Building on an already impressive season, a number of the East Hampton High School girls track team’s divisional competitors were in line for berths at the state qualifier meet that is to be held this weekend at Port Jefferson High.
Yani Cuesta, the team’s first-year head coach, said during a conversation Monday that four school records — in the 4-by-800 relay, the 4-by-100 relay, the 100-meter high hurdles, and in the (2,000-meter) steeplechase — had been broken at the Division III championships last week, and that “everyone I took p.r.’d. . . . Our sophomores in particular are very strong, very athletic.”
As to who would advance to the state qualifier — the top 24 countywide in each event go — Cuesta said she wouldn’t know until yesterday’s seeding meeting was held.
Bill Herzog, the former longtime boys’ coach, who has been assisting Cuesta and Luis Morales in coaching the girls and boys team, “has crunched the numbers, and thinks that we have a good chance of taking quite a few,” she said.
Cuesta’s team finished in eighth place among the 19 entries in Division III. “Bayport won,” she said. “They kicked butt, with 146 points. Miller Place, the second-place team, had 83. There was a huge difference. We had 23.”
Still, she said, “It’s the first time we’ve taken so many girls to the divisions, and they did extremely well.”
The 4-by-8 relay team, which comprised Liana Paradiso, an eighth grader, Alyssa Bahel, a junior, Hannah Jungck, a sophomore from Pierson, and Dana Cebulski, a junior, placed third, in 9 minutes and 56.6 seconds, “a significant improvement,” Cuesta said, “over their school-record time of 10:35.8 that they did on May 6. . . . I told them all to get under 2:30, and they did. It was very exciting.” It was also exciting, she said, to know that all of them will be back next year.
Miller Place won the 4-by-8, in 9:36.23, and McGann-Mercy was second, in 9:48.09.
East Hampton’s 4-by-1 team of Gabbie McKay, a sophomore, Amanda Calabrese, a junior, Cecilia Blowe, a sophomore, and Allura Leggard, of Pierson, a ninth grader, won the semifinal heat, though Mercy, which was second in the semifinal, came on to win the final “by a few steps.”
That relay team also set a school record — a longstanding one — said Cuesta, with its 51.63, bettering the 51.8 set in 1998 by Maria Dayton, Stephanie Talmage, Danielle Demarne, and Taneesha Harris.
Mercy’s winning time was 50.82.
East Hampton’s 4-by-4 team, while it did not place, “dropped six seconds from its previous-best time,” said the coach.
Calabrese broke her own 100 hurdle record set last year by doing a 16.88 in that event, good for fourth, and Jungck, who placed sixth in the steeplechase, in 7:48.66, also was credited with a school record inasmuch as “we’ve never had anyone do the steeplechase before.”
Jungck is ranked 16th in the event countywide.
Cebulski placed fifth in the 800; Christine Malecki, a sophomore, placed sixth in the discus, with a throw of 85 feet 9 inches; Taliya Hayes placed eighth in the shot-put with a personal-best heave of 29-41/4; Blowe placed 10th in the long jump with a personal-best 15-91/2, and Paradiso placed 14th in the 800 with a 2:30.24, which, Cuesta said, was “terrific for an eighth grader.”
As for the boys, she said, “I hear they didn’t do as well. I think Erik [Engstrom] may be the only one who will go to the state qualifier” in the steeplechase.
“Last year,” she said, “we only took two to the state qualifier — Amanda and Taliya. Dana didn’t go because she was sick. This time we should have a lot more. . . . It’s been a phenomenal season.”