Noelle Hodges brought arguably the best leaping ability in Southampton’s history to the Division III championships on May 19 and 21, but even that couldn’t get her first place.
Despite finishing second in both the triple jump and the long jump, Hodges grabbed both Southampton records and All-Division honors to boot. Her triple jump score was 37 feet 5½ inches, breaking the record formerly held by Ciara Pettaway. In the long jump, she notched a score of 17 feet 11½ inches, breaking Krystal Pettaway’s record.
Her long jump met qualifying standards for states. Those standards allow her to make states if she finishes first or second at state qualifiers at Port Jefferson High School on Friday and Saturday.
“It was probably one of the best long jump competitions I’ve ever seen in my years coaching,” said Southampton girls track head coach Eddie Arnold. “She really held her own, coming from the mentally and physically strong family she comes from.”
A pair of other Southampton jumpers notched personal bests at the championship. Gabriella Gavalas scored 15 feet 10¾ inches in the long jump, and Brook-lyn Walker scored 34 feet 6½ inches in the triple jump. Iwona Rokosz also grabbed a personal best in the 1,500-meter racewalk with a time of 8:41.79.
“It was the best jumping scores in my years of coaching, and Noelle has a very good chance of going to states. These girls are really competitive and feed off each other, but at the same time they’re great friends and very supportive. The success was contagious,” said Arnold.
Other competitors who Arnold said have a good chance to qualify are Erika Gulija in the 400-meter dash and possibly the pentathlon, as well as Hannah Connolly-Sporing in the 800-meter run.
Looking to qualify for states for the 10th consecutive year is the 4×100-meter relay team, which is seeded third. The team consists of Walker, Hodges, Gavalas and Connolly-Sporing. However, Arnold said there are some roadblocks in getting that 10th straight qualification. “It’s a young squad out there, and not one of them has postseason relay experience—we’re sort of rebuilding here,” Arnold said.
The team finished ninth with 22 overall points.
After finishing the League VIII season in third place with a solid 5-2 record, the Mariners looked to break out of that middle-of-the-pack finish in the Division III championships.
Unfortunately, they would have no such luck.
As a team they finished ninth with 21 overall points, thanks in large part to sophomore Jesse Scanlon’s scores in the long and triple jumps as well as his performance in the 110-meter hurdles. He finished second in the triple jump with a leap of 43 feet 7¼ inches, and fourth in the long jump, recording a leap of 20 feet 10 inches. Scanlon already met the state qualifying standard of 44 feet for the triple jump back on May 10 in the Loucks Games.
Senior Brian Knobel and freshman Timmy Alejo also grabbed points for Southampton. Knobel finished fifth in the long jump with score of 20 feet 2½ inches, and Alejo notched a sixth-place finish in the high jump with a score of 5 feet 6 inches.
Other individual performers were Joseph Strassfield in the 400-meter dash, Sebastian Hunter Cuyjet and Spencer Crough in the 800-meter run, Andre Franklin in the 200-meter dash, and Avory Johnson in the discus. The team’s best relay finish was seventh in the 4×800-meter.
The Suffolk County state qualifier is at Port Jefferson High School on Friday and Saturday. Those that qualify will head to New York State Championships at Cicero/North Syracuse High School on June 6 and 7.