Numbers Down in Football, Booming in Other Sports

There will be a junior varsity football team
A perfect waist-high cross into the penalty box by Keith Quihuiri (10) in the first period of East Hampton’s 2-1 loss here to Sayville on Sept. 5 unaccountably went for naught. Jack Graves

Joe Vas, East Hampton’s athletic director, was upbeat as he spoke this past week of the large turnouts most of the fall sports teams have enjoyed, of coaching changes that ought to further strengthen various programs, and of work that is to begin soon to improve the varsity baseball and softball fields.

The only downside, he said, had been the heat, which had forced the cancellation of a number of practices and scheduled games. 

And, yes, he said, in answer to a question, there will be a junior varsity football team, as long as the numbers, averaging around 22, hold. That team, coached by Joe McKee, with the assistance of Lorenzo Rodriguez and McKee’s brother Kelly, was to have made its debut Friday at Hampton Bays.

“We’ve been working hard over the last five years to preserve the program. I want it to work. . . . Football across the county is down. Wyandanch has canceled its jayvee. . . . We’re trying to rebuild, we want to keep it alive.”

With the resignation of Robyn Mott, Nicole Ficeto, an East Hampton High School Hall of Famer, has taken over the varsity field hockey team, with Carolina Schaefer as her assistant, and with Danielle Waleko as the junior varsity coach.

Rich King, who led East Hampton’s boys soccer team to county and Long Island championships, and to an appearance in the state’s Final Four, is now coaching golf, its former very successful coach, Claude Beudert, having retired. With Turner Foster, a county champion, Nate Wright, and James Bradley, a very promising seventh grader, on the roster, that team ought to continue its winning ways.

Kevin McConville, the head pro at Hampton Racquet, is coaching the girls tennis team, which as of earlier this week was 3-0 in league play. McConville coached the boys to a league championship last spring, a title they shared with Westhampton Beach. 

Girls volleyball, the subject of another story on this page, ought to be right up there with girls tennis and golf and girls swimming this fall.

Kevin Barry, the boys cross-country coach, has a squad that numbers in the mid to high 20s, the most he’s ever had, and Diane O’Donnell, while she has fewer on her roster, namely nine, nevertheless expects them to give the stronger teams in East Hampton’s league, such as Shoreham-Wading River, Miller Place, and Westhampton Beach, good runs for their money.

Concerning boys volleyball, Vas said that Josh Brussell would keep more than 20 on the varsity, and added that more than 20 had tried out for the jayvee, which Andrew Rodriguez coaches.

“More than 75 tried out for boys soccer,” the athletic director said, requiring that some cuts be made. “Don McGovern has 28 on the varsity, and Mike Vitulli has 31 on the jayvee.”

Girls soccer, which has not fared well in the recent past, is in a power-rated conference this year, meaning that it will be matched up largely with teams of similar ability. The team is coached by Cara Nelson, an East Hampton Middle School teacher who ran marathons on seven continents in seven days this past year. “They beat Hampton Bays 7-0 the other day,” Vas said, adding that Nelson “has a full group, close to 40 over all.”

Homecoming, Vas said, is to be Sept. 22, beginning with a Hall of Fame breakfast in the high school’s cafeteria. The inductees are Zach Brenneman, an all-American who helped lead Notre Dame to the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s men’s lacrosse final, Michael Sarlo, East Hampton Town’s police chief, who was an all-around athlete here, the Rev. Justin Winter, who with Eddie Budd gave East Hampton a terrific one-two backfield punch in football and was a standout sprinter and 400 runner in track, and Randi Cherill, the school’s personal trainer for 16 years, who recently retired. 

Nick Jarboe, an outstanding football player and wrestler when at East Hampton, is the trainer now.

Looking ahead to the spring, Vas said Annemarie Cangiolosi, one of Lou Reale’s protégées, a lights-out pitcher when she was at the State University at Cortland, will take over the softball program. Melanie Anderson, Cangiolosi’s cousin, who played in the N.C.A.A. tournament when she caught at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania, is to be a volunteer assistant.

The varsity baseball and softball fields, Vas added, are to be redone this fall so they’ll be ready for the spring. The baseball field, he said, is to get an all-turf infield that ought to cut down on trips to turf fields elsewhere in the spring resulting from a mucky infield here. The grass-covered outfield will remain, he said, inasmuch as “there was concern that balls would skip toward the fence when hit into the gaps.”

The softball staff had been offered a turf infield as well, said the A.D., “but the players and the staff didn’t want it.” That field, considered one of the best in the county when Lou Reale had it redone, is to have its infield “regraded, with a clay surface, and the outfield will be ripped up so there will be no more ruts and bumps, and it will have an irrigation system.” New windscreens would be installed as well. “The field will get a complete facelift.”

Vas said in answer to a question that he did not know how much the field work is to cost, “though all of it has been budgeted for.”