Girl Track Ends A Long Drought

A rare chance for a winning season looms
Cecilia Blowe, long-jumping above, was among East Hampton’s winners in the Rocky Point meet here on April 22 and also at Bellport on Monday. Jack Graves

    With wins this past week over Rocky Point and Bellport, the East Hampton High School girls track team is entering what for a long time has been uncharted territory.

    The last time an East Hampton girls team won a dual meet was six years ago, in May of 2008. The last time a Bonac girls team won two meets — not to mention three, which it has a chance to do here versus Westhampton Beach in the season finale Tuesday — has yet to be determined by this writer, whose files, in the form of piles of sports pages, line the office floor.

    At the moment, Yani Cuesta’s team’s record is 2-2-1. A win over Westhampton would result in a winning season, though Westhampton, Cuesta said, “has 85 girls, so, while a win is possible, it should be a tough meet.”

    Cuesta herself, a 1993 East Hampton graduate, was on winning teams “in three of the four years I competed, if not in four of the four.”

    Meanwhile, Luis Morales, who’s coaching East Hampton’s boys, said in an email this week that while his team lost to Rocky Point, “our boys are getting stronger — they’ve shown major improvement this season, both physically and mentally.”

    Erik Engstrom, the sophomore distance runner who Morales thinks could break Ben Turnbull’s (3,000-meter) steeplechase record next year, won the mile in 4 minutes and 55 seconds; T.J. Paradiso won the 400 in a season-best :53.0, and Adam Cebulski won the two-mile race in 10:23. The 4-by-400 and 4-by-800 relay teams were winners also.

    Turnbull, who coaches the East Hampton Middle School team, said he too thought Engstrom would break his steeplechase record (set in 2000), if not next year, the year after that.

    Morales said during Monday’s practice that Engstrom was at present the third-ranked steeplechase runner in the division. He won the steeplechase in 10:13.31 at the recently held Suffolk Coaches Invitational.

    Back to the girls, Cuesta said Tuesday morning that in Monday’s meet at Bellport, Dana Cebulski won the 800 and 1,500, that Valentina Sanchez had won the 400, that Gabbie McKay had won the 100, that Hannah Jungck had won the 3,000, that Anna Hoffmann had won the high jump, and that East Hampton, with Allura Leggard, McKay, and Cecilia Blowe, had swept the 200, and had, with Blowe, Devon Brown, and Quincy King, swept the long jump.

    Moreover, the 4-by-100 relay team was a winner. East Hampton lost the 4-by-4. The 4-by-800 was not contested, though East Hampton’s team of Liana Paradiso, Jungck, Alyssa Bahel, and Cebulski, which had at the Rocky Point meet broken a school record that the majority of that same team had set last year, would have been favored.

    The following were winners at the Rocky Point meet: Cebulski, in the triple jump, the 800, the 3,000, and, as aforesaid, in the 4-by-8, which she anchored; Amanda Calabrese in the 100 high hurdles and 400 intermediate hurdles; Nina Piacentine in the 1,500 racewalk, in a personal best 8:08.64; Blowe in the 200, in a personal best 28.2, and in the long jump, as well as in the 4-by-1, in which she ran the third leg, and Taliya Hayes in the discus.