Neither Dana Cebulski nor Erik Engstrom, East Hampton High’s chief candidates to go to the state meet in cross-country, made it, though, according to their coaches, not for lack of trying.
Diane O’Donnell, Cebulski’s coach, said her charge, who made the state meet the past two years, as a freshman and as a sophomore, “missed it this year by one spot. She ran a good race, she ran really hard . . . she had been fairly confident she’d make it, but some other runners [two Shoreham-Wading River eighth graders in particular] came out of the woodwork.”
Cebulski ran the “somewhat long” 5K course at Sunken Meadow in 20 minutes and 55 seconds, a personal record on that course, finishing 10th over all.
East Hampton’s impressive eighth grader, Liana Paradiso, “got sick during the race and had to drop out,” said O’Donnell.
Kevin Barry, the boys coach, said his top runner, Engstrom, a sophomore, “missed making it by two places . . . just by a few seconds. He was 10th over all [in 17:46] and seventh among the Class B runners. Everyone in front of him were seniors. It was pretty much a junior-senior race.”
Engstrom, said Barry, made second-team all-county, as did Jack Link, East Hampton’s third runner that day, at 18:15. Thomas Brierley was East Hampton’s second runner, at 18:13. “It was the best race of Thomas’s high school career,” said the coach, who added that “Sean Moucha [19:01] really did well, taking a full minute off his previous best time.”
Adam Cebulski, Dana’s older brother, was East Hampton’s fourth runner, at 18:27. “He and Jack stayed with the Shoreham guys for the first two miles, but they paid at Cardiac Hill.”
“Shoreham [the top-ranked Class B team in the state] won of course. We were fourth, behind Harborfields, the League V champs, and Bayport-Blue Point [the state’s 10th-ranked team] was second.”
“It was a great year, and it should be another great one next year,” said Barry. “Next year, it will probably be between us, Bayport, and Miller Place. Shoreham is losing four of its top five guys.”
Barry said it was the first time he could remember that East Hampton had two boys and two girls make all-county cross-country teams. Dana Cebulski made the second team, and Paradiso made the third.