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Oct 9, 2018 6:35 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

East Hampton Competes in Disney Cross Country Classic

East Hampton's Ryan Fowkes and Juan Lasso of Westhampton Beach head towards the finish line at Red Creek Park on October 2. DREW BUDD
Oct 9, 2018 9:29 AM

For the second straight season, the East Hampton boys and girls cross country teams each sent their top seven runners down to Florida for a mid-season invitational. This time Bonac went to ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee for the Disney Cross Country Classic after competing in the 18th annual Flrunners.com Invitational last year at Holloway Park in Lakeland, Florida.

Sophomore Ava Engstrom took the highest placement among all Bonac runners, finishing the “Jasmin” 5,000-meter race in third place in a personal best 20:17, behind Sarah Flynn and Haley McLean, both of Ursuline School in New Rochelle, respectively. Sophomore Bella Tarbet finished 14th in a personal best 21:43. Emma Hren, a freshman, was the next Lady Bonacker in at 24:49, which placed her 49th overall out of 91 runners.

Ryan Fowkes had a very strong race in the boys “Robin Hood” 5,000-meters. He placed fourth overall in a personal best 16:53. Pedro Bravo of Iona Preparatory School in New Rochelle won the race in 16:07. Junior Frank Bellucci was the next Bonacker in at 19:11, which placed him 18th overall out of 103 runners. East Hampton placed third overall out of 13 teams.

East Hampton head coaches Kevin Barry and Diane O’Donnell both said they were proud of their runners and how they dealt with the steamy temperatures with the heat index reaching 95 degrees on Friday. The trip is funded largely through the Montauk Mile, a summertime race that raised just under $6,000 to send the 14 runners. Barry said it’s a good incentive for the student-athletes to keep up with their running during the offseason, since each team sends their top seven runners and not just their seniors.

As far as how both teams are doing back home within the confines of their league meets, the boys stand at 2-2 with victories over Shoreham/Wading River and Amityville and losses to Mount Sinai and Westhampton Beach. The loss to Mt. Sinai was by one point, Barry said. The Bonackers will be looking for victories over both Miller Place and Sayville. If they can do that they should be able to get themselves back to the Division III Championship race which they won last season, in addition to the county title.

The Lady Bonackers haven’t won a league meet and are reeling a bit after the loss of Liana Paradiso to graduation. Both Engstrom and Tarbet are strong runners, O’Donnell said, but after them there is a bit of a gap between finish times which makes it difficult for the team to win any meets. Hren has been steadily improving, though, she said, and if she can continue to shave her times down, it’s possible the team can make the state qualifier.

Both teams had dual meets on Tuesday and will compete in the Manhattan Invitational at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx this Saturday, October 13.

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