County Title for Boys Cross-Country

The Shelter Island girls and boys won too
County champs: front row, from left, Nicolas Villante, Geo Espinoza, Omar Leon, and Robert Weiss; rear row, the coach, Kevin Barry, Frank Bellucci, Ryan Fowkes, and Ethan McCormac. Jack Graves

For the second time in the past three years East Hampton High’s boys cross-country team won a county championship at Sunken Meadow State Park, besting Class B’s field of eight teams on Friday.

“There was some confusion at the finish line as the runners, some of them in waves, came across — 20 seconds separated 10th from 25th,” Kevin Barry, East Hampton’s coach, said during a conversation before the team practiced Monday. 

At one point, as the coaches were tallying their scores, Barry was told that Southampton had won, “by two,” at another, that East Hampton had won, “by two,” and at still another, that Miller Place had won. 

When the dust had settled some 20 minutes later, East Hampton topped the leaderboard, with 82 points, trailed by Southampton (96), Miller Place (96), Mount Sinai, Westhampton Beach, Bayport-Blue Point, Shoreham-Wading River, and Sayville. 

Ryan Fowkes, as he has all season, led the way for the Bonackers, finishing fourth, behind Miller Place’s Tom Cirrito, Southampton’s Gustavo Morastitla, and Shoreham’s Joseph Krause, in 17 minutes and 55.94 seconds. East Hampton’s other scorers were Geo Espinoza (13th in 18:39.21), Omar Leon (15th in 18:49.63), Ethan McCormac (18th in 18:52.67), and Robert Weiss (32nd in 19:15.84). Nicolas Villante was 33rd, in 19:19.69, and Frank Bellucci was 36th, in 19:43.85.

East Hampton’s girls team did not qualify for the county/state qualifier meet, though three of its runners — Ava Engstrom, a ninth grader, Isabella Tarbet, a ninth grader, and Liana Paradiso, a senior — did. 

Engstrom, who finished ninth, in 21:11.82, qualified for the state meet. “Her brother [Erik, a former county champion who now is the top runner at the University of Massachusetts] didn’t qualify for the states until his junior year,” Ava’s father, Gerard, said at Saturday’s Brewathlon in Montauk.

“I know Ava’s going to run a good race, but I told her to go up there [to Wayne Central High School outside Rochester] and have fun,” Diane O’Donnell, East Hampton’s coach, said. 

Barry, who said he first had an inkling his team might go all way after an invitational trip to Lakeland, Fla., at the beginning of the season, said he would like his boys to do “at least as well as the 2015 team,” which is to say place as high as fifth. Barry also coached state-meet teams in 2001 and ’02.

Shelter Island’s boys and girls teams won the Class D races, with their best runners, Kal Lewis, in 17:05.79, and Lindsey Gallagher, in 20:56.70, topping their fields.

Katherine Lee of Shoreham-Wading River, the Class B winner, had the day’s best time for the girls, at 18:42.20. Lewis had the 10th-best time among the boys. Tarbet came close to qualifying for the state meet as she finished about eight seconds behind Engstrom. Paradiso was 16th, in 22:17.30.

In other postseason action, East Hampton’s girls swimming team, coached by Craig Brierley and his eldest son, Thomas, placed sixth among the 28 teams entered in the county meet at Suffolk Community College-Brentwood Saturday.

The 200 freestyle relay team of Catalina Badilla, Madison Jones, Sophia Swanson, and Julia Brierley led the way with a second-place finish, East Hampton’s best of the day, earning them an all-county designation.

“The majority of the girls swam season bests or lifetime bests, which is very impressive considering they had posted season or lifetime bests in the league meet the week before,” the elder Brierley said afterward in an email.

Badilla was named by East Hampton’s captains as the swimmer of the meet given the fact that she swam lifetime bests in the above-mentioned relay as well as in the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly.

“Julia Brierley and Sophia Swanson were the team’s top point-getters, with 23 and 22 points respectively,” the coach said. “Julia was eighth in the 50 free and seventh in the 100 breaststroke, and Sophia was sixth in the 100 free and ninth in the 200 free.”

Other point-getters for East Hampton were its 200 medley relay team of Darcy McFarland, Brierley, Swanson, and Madison Jones; Oona Foulser in the 50 free; Jones in the 100 free; Vanessa Betancur in the 100 breaststroke, and the 400 freestyle relay team of Kiara Bailey-Williams, Emma Wiltshire, Foulser, and Olivia Brabant.

Julia Brown, a freshman on the East Hampton girls swim team, dropped 2.5 seconds from her lifetime best in the 100-yard backstroke at Saturday’s county meet at Suffolk Community College-Brentwood. Jack Graves