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Jan 9, 2018 10:33 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

East Hampton Girls Winter Track Down To Four Athletes

East Hampton sophomore Lillie Minskoff crosses the finish line in the 300-meter dash. DREW BUDD
Jan 9, 2018 10:43 AM

For the first time in at least 14 years, East Hampton does not have a girls winter track team.

At least one that is recognized by Section XI, the governing body of Suffolk County high school athletics.

With just four athletes coming out for the team this season, the Lady Bonackers don’t have the requisite 10 to be considered an official team. Therefore, the four girls that are competing under the East Hampton moniker are doing so as independent athletes. Yani Cuesta—who was retained as head coach by the school—said the team will not be able to participate at the league or small school championships, but will have the opportunity to compete at the state qualifier, scheduled for February 12. The top 12 competitors in each event compete at the state qualifier.

Cuesta—who said the school has had an indoor track team at least since she started coaching in 2004—could not explain why only four girls came out for the team this season, even with the program still pulling athletes from both Bridgehampton and Pierson, after having no problem fielding a team last season, in both winter and spring track. She said that the boys program does not have the same problem with 15-20 athletes on that team.

Freshmen Ava Engstrom and Isabella Espinoza and sophomores Megan “Mimi” Fowkes and Lillie Minskoff—the lone returning girl from last season—currently make up the four keeping the program somewhat alive at this point. Cuesta said they are enthusiastic and hard working.

“Each day they come to practice and get the workout done,” she said. “Their efficiency and no-nonsense attitude is refreshing.”

Engstrom has been competing in long distance runs, from 1,000 to 3,000 meters. She placed sixth in both the 1,000- and 1,500-meter races on Saturday in a crossover at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood. She set a personal best in the 1,000 in 3:32.51.

Espinoza and Minskoff each compete in the 300-meter dash and long jump and Fowkes has been competing in the 1,500-meter racewalk.

The girls are competing in the Zeitler Relays and Art Mitchell Memorial Meet this week. Afterwards, Cuesta said, she will sit down with the girls and analyze their chances of making the state qualifier with the six meets they were able to compete in.

Information on the boys team was not provided.

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