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Oct 2, 2018 6:05 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Southampton Boys Cross Country Edges Bayport/Blue Point To Keep League Title Hopes Intact

Charlie Nichols, Luke Marro and Reece Nugent running at the Bob Pratt Invitational at Sunken Meadow this past weekend. MICHELLE MALONE
Oct 2, 2018 6:05 AM

Southampton boys and girls cross country head coach Eddie Arnold always tells each and every one of his runners how important they are to the team. Whether they’re the top runner on the team, or at the back end of the pack, he always tries to make sure they know that their times count.

In a key double dual meet against Bayport/Blue Point and Hampton Bays at Red Creek Park on September 18, those back-of-the-pack runners came up big, leading the Mariners to a victory over both teams, including a tight 27-28 victory over Bayport, keeping their chances of repeating as league champions for the fifth year in a row intact. Both the Mariners and Phantoms alternated wins through the first four placements of the race, with Billy Malone (18:55) and Zac Mobius (19:23) placing second and fourth. But it was Griffin Schwartz (20:01) and then Justin Marro (20:15) and Luke Marro (20:20) who won the meet for Southampton since their placements were better than the following Bayport runners. It marked the first time in Arnold’s 16-year career of coaching the team that Southampton has beat Bayport.

“Any time we go against Bayport, in any sport, we know it’s going to be tough because they’re a big powerhouse school, they have such a strong sports community, and I give all the respect to them for the way they’ve built their sports programs. And I was concerned with Bayport just because they’re always coached so well, but our boys ran very well,” he said. “When you’re trading spots like that in a race it’s usually the back of the pack that decides the race. We ended up stepping up, and like I tell all the kids, ‘you’re all important.’”

Southampton won the sophomore race at the Suffolk Coaches Invitational at Sunken Meadow Park in Kings Park on Saturday. Even though Malone, Mobius and Justin Marro are freshmen, Arnold had them step up to the sophomore race to help the team, and it worked out. Malone took the highest placement of all the Mariners, fifth overall, in 18:46.94, followed by Mobius in 19:21.21 (12th), a personal best, and Marro in 19:34.41 (14th). Schwartz, a sophomore, placed 18th in a personal best 19:44.38, followed by Luke Marro in 20:27.22 (27th), Patrick Gabriele in 21:32.26 (45th) and Charlie Nichols in a personal best 22:05.62 (52nd). The Mariners accrued 51 points, 13 points ahead of Commack and 34 ahead of Manhasset.

A week prior to the Suffolk Coaches invite, the freshmen group of Malone (7:51.87), Justin Marro (8:01.16), Harrison Gavalas (8:35.28), Saintino Arnold (8:40.60) and eighth-grader Dylan Koszalka (10:14.71) placed third overall in the freshman 1.5-mile race with 124 points, behind Smithtown and West Babylon, respectively. Malone and Marro placed third and fourth, respectively. It was the second week in a row that the group had placed third in an invitational.

As for the Lady Mariners, Arnold said they continue to improve meet by meet and have a win in hand over Hampton Bays, their rivals who they haven’t been able to beat the past couple of years. Michelle Gagliardo set a personal best at the Suffolk Coaches Invite on Saturday, finishing the varsity ‘B’ race in 22:45.47. A number of girls had personal bests a week earlier at the Bob Pratt Invitational. That included Evie Purcell (25:32.03), captain Riplee Mercer (25:48.57), and Serena May (31:59.71). Laine Yastrzemski had a personal best (10:18.65) in the freshman 1.5-mile race.

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