Sports Briefs 12.01.11

In the Top 10
    Dana Cebulski, who as a freshman starred this fall on East Hampton High’s girls cross-country team, placed ninth Saturday in the regional (Maine to Delaware) Foot Locker championships’ freshman race at Sunken Meadow, in a time of 21 minutes and 30 seconds.
    She had run a 20:20.06 there in the county meet on Nov. 4, which enabled her to finish fifth among the Class B girls and to qualify for the state meet. But Cebulski’s coach, Diane O’Donnell, pointed out to her somewhat disappointed charge that she’d never had a runner finish in a Foot Locker top 10 before. “Next year,” said O’Donnell, “I told her we’d continue to train with the Foot Locker race in mind. I’m sure she’ll be able to qualify for the seeded race next year.”
    In other postseason action involving East Hampton competitors, Marina Preiss placed 12th in the 50 and 100-yard freestyle races in the recent state girls swimming championships.

Grilli Breaks Barrier
    Rodrigo Grilli, the former East Hampton Indoor-Outdoor Tennis Club pro who is being managed by Frank Ackley, broke a significant barrier this past weekend when he played in the doubles final of a $50,000 tournament in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
    “The guys who beat Rodrigo and his partner were Davis Cup players,” said Ackley, who added that “now, with a ranking of 199 in the world, Rodrigo’s in a good position. He’ll be able to get into the Challenger tournaments where the money ranges from $50,000 to $125,000. . . . Our goal now is to break 150.”
    A top-100 ranking in doubles, said Ackley, “would get you into some main tour A.T.P. tournaments, where, if you lose in the first round, you still get $2,000.”
    “Rodrigo’s back in Sao Paulo now. He’ll play in a couple of Futures tournaments in Brazil to see if he can’t pick up some more points. There’s a $125,000 Challenger in Sao Paulo after the new year where he’s got to defend 40 points. In the past two and a half months he’s had a lot of points come off, but he’s defended them and has moved ahead.”
    Ackley, himself, enjoyed a nice regional win recently at the Westbury Tennis Club, defeating the East’s number-two-ranked 60-and-over player, Al Chaskin, 6-1, 6-2. “We don’t have any tournaments out here where I could improve my ranking, and it’s a drag to play up the Island and beyond. It took me three hours to get home after my semifinal match on Saturday. The traffic was unbelievable. Still, it’s fun to go up there and whup these guys who only have to drive 20 minutes to get to the club where the matches are played.”