Several Bonac track and field athletes concluded the season at the Suffolk County Section XI state qualifier meet at Comsewogue High School on Friday and Saturday.
The boys team was led by senior Ryan Fowkes. In his last competition in a Bonac uniform, Fowkes finished third in the 1,600-meter race in 4:23.31, which was not quite fast enough to reach the state meet qualifying time of 4:17.14. Runners must either finish in the top two or meet that time to make it to states. Fowkes’s time was slightly slower than his season’s best time of 4:18.44, and he was out-kicked by the top two finishers, Michael Danzi of Smithtown West and Sean Ryan of Northport, in the final 200 meters. Danzi won in 4:19.03, while Ryan was second in 4:19.04.
On the bright side, Fowkes still earned All-County status and will also head to Greensboro, North Carolina, to compete in Nationals in the 2,000-meter steeplechase on June 15. He is currently ranked 11th in the country in that event.
Also representing the boys team was Matthew Maya and Frank Belluci, who both competed in the pentathlon, where athletes earn points by competing in the 110-meter high hurdles, the high jump, shot put, long jump and 800-meter race. Maya, a senior, was eighth out of 18 competitors with 2,883 points, while Belluci, a junior, was 16th with a season’s best with 2,362 points.
Overall, head coach Ben Turnbull said he was happy with the effort of the entire team throughout the course of the season, and is looking forward to next year.
“The season was successful and I had a great time watching all the student athletes grow and improve,” he said. “Next year we are going to be young, and the core of the team will be sophomores and seniors. Although we are going to lose Ryan and Matt, I really like the future of the team and look forward to next season.
“On a personal note, I have worked with Matt for three years, and Ryan for three years at the varsity level and two at the middle school level,” he added. “I owe both of them a great amount of gratitude for helping me coach and for their time and dedication to the sport, school and me.”
Four Lady Bonackers represented the girls team at the meet, and had a strong finish to the season. Three of the competitors are sophomores, and one is a freshman, meaning the future is bright for the team.
Sophomore Bella Espinoza had her best effort of the season in the pole vault, clearing 9 feet 6 inches to take seventh overall. In the 2,000-meter steeplechase, sophomore Ava Engstrom broke her own school record with a time of 7:43.75, which placed her seventh overall. Classmate Bella Tarbet was 15th in 8:05.34.
Freshman Hanna Medler was 14th in the pentathlon, with her best effort in the event since she did it for the first time at East Hampton’s East End Invitational on May 10 and 11. She hit her personal-best marks in the 100-meter hurdles, the high jump, shot put, and 800-meter race, and scored 1,803 points to take 14th overall.
Head coach Yanina Cuesta was happy with the season and is looking forward to next year.
“All the coaches and I are very happy with each of the girls’ performances this season,” she said. “We had several athletes who found their strengths and were willing to work extra hard to get themselves as far as they could go. That is the attitude and work ethic we are looking for on our team.”