Learning on the fly isn’t the most ideal situation to be in but it didn’t seem to bother the East Hampton/Pierson/Bridgehampton girls indoor track team last week.
The day prior to the Zeitler Relays, which were Thursday, January 10, at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood, East Hampton head coach Yani Cuesta finalized which teams and groups would be competing, then taught her athletes the handoffs and necessary techniques needed to run a relay properly. The final results came out well considering the short prep time.
“Since we have a small team we have not run or even practiced relays,” Cuesta said.
Megan “Mimi” Fowkes and JiJi Kramer won the 1,500-meter racewalk at Zeitler with a combined time of 16:40.26. Kramer finished in 8:19.44 while Fowkes finished in 8:20.82, both personal bests. Competition for the Zeitler is divided by league. With East Hampton and Westhampton Beach each in League IV, Cuesta knew the competition was going to be tough with one of the top walkers in the county, Natalie Ehlers of Westhampton Beach, competing in the race. Westhampton Beach finished in a combined 18:19.45. Cuesta added that she was also happy for the win of Fowkes and Kramer because it was the first time in quite a while that an East Hampton pair was able to place.
“In the past they each have competed in this race unable to place because they haven’t had another teammate to race walk with them,” Cuesta explained.
Penelope Greene, Lillie Minskoff, Marisol Chamale and Ava Engstrom placed second in the sprint medley relay, which consists of 400-, 200-, 200- and 800-meter legs, in that order. They crossed the finish line in 4:46.33 behind Miller Place, which finished in 4:30.78, the quickest between Leagues III-V.
Greene and Engstrom are typically mid- to long distance runners for the Lady Bonackers but both competed in the race to help the team.
“We don’t have enough girls that can go up in distance to help our distance runners, but they were more than willing to come down and run faster,” Cuesta said. “It was cute that at the end of the meet when the girls were getting their medals that Penelope said, ‘I never thought I would get a medal that said ‘sprint’ on it,’” she added. “This goes to show how the team will work together to help each other out.”
Other notable performances at the competition were Minskoff and Chamale in the long jump. Chamale leaped 13 feet 5½ inches, and Minskoff leaped 12 feet 4 inches for a combined 25 feet 9½ inches, which placed them sixth. Greene and Engstrom also ran the 4x400-meter relay with Bella Espinoza and Anna Carman. They finished seventh in 4:48.15.
Prior to the Zeitler Relays, East Hampton competed in the Art Mitchell Invitational at Suffolk-Brentwood on January 6. Grace Brosnan won the freshman 55-meter high hurdles in 10.25 seconds. She also placed third in the freshman high jump, reaching 4 feet 6 inches.
Engstrom placed second in the sophomore 1,500-meter race in a personal best 5:12.90. Fowkes placed second in the open 1,500-meter racewalk in 8:20.25, while Kramer placed fourth in 8:37.79. Minskoff placed fifth in the open 300-meter dash in 46.03 seconds. Cuesta said it was a good, strong meet for her team considering it was coming off of the long holiday break.
The Lady Bonackers will be at the Jim Howard Meet this Thursday night at Suffolk-Brentwood from 5 to 9 p.m., its final tuneup before the postseason. The League Championships are this Sunday at Suffolk-Brentwood.
The East Hampton/Pierson/Bridgehampton boys indoor track team competed at the Stanner Games at the Armory Track and Field Center in New York City on Saturday. Ryan Fowkes was accepted in the invitational mile and finished fifth overall in a personal best 4:32.85. Shelter Island’s Kal Lewis won the race in 4:23.27. Matthew Maya competed in the 55-meter high hurdles and finished in 8.75 seconds, which placed him 39th overall. He also ran in the 300-meter dash in a personal best 37.85 seconds, which placed him 10th. It’s close to the school record of 37.34 seconds, East Hampton head coach Ben Turnbull noted.
The boys will compete at the League Championships this Saturday at Suffolk-Brentwood and will be at the Ocean Breeze High School Invitational on Staten Island the following weekend.