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Oct 8, 2019 12:57 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

East Hampton Cross Country Hosts Invitational; Hurricanes Win St. Anthony's Invite; Mariners Continue To Win

The girls start the East Hampton Homecoming Invitational under gray skies on Thursday, October 3. MICHAEL HELLER
Oct 9, 2019 4:17 PM

The East Hampton boys and girls cross country teams hosted their inaugural Homecoming Invitational on the grounds of East Hampton High School on Thursday, October 3.Having been forced to host a meet at the high school for the very first time due to glamping at Cedar Point County Park earlier in the season, the Bonackers found out that their property could just as well host a meet, and thus the Homecoming Invitational was created. It was a small meet, with East Hampton hosting just Shelter Island and Southampton.

The Lady Bonackers swept the top four placements, with Ava Engstrom finishing the 2.5-mile course in 16:12. She was followed by Dylan Cashin (16:24), Ryleigh O’Donnell (16:50), and Emma Hren (17:45). Summer Klarman (20:36) and Megan “Mimi” Fowkes (22:18) were the next scorers for East Hampton.

East Hampton head coach Diane O’Donnell liked the improvement she saw from the first time her team ran at the school a few weeks ago.

“The good news with those times is that everyone improved a lot over the their first outing on the course. Ava improved 10 seconds, Dylan improved over a minute, Ryleigh improved over a minute, Emma improved over a minute, Summer improved by about four minutes. So it was a good race experience for them in that in the two weeks they had gotten appreciably faster and stronger.

“They’re starting to get a little race tougher now,” O’Donnell added. “It’s hard in the beginning of the season until they get their first legs under them and get confident.”

Shelter Island’s Kal Lewis won the boys race, followed by East Hampton’s Evan Masi and Southampton’s Artemi Gavalas. Southampton won as a team with a meet-low 26 points. Additional information on the boys race was not provided.

The boys and girls teams each traveled to Goddard State Park in East Greenwhich, Rhode Island, for the Ocean State Invitational on September 28. Competing in the DI varsity 5K races, the girls placed 16th out of 44 teams, led by Engstrom’s 19th-place finish in 20:27. Cashin finished 46th overall in 22:33, followed by Hren in 22:55 and Klarman in 27:56.

The boys also finished 16th out of 38 teams and were led by Evan Masi, who finished in seventh place in 16:49. Amari Gordon was Bonac’s next finisher in 18:21, which placed him 75th out of 270 runners.

Greene, McErlean Leading Whalers

Penelope Greene and Ben McErlean keep getting faster.

While Monday’s cross-country race at Mashashimuet Park against the Ross School was a runaway for Pierson’s top two runners, Greene and McErlean have been making names for themselves at much bigger races. They easily distanced themselves from the pack on Monday, with McErlean finishing first in the boys race in 15:45 over a makeshift 2.65-mile course at the park.

Greene, a junior who set a new school record recently on two separate occasions at Sunken Meadow State Park, won Monday’s girls race in 16:57, as both Pierson teams cruised to victory over Ross.

Back on September 30, Greene broke Hannah Jungck’s 2014 record at Sunken Meadow by three seconds with a time of 21:06. A few days later on October 4, at the St. Anthony’s Invitational, she shattered that record with a new mark of 20:23, shaving a remarkable 43 seconds off her previous best time.

“I felt strong for the whole race,” Greene said after running through her home park on Monday. “I wanted to break 21 minutes, that was my mindset. It was amazing.”

McErlean, who has led a large pack of Pierson boys runners to a 3-1 league record this season, also broke his own school record at Sunken Meadow last week with a time of 17:31 in the St. Anthony’s race.

“The whole point of the offseason, February all the way to September, was to get a really good base,” McErlean said on Monday. “Now it’s time to build strength and speed to get ready for the championship season.”

The boys team, including McErlean, will compete on Saturday at Van Cortland State Park in the Bronx in the Manhattan College Invitational, which is the largest cross-country invitational in the country with more than 1,500 runners expected to compete.

All The Mariners Do Is Win

Fresh off their victory at the East Hampton Invitational, the Southampton boys cross country team picked up a big 23-35 victory over Elwood/John Glenn on Monday at Red Creek Park, paving the way for their sixth straight undefeated league title. They run against Bayport/Blue Point this Tuesday, October 15, at Sunken Meadow State Park in Kings Park, and a win over the Phantoms would clinch it.

The Mariners got a shot in the arm a few weeks ago when senior Artemi Gavalas decided to rejoin the team after taking the past two years to focus on his main sport of basketball in the offseason. His first meet was at Suffolk Coaches on September 28 where he ran an 18:30, and he helped Southampton to victory by winning the race against Glenn in 18:45. The Mariners swept third through seventh placements to win the meet.

“It had to be on his terms,” Southampton head coach Eddie Arnold said of Gavalas’s return. “He wanted to do it, it was his decision, and the guys are very happy to have him back. He provides good senior leadership and the kids love him and they missed him. He adds a great deal of experience and adds more depth to our team. He’s our front runner which makes it easier for the pack.”

The Southampton girls cross country team came into the season with one of its goals to defeat rival Hampton Bays and it did just that on Monday at Red Creek, picking up their first victory of the season, 17-45. The Lady Mariners were led by eighth-grader Georgiana Gavalas, who won the meet in 26:35. Dreanne Joseph followed at 26:34, with Evie Purcell (26:44) and Arianna Pike (28:21) coming in after her.

Canes Win St. Anthony’s

The Westhampton Beach boys cross country team proved it can run with some of the top teams in the state by winning the St. Anthony’s Invitational at Sunken Meadow on Friday. The Hurricanes dominated the race, placing four of its six runners in the top 10 to finish with 38 points, more than double the score of second-place Arlington and 48 points ahead of host St. Anthony’s, which placed third. Both Arlington and St. Anthony’s are ranked in the top 20 of Class A in the state, according to Westhampton Beach head coach Jack Ryan, whose team competes in Class B.

Sophomore Gavin Ehlers placed second overall out of 140 runners in the varsity 5K race in 16:45, finishing less than a second behind Arlington senior Dan Caso. Ehler’s teammate, senior Ermel Bautista, placed third in 17:14 and fellow senior Kieran Ryan placed sixth in 17:31 and freshman Max Haynia placed 10th in 17:36. Senior Sean Jordan finished 19th in 18:12 and David Alvarado finished 44th in 19:17.

The Westhampton Beach girls cross country team picked up a pair of victories on Monday at Red Creek Park in Hampton Bays, defeating both East Hampton and Sayville. The Lady Canes improved to 4-1 with their only loss coming to Mount Sinai earlier in the season.

Top runners for Westhampton Beach included Jackie Amato, Ashley Steedman, Grace Hayes, Sydnie Mason and Kiera Falvey. Scores and times were not provided.

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