At Last, Says Harrier Coach

Meghan Dombkowski (with head bowed) was feted following her successful penalty stroke in the first half of Friday’s field hockey game here with Greenport-Southold. Jack Graves

    At last, Diane O’Donnell thinks she’s got a girls cross-country team able to make some noise, a team headed by a hard-working senior, Ashley West, and a fleet freshman, Dana Cebulski.
    But it takes more than two to score in cross-country. You need a pack of goers as well, and O’Donnell thinks she has that in Jen DiSunno, Kerry Kaestner, Emma Newburger, and Brittany Rivkind, who all ran 25-something in the Peconic Invitational meet at Southampton’s Red Creek Park last Thursday.
    West won the race, in exciting fashion, dueling with Center Moriches’s Ryleigh Donegan throughout the final half mile of the 5K course.
    Donegan, who made the state meet last year, and West, who trained hard this summer, alternated the lead several times until, with about 200 meters remaining, West “blew her away. Everybody was yelling and screaming. Ashley ran an excellent race, an excellent strategic race. Last year, she probably would have ended up second, but she pushed the other girl over the edge.”
    West’s time of 21 minutes and 22 seconds was a record for the reconfigured course, which had a hill added near the end of it.
    There was other good news that day inasmuch as Cebulski, a ninth grader, won the freshman race, topping a field of about 30 competitors. Cebulski covered the 1.5-mile course in 9:30. O’Donnell said that she had done 21:27 in a three-mile scrimmage two days before with Pierson. “The nearest one to her was about a minute behind,” said East Hampton’s coach, who added that Jackie Messemer placed fourth, in 11:21.
    Turning to other East Hampton sports, on Monday the field hockey team, which had suffered a disappointing 2-1 loss Friday at the hands of Greenport-Southold despite having outshot the Porters 13-6, rebounded to defeat William Floyd 1-0 here. Nicole Miksinski got the goal midway through the first half. Meghan Dombkowski, arguably the team’s best player, scored Friday’s goal, the result of a penalty shot awarded in the first half when the visitors’ besieged goalie sat on the ball.
    Becky Schwartz’s charges were to have played Shoreham-Wading River at home Tuesday. Shoreham was listed in Tuesday’s Newsday as the fourth best sports team on Long Island.
    Also on Monday, the girls tennis team won, besting the Ross School 5-2. Ross is rebuilding, having lost last year’s top five, including its number-one player (and county singles champion) Nadia Smergut, who now lives in New York City.
    In contrast, East Hampton, which has a new coach in Michelle Kennedy, has a balanced lineup, headed by an eighth grader, Abby Okin, who, though 12, is playing in 14-and-under United States Tennis Association East region tournaments.
    Bonac’s doubles pairings are Ricki Slater, a junior, and Carrie Sullivan, a senior, at number one; Caitlin Walsh and Sydney Sanicola, both juniors, at two, and Gillian Neubert, a sophomore, and Bryce Slater, an eighth grader, at three.
    The win improved East Hampton to 2-2, though it could improve to 4-2 Saturday, should the final set of the second doubles match that was suspended last week at Mercy, and a subsequent homecoming match with the Riverhead Catholic school go its way.
    Though the boys soccer team grabbed the headlines this week for having won the Bridgehampton National Bank East End Cup tournament, the girls team, coached by Mike Vitulli, looks as if it will be competitive as well. The girls shut out Pierson 2-0 in a nonleaguer here Saturday as Tiffany Gutierrez and Raffi Franey scored goals in the first half. Kathryn Hess, East Hampton’s athletic goalkeeper, made sure nothing got by her. It was her second shutout of the young season.
    “I’ve got the most depth ever,” Vitulli said afterward. He was looking forward to playing three games this week, the first, on Tuesday, at Westhampton, which had outscored Pierson 4-0 in a recent scrimmage.