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Jun 12, 2018 12:21 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Southampton's Sebastian Pereira Wins Four Medals At State Track Meet, Including Gold In Division II Triple Jump

Southampton senior Sebastian Pereira with his four medals that he won at states.  LIA GARNES LIA GARNES
Jun 15, 2018 11:27 AM

Two years ago, Sebastian Pereira was an up-and-coming, All-County caliber sophomore athlete in both soccer and track and field. Then he tore his ACL—and what looked like could be a promising athletic high school career for Pereira could have been a distant memory.

Pereira wouldn’t let that happen.

However, while lying in bed recovering from surgery to repair the ligaments in his knee, there came a point in time in the months after the surgery where the multi-talented teenager, now a senior, briefly wondered if sports was really a path he should follow—perhaps, instead, he should focus on a music career with his viola.

But, thanks to support from his family, friends and coaches, Pereira decided to stick with sports. Although he would drop one of his favorite pastimes, soccer—a decision he said was one of the most difficult he ever had to make—he would continue in track and field, specifically the long and triple jumps.

This past weekend, at the New York State Track and Field Championships at Cicero/North Syracuse High School, Pereira proved all of his decisions—from ending his promising soccer career to deciding to continue jumping, to skipping his senior prom on June 8 so he could qualify for states—were the right ones.

Pereira returned home to Southampton with four medals, including a gold in the Division II triple jump, which he won with a leap of 49 feet 1¾ inches, and a silver in the Division II long jump, for a leap of 22 feet 11½ inches.

On Saturday, the second day of competition, athletes from all schools in the state—public, private, Catholic and New York City—competed once again for the Federation titles. Pereira took home medals from those events too, winning a bronze in the Federation long jump (47 feet 1½ inches) and a fourth-place finish in the Federation triple jump (21 feet 8¼ inches).

On top of winning those medals, Pereira cemented himself in the Southampton history books by improving upon his school record in the triple jump and breaking the school record in the long jump. Both records had been previously held by another state champion, Trumaine Pendleton.

“Everything came together before my last jump,” Pereira explained. “Usually, I take some time before I jump to clear my head, but the journey has been so great for the past year and a half, I just went for it. My knee had been hurting me a lot, too, recently—it takes well over a year to rehab an injury like that—but it felt good this weekend and that was a major hurdle for me to get over, coming into the weekend.

“I’m definitely very grateful for it, and also kind of felt a sense of relief,” he added of his successful weekend. “It’s just good to see all the hard work come together. ... I’m super happy. My family, friends, they really supported me with whatever I did. And Coach Dottin has been with me throughout the whole process. He’s been so supportive and I probably wouldn’t have broke what I did last year if it wasn’t for him. He doesn’t get the credit he deserves sometimes. He truly believed in me before I did anything.”

Tony Dottin has been Pereira’s coach the past four years and said that he is arguably the best jumper to ever have gone through the long and storied track program at Southampton.

“He has to be the most accomplished jumper, thus far,” he said. “There may have been others who had more talent, but his work ethic I believe has surpassed all. Overcoming an ACL injury and attaining state championship status is a lofty accomplishment. [His triple jump record] is reserved for the best high school jumpers, very few can accomplish that. He can compete on the [Division I] level in college. Usually that distance will enable one to get a full scholarship.”

Another strong track career is coming to an end at Southampton. Gustavo Morastitla, the program’s top runner, not only on the track but in cross country as well, finished his final high school race in the 3,200-meter race at states and finished in 9:58.32, which placed him ninth in Division II, 24th overall.

Pereira will now move on to his final high school meet of his career at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, North Carolina, next weekend, June 15-17. He’ll be looking to finish top six in his jumps to make it to the podium and become All-American.

“I want to have fun and go out with a bang, but whatever happens, I’m very satisfied with how everything went this past weekend,” he said.

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