Youth Is Served At Miss Amelia’s

Coach Kevin Barry predicted who would win
Jack Link, who was to be the winner, listened carefully as Sharon McCobb, the Old Montauk Athletic Club’s president, talked about the course. Jack Graves

   The Miss Amelia’s Cottage 2-mile road race Sunday attracted 36 entrants, about a quarter of them members of Diana Fitzpatrick’s family.
    And the times they were good. Before the race began on Old Stone Highway near the Amagansett railroad station Kevin Barry, who helped Sharon McCobb oversee it, predicted that Jack Link, one of his cross-country runners at East Hampton High School, would win.
    Indeed he was right. Link, a senior who saw limited action last season because of an injury, and who has been logging about 40 miles a week this summer, crossed the hastily drawn line behind Miss Amelia’s Cottage in 10 minutes and 38 seconds.
    As the lead runners, Link, the two-time defending champion Justin Kul­chinsky, Eric Perez, a Bonac sophomore, Ashley West, the Landmark Conference’s runner of the year, and Fitzpatrick were heading down Windmill Lane, Barry scuffed a line in the sand on his way to retrieve an orange traffic cone from behind the nearby barn so that they would know when it was all right to stop.
    As aforesaid, Link won, Kulchinsky was second, in 10:40, Perez was third, in 11:42, West — the women’s winner — was fourth, in 11:57, and Fitzpatrick, who’s 55 and lives in San Francisco, was fifth, in 12:12.
    West, who’s returning to Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania for her sophomore year this week, was pleased that she had broken 12 minutes, which she said had been her goal. The race — in its 43rd year, according to Barry — had served as a good warm-up for her, she said, given the fact that Susquehanna’s women’s cross-country team is to run a 2-mile time trial next week.
    West couldn’t hang around very long — she was off to work at the Gubbins Running Ahead Nike store in East Hampton Village. “I don’t even have time to take a shower,” she said in parting.
    Link, whom Barry thinks will push his team’s lead runners, Erik Engstrom and Adam Cebulski, this fall, said he’d probably run another eight miles before the day was over.
    “Well, no three-peat for me, though it was my best time by 18 seconds,” said Kulchinsky, who’s training for the Mighty Hamptons Triathlon in Sag Harbor in September. The last time he did it, he said, “was in 1996.”
    Another triathlete, David Powers, who ran with his 10-year-old daughter, Alden, said he’ll do a half-Ironman in New Hampshire soon, adding that he too would do Mighty Hamptons, “and one of the triathlons in Montauk at the end of September.”
    Alden, he said, “had a very nice race, though she was complaining that I was talking too much.”
    Fitzpatrick, whose husband, Tim, did not make the trip east given the fact that he’s coaching a running camp at Marin Catholic High School this week, cheered on family and friends who followed her over the finish line, among them her 18-year-old son, Chris, her 20-year-old daughter, Katie, her niece, Anna Otis, her sister, Karen Nelson, and Haley Fields, Katie’s roommate at Bates College.
    Fitzpatrick, who runs ultra distances nowadays — as does her husband — cut her running teeth at Miss Amelia’s more than 25 years ago.
    It was “the first race ever” for Ellen Nalaboff, a Pilates instructor and owner of a fitness studio in Plainview who proudly displayed a first-place age-group ribbon.
    “She beat me,” said her husband, Steve, who is a marathoner. “I had her until the last 50 meters.”
    Asked about the high school team’s prospects this fall, Barry was frankly optimistic. “I’ve got some athletes this year, as I did when, with the Ahearn twins, Joe Sullivan, and Chris Reich, we went to the states a decade ago. Our last league title was in 2003.”
    Also, for the first time in a long while, the boys and girls teams will have some home meets at Cedar Point Park, where a “fan friendly” 2.8-mile course has been set up.
    “The other teams don’t know yet that they’ll have to come out here, but they will soon,” said the veteran coach, adding that “the boys will have three home meets and the girls will have two.”
    “We’re going to be without T.J. Paradiso — he broke his ankle skateboarding after finishing second in the national lifeguard tournament’s beach run this past week. He was our fifth runner, but we still should be fine. All of our guys have been putting in the miles this summer. We meet every Monday evening with John Conner’s group at the high school track.”
    “Our first meet will be at Sunken Meadow with Sayville the day after school opens,” Barry continued, “though we’ll be ready. Shoreham-Wading River has moved up to our league. They’ve only lost one meet in this millennium.”
    Asked if he knew when the East Hampton-Shoreham meet would be, Barry said, “Oh, yeah, we’ve got that date circled. It will be Oct. 8, at home. Shoreham’s only lost three meets in the past 13 years. Two of them were to us.”