The East Hampton boys cross country team will have the opportunity to run at the New York State Championships, thanks to its overall success at the Division Championships, which were October 23 at Sunken Meadow Park in Kings Park.
The Bonackers finished sixth overall in the Division III Championships with 272 points. Ward Melville won the division championship with 36 points. The top six teams in each classification move on to the State Qualifier Meet, which is Friday at Sunken Meadow Park at 1 p.m.
Another way to qualify is for a team’s top five runners to run below the qualifying standard, which for Class B was 19:30. East Hampton’s top five finished in a average time of 18:49.
Junior Adam Cebulski was the top finisher for East Hampton, finishing 23rd overall out of 250 runners, in 18:08. Erik Engstrom finished 26th overall, in 18:10, and junior Jack Link, who is typically the Bonackers’ seventh finisher, actually finished third among East Hampton runners. He placed 59th overall with a personal-best time of 18:55.
In order to reach the state meet as a team, East Hampton will need to win Class B at the State Qualifier on Friday. An individual runner can reach the state meet if he can finish among the five places after the first-place team’s top seven.
Sophomore Lady Bonacker Dana Cebulski won the Division III Championships, finishing in 20:23. Her time, when merged with the other runners in Suffolk County, placed her ninth, earning her All-County status.
As a team, East Hampton finished second overall out of 27 Division III schools, with 153 points. Half Hollow Hills won the meet with 102 points.
East Hampton head coach Diane O’Donnell said it was her team’s best finish in quite some time thanks to four runners breaking the 23-minute mark. Because they placed in the top six of their classification, and ran with an average time under the qualifying standard of 24 minutes, the Lady Bonackers will be running in the State Qualifier Meet on Friday back at Sunken Meadow, at 1 p.m.
After Cebulski, senior Jenny DiSunno placed 10th overall, in 22:39.4, and Jackie Messemer placed just after her, in 22:39.6. Freshman Devon Brown placed 13th overall, in 22:46, and junior Emma Newburger placed 22nd, in 23:29. DiSunno joined the team late this season following an injury, and O’Donnell thinks she has quickly raised the bar for other girls on the team.
“Everyone had a really good race,” she said. “Jenny came in to pace the girls, and she’s definitely helped. She’s right in at that two spot and ... making a big difference.”
East Hampton will have a hard time winning the Class B title at the State Qualifier on Friday, going against teams such as Miller Place, Eastport South Manor and Shoreham/Wading River—but it will need a strong showing to qualify for the state meet. Individuals can reach states if they finish within five places of the winning team’s top seven, and O’Donnell thinks Cebulski has a great chance to do that. She made the state meet last season as a freshman.
“I’m optimistic and pretty confident that she can get to states,” she said. “Dana has been improving every race, and she’s right on target. She’s improved her time 20, 30 seconds every time she’s raced, so I don’t think that’s going to change when the big race is on the line. She’s pretty focused and wants to return to the state meet, so she’ll do whatever it takes to get there.”