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Oct 11, 2018 12:46 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Southampton, Westhampton Beach Boys Cross Country Teams Continue Their Dominance Over League Foes

The Mariners were the League VII champs once again, claiming their fifth straight title. MICHELLE MALONE
Oct 16, 2018 7:14 AM

The East End is a hotbed for runners, with numerous trails and, at least in some months throughout the year, quiet roads. The region’s varsity cross country teams reflect that, in particular, the East Hampton, Southampton and Westhampton Beach boys cross country teams.

Southampton and Westhampton Beach continued their dominance over league foes this season, both winning their respective league titles with victories in tri-meets on October 9. Southampton defeated Elwood/John Glenn, 16-41, and Babylon, 15-50, for its 24th and 25th consecutive victories and its fifth consecutive League VII title. Westhampton Beach defeated Sayville, 17-40, and Miller Place, 22-32, at Sunken Meadow Park in Kings Park to finish its second straight undefeated season, this year in League VI after defeating all of its opponents in League V last season. Dating back to 2016, the Hurricanes have won 15 straight meets.

Southampton head coach Eddie Arnold said all season long that winning the league title was the first goal for his team, but with a number of underclassmen leading the team—abou a dozen sophomores and a handful of freshmen—nothing was guaranteed. The addition of Bayport/Blue Point to League VII posed another threat to the Mariners, but a 27-28 victory over the Phantoms on September 18 cleared the first of three hurdles. They went ahead and defeated another strong team in Center Moriches and then finally Glenn this week.

“Ecstatic would be the word to describe my feelings,” Arnold said, “because the boys, they wanted it and they got it. It was a good feeling for the kids to be successful and we’ve all been a family since this all started in 2014.”

Arnold gave a shout out to the team’s top eight from five years ago that started the run of consecutive league titles won. That included Charlie Bedard, Ricardo Chino, Spencer Crough, Sebastian Cuyjet-Hunter, Nick Mangini, Ryan McCabe, Michael Minogue, Gustavo Morastitla and Kyle Vella.

This year’s Mariner team has been led by freshman Billy Malone, who won last week’s 5K race at Red Creek in 19:14. Junior Griffin Schwartz and sophomore Zac Mobius directly followed Malone in at 19:29 and 19:35, respectively, to sweep the first three placements and automatically win the meet.

Many coaches throughout the county say that Westhampton Beach is the team to beat in Class B this season and the Hurricanes have been backing those claims so far. Senior Juan Lasso won last week’s 2.8-mile race at Sunken Meadow in 15:22 and three of his teammates followed right behind him in junior Kieran Ryan (15:24), freshman Gavin Ehlers (15:25) and senior Ermel Bautista (15:27). Sean Jordan, a junior, finished in 16:09, and eighth-grader Max Haynia rounded out the scorers for the Canes, crossing the finish line in 16:20.

While Westhampton Beach is the frontrunner for the county title, defending Class B county champion East Hampton, Kings Park, Mount Sinai and Sayville, along with Southampton, will all be gunning to upset the Canes at the Division Championships on October 23 at Sunken Meadow. Arnold said anything can happen when all of the teams are racing against one another, which was evident in last year’s race, when the finish was too close to call and took a good 10 minutes before race officials declared East Hampton the champion, followed by Miller Place and Southampton, which tied for second.

“It’s going to be a fight for the county title,” Arnold said. “That’s our ultimate goal. We haven’t won the county since 2015 and that was as a Class C school. Class B is a lot tougher than where we were but we’re up for the challenge. I think we’re a wild card this year. Westhampton, on paper, has the five fastest guys in the county in Class B. They are the favorites this year. But anything can happen in cross country. [Divisions] is a bigger race and you have to do it on race day.”

Lady Mariners Break Even

The Southampton girls cross country team finished their dual-meet season 3-3 with victories over both Babylon and Glenn last week. Michelle Gagliardo won the meet while Evie Purcell’s sprint down the final stretch earned second place. Riplee Mercer, Serena May, Ariana Pike and Laine Yastrzemski all helped in leading the Lady Mariners to a 26-29 win over Babylon and a 22-33 win over Glenn.

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