The Southampton boys track team is off to a modest start in terms of its record, moving to 1-2 in League VII match-ups after a lopsided loss to undefeated Bayport/Blue Point (4-0) at home on April 16. But head coach Tony Dottin has reason to feel positive about the program’s future, thanks to some standout performances by young members of the team.
Sophomore Joseph Strassfield had a great week as he continued to establish himself as one of the top sprinters in the county. Against Bayport, he won both the 100- and 200-meter races, with times of 11.24 seconds and 23 seconds, respectively. He also placed seventh overall in the open 100-meter race, with a time of 11.50 seconds, at the Suffolk Coaches Invitational at Commack High School on Saturday.
Eighth-grader Andre Franklin has shown promise in the shorter distance events as well. He was third in the meet with Bayport in the 100, in 11.67 seconds, and also was one of three medal-winners for Southampton at Saturday’s meet, where medals went to the top six finishers in each event. Franklin was fourth in the freshman/sophomore 20-meter race, in 24.13, and that time ranks him top among all eighth-graders in the state in that event, according to Dottin.
Strassfield’s and Franklin’s times in the meet with Bayport were their personal bests in those events for the year. Dottin said the times were “wind-aided,” because they had the wind at their backs that day.
While Bayport dominated in the majority of events in the dual meet, Southampton did have a few other notable performances. Junior Keaton Laub was second in the 400-meter race, in 53.85 seconds, and freshman Jesse Scanlon was second in both the triple jump (38 feet 7 inches) and long jump (18 feet 1 inch). Chucky Cause was second in the high jump, clearing 5 feet, and the Mariners 4x100- meter relay team was first, in 48.52, which was a season’s-best time. That team included Franklin, Laub, Scanlon and Strassfield.
At Saturday’s meet, eighth-grader Spencer Crough was second in the freshman/sophomore 800-meter race, in 2:07.35, and Dottin said he has the best time in that event in the state among eighth-graders.
Scanlon had his season’s-best effort in the triple jump with a leap of 40 feet 3 inches, earning a medal for a fifth-place finish. Laub had season’s-best times in both the 400 (52.92 seconds) and the 200 (23.54).
Freshman Sebastian Cuyjet-Hunter finished 12th in the freshman/sophomore 800, in 2:13.56, a season’s-best time as well.
“It’s a young team, and we really have good kids, but it’s just going to take a while for the team to get back to championship form,” Dottin said.
First Loss For Girls
The Lady Mariners (2-1) were handed their first loss last week, falling, 100-50, on the road to undefeated powerhouse Bayport/Blue Point.
Southampton has one of its best teams in years, but head coach Eddie Arnold explained that Bayport, a larger school, simply has too much depth.
“They have close to 100 girls on the team,” Arnold said. “They ran seven heats in the 400-meter race. They’re like a machine.”
Arnold explained that he chose not to put several of his top athletes in the maximum allowable four events per individual, because he didn’t want to overwork them. He said if he had, the final score would have likely been closer, but it still wouldn’t have been enough to give his team the win.
Highlight performances on the day were turned in by Isabella Franz, who won the 800-meter race, in 2:23, and anchored the winning 4x400-meter relay team, which finished in a time of 4:15. That team included Meggie Gallo, Carley Guida and Emily Wesnofske as well. Arnold said he was happy with that win, explaining that Bayport is typically strong in that event, and he also added that he believes his 4x400 team has a chance to qualify for states.
Erika Gulija had personal-best finishes in both the 100- and 400-meter hurdles, taking second in the 100, in 17.7 seconds, and third in the 400, in 73.9 seconds. Wesnofske was second in the 200-meter race, in 27.3 seconds. She nearly had the race won but tripped right before she reached the finish line. Jessa Laspesa was third in that race, in 27.9 seconds, and Sydney Katz had a personal-best time of 29.4 seconds.
Hannah Connolly-Sporing was third in the 400-meter race, in 64.3 seconds, and Guida had a strong finish, in 65.6 seconds. Michele Abatangelo was third in the 1,500-meter race with a personal-best time of 5:23, while her sister, LuMei Abantangelo, was third in the 3,000-meter race, in 12:30. Brooklyn Walker was fourth in the 100-meter dash, in 14.1 seconds, a personal best.
Southampton also competed at the Joe Brandi Relays at Connetquot High School on Saturday. The 4x400-meter relay team of Connolly-Sporing, Guida, Franz and Gulija finished tied for fifth with a time of 4:17.20, while the 4x100 team of Walker, Gallo, Laspesa and Paris Hodges was ninth, in 53.1 seconds.
The distance medley relay team of Michele Abantangelo (who ran the 1,200-meter portion), Connolly-Sporing (400 meters), Franz (800) and LuMei Abatangelo (1,600) finished 10th, in 14:16. Gulija and Laspesa teamed up in the triple jump relay and also finished 10th, with a combined distance of 64 feet. The top 10 finishers in each event earned medals.
Southampton was schedule to take on the other undefeated team in League VII, Shoreham/Wading River, at home on Monday. Results from that meet will be in this week’s Monday Roundup article.
ON THE SCHEDULE: Boys--Wednesday, 4/24, at Shoreham/Wading River, 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 4/27, at Westhampton Beach Invitational, 9 a.m. Girls--Thursday, 5/25, at Penn Relays (University of Pennsylvania), 11 a.m.; Saturday, 4/27, at Westhampton Beach Invitational, 1 p.m.