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Jun 5, 2018 7:13 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Southampton's Sebastian Pereira Wins County Titles In Both Long, Triple Jumps

Southampton senior Gustavo Morastitla DREW BUDD
Jun 5, 2018 7:13 AM

If those in the high school track world didn’t know who Sebastian Pereira is before this past weekend they certainly do now.

The Southampton senior became the Suffolk County Champion in both the long and triple jumps at the Section XI Championships, or state qualifier, at Comsewogue High School on Friday and Saturday. Pereira will be heading to outdoor track states for the fourth time in his career, and he’ll be joined by senior classmate Gustavo Morastitla, who was Small Schools Champion in the 3,200-meter race, finishing seventh overall in 9:47.72.

Pereira, who also qualified for New Balance Outdoor Nationals, won the triple jump with a leap of 48 feet 11 inches, which increases his school record and makes him the top triple jumper in the state. He won the long jump, which he was seeded fourth in, with a leap of 22 feet 9 inches, a mark he recorded on his last jump on Friday; he sat in third place prior to his final jump.

Despite success in the past in his main event, the triple jump, it’s the first time all season that Pereira has been ranked number one.

“I don’t think a lot of people knew about me. I was injured last spring, I didn’t do as well as I wanted to this past winter, so I think it will be surprising to a lot of people to see my name upstate,” he said. “I know that the other kids will come out to compete, they won’t be intimidated.

“I was definitely super happy that I won both events,” Pereira added. “I was just trying to qualify for states, and I wasn’t really jumping well on that day I won the long jump.”

Pereira, who will be attending MIT in the fall where he’ll continue to jump for the track and field team, decided weeks ago, along with Morastitla, to skip the senior prom, which is Friday, so he can attend states. During the winter, Pereira was having a hard time jumping over 46 feet, and he was unsure if he would skip the prom. But after what he called a “breakout” spring, he realized the opportunity to win a state title laid before him.

“Now I know—I’ve been to states four times—becoming a state champion, that’s definitely my main motivation. That possibility of bringing home the title to the school,” he said.

While reaching 50 feet is every athlete’s ultimate goal, Pereira said that he’s not necessarily shooting for a certain mark upstate and is tempering expectations for the moment.

“I am trying to do the best I can, to represent the school as best as I can,” he said. “I definitely want to do better, but after I was injured last year where I didn’t even triple jump, I’m pretty grateful of what has happened so far and whatever happens happens. If it’s meant to be then so be it. I’ve got a week left of high school, two weeks left to my track career. I’m just trying to enjoy the time I have left.”

Ferguson Just Misses Qualifying

Bridget Ferguson was a bit of a surprise to make it to the state qualifier but she was impressive in her debut. The eighth-grader reached 5 feet in the high jump—a personal best by two inches—just missing the qualifying standard to go to states by an inch. She placed 11th overall and second in small schools to Elwood/John Glenn senior Alice Chiodo, who won the county title at 5 feet 5 inches. Other than Chiodo, Ferguson surpassed all of the other small schools jumpers who were seeded ahead of her.

Southampton head coach Eddie Arnold was torn whether or not he should tell Ferguson that she was an inch away from going to states on her last jump. He eventually opted not to tell her.

“You have to visit the experience to understand the experience, and it was huge for her to do as well as she did as an eighth-grader,” he said. “At the beginning of the contest she was very nervous but she calmed herself down. Everything started to go very smoothly and her jump attempts were so clean I didn’t want to disrupt that universe.

“But she did phenomenal and the future looks very bright for her over the next four years,” Arnold added.

Stephanie Schiavoni and Caroline Palumbo both competed in the 100-meter hurdles. Schiavoni, a senior, placed 10th overall in the county in 16.72 seconds, just missing Wendy Gallo’s 1997 school record of 16.4. Palumbo finished 19th in 17.48 seconds.

Schiavoni is one of nine seniors graduating this month along with LeDejah Baker, Luana Bontempo, Keilyn Castillo, Margaret Hattrick, Caitlyn Kreymborg, Grace Lynch, Danielle Minogue and Belle O’Shaughnessy. Schiavoni, Castillo, Kreymborg and Minogue were all hurdlers this season, and while they helped bring back the hurdling program, Arnold thinks the team will be just fine in the event going forward.

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