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Oct 9, 2018 7:07 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Pierson Girls Cross Country Runs In Disney Cross Country Classic; Boys Are Performing Well

Pierson's Ben McErlean in the Westhampton Beach Invitational at Red Creek Park on Thursday, October 4.  MICHELLE MALONE MICHELLE MALONE
Oct 9, 2018 11:51 AM

The Pierson girls cross country team headed to Florida on Friday to compete in the Disney Cross Country Classic at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee.

Running in the “Pocahontas” 5,000-meter race, senior Caroline Jungck placed 18th out of 110 runners in 22:48, and the next Lady Whaler in was sophomore Penelope Greene who finished in 23:12, which placed her 24th. Seniors Grace Horan and Carly Browngardt finished in 38:09 and 39:26, respectively. Pierson head coach Jim Kinnier said considering how hot it was during the race, with a heat index near 95, "it was an excellent performance for them," he said.

Kinnier said injuries have ravaged the already small Lady Whalers squad forcing them to forfeit two of their meets so far this season due to not having enough runners to technically form a team. Greene and Jungck still ran in the team’s latest meet against Mattituck on October 2 at Mashashimuet Park in Sag Harbor and took two of the top three placements. Greene finished the three-mile course in 20:33 and remains undefeated against fellow League VIII competitors. Jungck finished in 21:07. Greene ran the 5K course at Sunken Meadow Park in Kings Park back on September 29 for the Suffolk Coaches Invitational and finished in 22:05.71, which, according to Kinnier, was the 14th best time in all of Suffolk County at the time.

The Pierson boys team did not make the trip to Florida with the girls and instead stayed back closer to home to compete in the Westhampton Beach Invitational at Red Creek Park in Hampton Bays on Thursday, October 4. The Whalers placed third overall as a team behind host Westhampton Beach and Southampton. Ben McErlean, a sophomore, finished seventh overall in 19:45, while junior Peter Schaefer placed 14th in 20:30. Sage Witty, a senior, placed 21st in 21:13, followed by junior Julian Cheng (24th, 21:43) and senior Hunter Hansen (29th, 22:16).

The Whalers improved to 2-1 in dual meets when they defeated Mattituck at Mashashimuet Park on October 2. Head coach Joe Amato said Pierson had not defeated Mattituck in quite a few years before last week’s win.

“The athletes are working very hard and are beginning to see the benefits. This was a big win for the program,” Amato said.

McErlean finished second overall in the race in 18:21 followed by Schaefer (18:44), Witty (19:21), Hansen (19:21), freshman Tom Schiavoni (19:42) and Cheng (19:56). Thirteen of the 18 runners in the race set personal bests, Amato said.

Pierson’s other victory this season came against Southold back on September 18 on the 2.6-mile course at Mashashimuet Park. McErlean finished in 15:13, Schaefer came in at 15:25 and Hansen, who was struggling with a sore calf at the time, finished in 16:08.

Southampton

The Southampton boys cross country team cleared another hurdle in its pursuit of its fifth straight league title by defeating Center Moriches, 24-35, on October 2. Billy Malone placed second overall in 18:19, then the Mariners won the four through eight placements to win the meet. Justin Marro (18:55) placed fourth followed by Griffin Schwartz (19:00), Zac Mobius (19:06), Luke Marro (19:26) and Patrick Gabriele (19:26). The girls lost their meet to Center Moriches on the same day, 22-36. Michelle Gagliardo placed second overall in 21:27 and Evie Purcell placed fifth in 24:11.

Both the boys and girls competed at the Westhampton Beach Invitational at Red Creek Park in Hampton Bays on Thursday, October 4. Justin Marro won the freshman 1.5-mile race in 8:31. The Mariners placed second overall behind host Westhampton Beach in the varsity race. Malone placed second in 19:22, then Mobius and Schwartz placed fifth and sixth in 19:35 and 19:38, respectively. Gagliardo finished fourth overall in the girls race in 23:07.

Southampton was supposed to go to the St. Anthony’s Invitational last week but head coach Eddie Arnold opted to stay home instead so his runners could enjoy the homecoming festivities throughout the weekend and so they could rest up for what was a big meet on Tuesday. If the boys defeated Elwood/John Glenn and Babylon they won the league title. If the girls won their meet against the same teams they’ll finish the league season with a .500 record.

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