Hurricane Cross Country Ready To Vie for County Titles; O'Toole Likes What He Has on Baymen Roster - 27 East

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Hurricane Cross Country Ready To Vie for County Titles; O'Toole Likes What He Has on Baymen Roster

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Trevor Hayes   REBECCA MCMANUS

Trevor Hayes REBECCA MCMANUS

Oona Murphy will lead the Westhampton Beach girls cross country team this season.   DREW BUDD

Oona Murphy will lead the Westhampton Beach girls cross country team this season. DREW BUDD

Caeden Dorn came on strong at the end of last season, just missing out on a spot to states by one placement.   DREW BUDD

Caeden Dorn came on strong at the end of last season, just missing out on a spot to states by one placement. DREW BUDD

Drew Budd on Sep 13, 2023

The Westhampton Beach boys and girls cross country teams are pumped up for this latest fall season to start, and with good reason. The boys return one of the top runners in Suffolk County, maybe even Long Island and beyond, in Trevor Hayes, while the girls return basically the same team from a year ago with an additional shot in the arm.

Lily Strebel, who has played soccer the past few fall seasons, opted to run cross country this season instead after competing in an offseason race this summer where she did very well. Strebel is no stranger to running, becoming an All-County and state qualifier in both the winter indoor and spring outdoor seasons. She’s never run cross country before, but head coach John Broich said Strebel will figure it out real quick.

“This was a big emotional move for her. It was not easy for her to leave soccer,” he said. “But she’s been running 44 to 55 miles this summer, and she’s in amazing shape. I would say she’s number one runner, but Oona is right there with her.”

Broich was referring to who everyone thought would be the team’s number one runner going into the season, Oona Murphy, who could still very well be the team’s top runner when all is said and done. Either way, Strevel and Murphy create a formidable one-two punch at the line of the ’Canes lineup.

Throw in the fact that seasoned runners such as seniors Gabby Wendel and Sophie DePierro and junior Jamie Kelly are still returning, along with sophomore Caeden Dorn who burst onto the scene last year, and the depth for Westhampton Beach just continues. Broich is also high on an eighth-grader he’s called up, Serafina DiBiaso.

“I gave them a workout in the trails recently and [Serafina] stayed with them the whole time,” Broich said. “Caeden was on varsity last year. I held her back until the end of the season and she wound up being one of the fastest kids on the team. Oona is the team captain and the leader of this team, and then we have a bunch of really solid runners, so it’ll be fun watching this team, but we do need to watch out because we need to develop our five, six and seven runners.”

Well into his third decade of coaching now, Broich has introduced Strava as a new tool to the team. The website and app tracks runners analytics such as pace and stride frequency.

When Joe Mensch decided to take a position on the junior varsity football team coaching staff, that left a vacancy atop the Hurricane boys cross country team. That void was filled quickly by Hannah Martin, a seventh grade English teacher at East Moriches Middle School who certainly has a running background to help lead what is a talented boys team.

Martin, 23, graduated from Patchogue-Medford High School where she ran varsity cross country for multiple years, eventually running for Christopher Newport University. She transferred to James Madison where she received her bachelor’s degree and master’s just this past May.

“It’s actually a really, really great team of older kids with some seniors, but also has talent at basically every grade,” Martin said. “They’re all so knowledgeable and the amount of dedication and heart with most of the kids on this team, you can really tell they love this sport.”

Hayes, a multiple-time state qualifier now heading into his senior season, is the team’s bona fide number one. Marcus Haynia, the younger brother of Max Haynia, one of the most decorated runners in the program, who just graduated, has shown remarkable progress, Martin said, earning a 50-second personal best recently. Patrick O’Reilly, a sophomore, and Tadgh Green, a freshman, are both natural talents, Martin said, and expects strong seasons from the both of them.

Both the boys and girls will compete in a very competitive League V that includes reigning county champion on the boys side Harborfields. East Hampton, Hauppauge, Rocky Point, Amityville and Wyandanch are also in the league. The ’Canes opened the season on Tuesday

Hampton Bays

 

Hampton Bays girls cross country head coach Kevin O’Toole is excited because he has a team full of runners, not just athletes, this season, and the team only lost a pair of runners in Danna Flores and Ashley Reyes to graduation, although Flores was one of the team’s top runners over the past few years.

“And Ashley was a committed senior who led by example every day. They will be missed!” O’Toole said.

But junior Sofia Galvan, who was an All-League runner last season, is returning after O’Toole said she’s had a great summer of training. Emma Halsey, now a senior, had her best cross country season a year ago and is also returning. Halsey is a state qualifier in track and an all-around athlete, and O’Toole is hoping she can harness that ability in cross country. Other returning runners include junior Izzy Ospitale and sophomores Eman Khalid and Sumeja Bytyqi.

The Hampton Bays girls will compete in League VI this season along with Islip, Kings Park, Miller Place, Mount Sinai and Sayville. Last week’s Peconic Invitational, which is a longstanding meet hosted by the Baymen at Red Creek Park, was postponed due to the heat alert on September 7. Hampton Bays opened the dual meet season Tuesday against Miller Place.

Information on the Hampton Bays boys cross country team was not provided.

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