events for the Mariners. At the Loucks Games on Saturday, Scanlon made what was considered a foregone conclusion a reality, meeting the state qualifying standard in the triple jump.

Scanlon finished seventh overall at the highly competitive meet with a leap of 44 feet 4 inches, which was 4 inches past the state qualifying mark. As long as Scanlon can finish first or second among Division II (small schools) competitors at the Suffolk County (state qualifier) meet at Port Jefferson High School on May 30 and 31—which shouldn’t be a problem, as he has been the top-ranked triple jumper in Division II all season long—he will compete for a state title in the triple jump at Cicero North Syracuse High School on June 6 and 7.

Scanlon also achieved a personal-best time of 15.76 seconds in the 110-meter high hurdles.

According to Southampton head coach Tony Dottin, Scanlon will focus on the triple jump and also try to meet the state qualifying standard for the long jump as well. Although he’s strong in the hurdles, Dottin explained that it would be difficult for Scanlon to shuttle himself back and forth between the jumping pit and also be prepared to run in the hurdles, which is why he’ll focus on the jumping events for states. Scanlon is ranked second in the state among Division II triple jumpers, according to Dottin, which gives him a great chance at winning a state title in that event.

Sprinter Joseph Strassfield also had a good outing at the Loucks Games, with what Dottin described as very “impressive” times in both the 100- and 200-meter races. Strassfield finished the 100 in 11.86 and the 200 in 22.33 seconds. Dottin said that Strassfield likely will attempt to qualify for states in the 400-meter race, saying he believes Strassfield has a better shot at qualifying in that race than he does in the 100 or 200. Strassfield has done the 400 in 52 seconds, and the state standard time is 50.34 seconds. If he can win the 400 at the state qualifier, or hit the standard while placing in the top two, he’ll go to states in that race.

The 4×100-meter relay team of Strassfield, Scanlon, James Harding and Brian Knoebel achieved a personal-best time of 46.11 seconds at the Loucks Games, but Dottin described the quartet as a “longshot” to go to states, as Port Jefferson is the team to beat. Knoebel also achieved a personal-best mark of 20 feet in the long jump at the Loucks Games.

Meanwhile, at the North Shore Invitational, eighth-grader Elijah Wingfield reached a distance of 18 feet 4½ inches in the long jump, which ranks him second in the state among eighth-graders, according to Dottin. Freshman Spencer Crough was sixth and sophomore Sebastian Cuyjet-Hunter was seventh in the 800-meter race, with times of 2:01.06 and 2:03.67, respectively, both personal-bests. Crough is ranked second in the state among freshmen in the 800, according to Dottin.

Girls

Hannah Connolly-Sporing had personal-best finishes in both the 400- and 800-meter races at the Loucks Games, with times of 61.01 seconds and 2:24.36, respectively, and she has a good chance at qualifying for states in either or both events. Noelle Hodges placed 13th out of 48 competitors in the triple jump with a leap of 35 feet 7¾ inches, very close to the state qualifying standard of 36 feet. Gabby Gavalas also had a personal-best mark in the triple jump, with a leap of 32 feet 7¼ inches.

The girls were slated to compete in the Division Championships at Connetquot High School on May 19 and 21, while the boys were set to compete at the division meet at Longwood High School on May 20 and 22. Both meets will start at 3 p.m.

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