The East Hampton High School boys cross-country team was out in force for the Great Bonac 5K Labor Day morning, and did itself proud, its members taking six out of the top eight places.
John Conner, whose twice-a-week interval workouts at the high school track have attracted a number of the boys, expected a sprint to the finish, though the two seniors, Adam Cebulski, who won this race in 2012, and Jack Link, who has greatly improved over the past year, led the way, with Erik Engstrom fourth, Thomas Brierley fifth, Jackson Rafferty seventh, and Eric Perez eighth.
Kevin Barry, the team’s coach, has high hopes for this season, which is to begin Tuesday at Sunken Meadow versus Sayville. “The team that wins will have put in the most miles over the summer,” Barry said.
Conner said that “if they continue to work the way they have been, this team could well win the states in a couple of years.”
Barry asked his group to go out as a team in the first two miles and “then everyone for himself,” though it didn’t quite work out that way as Cebulski and Link sped through the first mile in 5 minutes and 10 seconds. Cebulski began to lengthen his stride midway through the course, and kicked it home on the slight downhill spanning Three Mile Harbor Road and the Springs Firehouse, where the finish line was.
Cebulski, who had been looking to run 16:15, wound up winning in 16:55.8. Link was the runner-up in 17:28.4. The third-place finisher was Justin Kulchinsky, who’s 40 years old, in 17:28.4. He said he was spurred on in the final half-mile by a pit bull snapping at his heels. Kulchinsky was followed by Erik Engstrom, whose Bonac teammates call him Pre, as in Steve Prefontaine, in 17:52.6; Steve Cuomo, 30, of the Rolling Thunder group, which also was well represented, in 19:12; Thomas Brierley, in 19:17.2; Jackson Rafferty, in 19:22.9, and Eric Perez, in 19:35. The latter three are East Hampton cross-country teammates.
Cebulski said after crossing the line that “we’ve been running all summer and we’re going to have a great season,” adding that he was looking forward also to having three meets at Cedar Point Park here (for the first time in many years) over a spectator-friendly 2.8-mile course.
Barry said the first meet at Cedar Point would be with Rocky Point on Sept. 24.
The women’s winner of the 5K was Patricia Fall-Salamy, 46, in 19:35.4. She was ninth over all. Dana Cebulski, Adam’s younger sister, who leads East Hampton’s girls cross-country team, was not far behind, in 19:58.2.
“Let’s hear it for the moms,” the winner said, with a smile, as she waited with her husband, Andrew, and 6-year-old daughter, Sienna, near the finish line for her older daughter, Sydney, and her son, Drew, to cross it.
It was her plan, she said, to make running a family activity. The couple — she was from D.C., he was from the Boston area — met on Carnegie Mellon’s track. He threw the javelin then, though no longer.
The 10K’s winner was Paul Tufaro, 31, of New York City, in 37:12.7. Peter Heinz, 26, of East Hampton, was second, in 39:12.6, and Michael Monahan, 28, also of East Hampton, was third, in 42:07.2. The women’s winner, Heather Wright, 40, of Westhampton Beach, was third over all in 40:53.8. Laura Brown, also of Westhampton, was the women’s runner-up, in 44:08.6. Jill Snitko, of Marion, Iowa, was the third female, in 47:09.3.
There were 185 finishers in the 10K, and 131 in the 5K. The net proceeds are to go to the Springs Fire Department’s scholarship fund and to the Old Montauk Athletic Club’s grants program.