News Was Good Afoot and Afloat
East Hampton High’s girls swimming team, which cruised through the league season undefeated, winning its second championship in a row, placed sixth among the 25 schools contending in the county championship meet at Suffolk Community College-Brentwood Saturday — in fourth place, its coach, Craig Brierley, noted, absent the points award for diving, an event in which the Bonackers do not compete.
In other postseason news, East Hampton’s boys cross-country team saved its best for last, to wit, the county championship meet held Friday at Sunken Meadow State Park in Kings Park.
Kevin Barry, East Hampton’s coach, said the team, which had been seeded seventh in the Class B race, wound up as the runner-up to Westhampton Beach.
Ryan Fowkes, Bonac’s best runner, a senior, placed third over the difficult 3.1-mile course in 17 minutes and 32 seconds, “a few seconds off his best, but qualifying him to run in the state championships here next Saturday,” Nov. 10, Barry said.
Just as newsworthy was the fact that Evan Masi, a freshman, placed eighth, in 17:59 — just one spot away from a state-qualifying performance — and in so doing broke Erik Engstrom’s freshman Sunken Meadow mark. Now running at the University of Massachusetts, Engstrom went on to become a county champion, East Hampton’s only one thus far.
“Evan and all of his teammates ran personal bests,” said Barry. Ethan McCormac, who placed 16th in 18:27, was followed by Aidan Klarman (18:59), Frank Bellucci (19:02), Joshua Vazquez (19:03), and Nicolas Villante (19:45).
The news was good on the girls’ side too inasmuch as Ava Engstrom, Erik’s younger sister, again qualified for the state meet by finishing fifth in her race, in 20:15, breaking an East Hampton course record that had been held by Dana Cebulski. Her fellow sophomore, Bella Tarbet, who was set back a bit this fall after breaking a toe in the summer, placed 12th (she had been sixth in this race last year).
“Ava did a great job, starting out hard and holding her spot throughout, beating girls, from Shoreham-Wading River, Miller Place, and Kings Park, whom she hadn’t been expected to beat,” said Diane O’Donnell, the girls coach. “She was seeded ninth and, as I said, finished fifth. Bella had a good race too. She was seeded much further back than she finished. She’s been working hard all fall, and improving in each race. She just ran out of time. One of our goals next year will be to have them both qualify for states.”
Back to swimming, East Hampton’s 200 freestyle relay team of Oona Foulser, Jane Brierley, Julia Brierley, and Sophia Swanson was the runner-up to Ward Melville’s team by one tick in that event, in 1 minute and 40.12 seconds — a time that qualified the above-named for the state meet.
That foursome — Julia Brierley, backstroke, Jane Brierley, breaststroke, Swanson, butterfly, and Foulser, freestyle — also made a splash in the county meet’s first event, the 200 medley relay, placing third, behind Ward Melville and Northport, in 1:49.53, bettering their previous best, which had qualified them for states, by 2.5 seconds.
In addition, Swanson bettered her state-qualifying time by .4 in the 100 fly, placing fourth in 59.35. Jane Brierley, an eighth grader, placed fifth in the 100 breaststroke, in 1:07.79, qualifying her for the state meet as well. Swanson also was fourth in the 100 free, in a personal-best 55.30. She was to lead the teams in points scored, with 30.
“Throughout the meet Bonac’s girls posted either season bests or lifetime bests,” said the elder Brierley. “A very impressive effort considering they had all turned in season or lifetime bests in the league meet a week before.”
“Kiara Bailey-Williams dropped almost seven seconds in placing 10th in the 200 individual medley, seven spots above what she’d been seeded; all four of our girls — Bailey-Williams, Emma Wiltshire, Caroline Brown, and Camryn Hatch — in the 400 free relay posted season-best split times and a team best by three seconds, and in the 100 back, Julia Brierley (eighth), Darcy McFarland (12th), Camryn Hatch (16th), and Brown (18th) all bettered their previous-best times, by, in order, more than three seconds, 2.6 seconds, almost two seconds, and a half-second.”
Julia Brierley, a junior, “a fierce competitor and a hard worker in practice,” was named East Hampton’s swimmer of the meet “for having played a role in both state-qualifying relays and for having competed in back-to-back events [the 100 backstroke and the 100 breaststroke]. She went a best time in the 50 back on the medley relay, a season best in the 50 free in the 200 free relay, turned in a lifetime best 1:01.37 in the 100 back, and followed that up with an eighth-place finish in the 100 breaststroke.”