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Oct 11, 2017 11:51 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Four-Peat: Southampton Boys Cross Country Defeats Glenn For Fourth Straight League Title

Southampton's Gustavo Morastitla leads the pack early on in last week's race at Red Creek Park. MICHELLE MALONE
Oct 16, 2017 2:31 PM

They’re calling it a four-peat.

The Southampton boys cross country team defeated Elwood/John Glenn, 15-50, at Red Creek Park in Hampton Bays on October 10 to win its fourth straight League VII title. Last season was the first time in program history that a team had won three consecutive league championships, and the Mariners have not lost a league meet in more than four years now.

“We’re not done yet,” Southampton head coach Eddie Arnold said the morning following the big win. “Our sights are set to repeat as [Division IV] champs, but our main goal is to go to the state qualifier, win counties, and then go to states this year to become the [Class B] champion.

“We’ve never done those things before—we were two-time county champs in Class C—but we moved up to the larger class last year and fell short. It’s not going to be easy, but everybody on this team has their piece to the puzzle.”

Southampton swept the first five spots of last week’s race, led by Gustavo Morastitla in 17:34. He was followed by Artemi Gavalas (18:03), Zac Mobius (18:48), Trevon Jenkins (18:58) and Billy Malone (19:12). Michael Arkinson finished eighth.

“It was an outstanding performance,” Arnold said. “I spoke to the guys before the meet and they understood what was at stake. On paper they were the better team, but I wanted them to win the meet with class but also win convincingly, and they got that.

“I think we’ve got a great group of kids who come from great families and have great support,” he added. “It’s an honor to coach them.”

While the top five runners on the team usually get the recognition for their times, Arnold said that it’s been a true team effort to continue the winning tradition for the Mariners. Each one of them, he said, pushes each other in practice and in meets, which in turn makes the team better. He specifically singled out Kevin Nguyen, who may not be the team’s fastest runner, but he continually shows up, finishes races and is constantly setting personal bests.

“We have 19 boys on our team, and from our number one runner down to the last, each person is part of this team,” Arnold said. “Everyone trains as hard as they can. They’re all putting the extra miles on and it really puts this program together. Everyone is invested.”

While the top six spots on the team have been filled out, for the most part, Arnold is going to have to pick from a handful of runners to fill out the seventh and final spot on the postseason roster for the upcoming Division IV Championships (October 24 at Sunken Meadow State Park), the Section XI Championships, also known as the state qualifier (November 3, Sunken Meadow), and possibly the New York State Championships (November 11, Wayne Central High School). Arnold said that the Brown Invitational in Rhode Island this past Saturday could be the final test for those looking to make the top seven.

“I really don’t know who will be our seventh runner,” he said. “Whoever runs well at Brown could pretty much stamp out the seventh spot. And it’s nothing personal, but they’ll have to lay it on the line at Brown.”

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