Running: One More Goal Left

A rainy Hither Hills trails half-marathon; Fowkes smokes St. Anthony’s
Holly Li drifted wide into Caroline Cashin’s lane at the beginning of Saturday’s Hither Hills trails half-marathon, though Cashin did not file an objection. Jack Graves

Saturday’s weather was off-putting, and, consequently, there was a small turnout for the Hither Hills trails half-marathon at Montauk’s Ed Ecker County Park that day — 16 by actual count.

A first-timer, Timothy Decker, 50, of New York City, was the winner, in 1 hour, 44 minutes, and 43 seconds, a couple of minutes shy of the record 1:42.40 that Erik Engstrom, a University of Massachusetts junior, set two years ago over the reconfigured hilly course — not bad at all considering the age difference.

Engstrom was competing that day for UMass Amherst in the Atlantic 10 outdoor championships’ 3,000-meter steeplechase, an event in which he placed fifth in 9:15.06.

Peter Hodkinson, 31, of Montauk, was the runner-up to Decker, in 1:47.22. At this race two years ago, Hodkinson placed third, behind Engstrom and Mike Bahel, in 1:42.50. Bahel, 52, was third this time, in 2:04.37. 

Pearce Thompson, 31, of Brooklyn, also a first-timer at Hither Hills, won among the women, in 1:51.47. Paul Hamilton and Caroline Cashin bested their mixed relay competitors, Gil Cardillo and Amanda Irish, by about 16 minutes, finishing in 1:53.54, and Holly Li and Lauren Ruiz (2:01.40) were unopposed in the all-female relay division.

As the half-marathon was going on, selected runners from East Hampton High School’s boys and girls track teams were running in the rain at the St. Anthony’s invitational in Huntington.

That meet, which attracted competitors from about 50 schools in the metro region, was especially notable given the fact that Ryan Fowkes, who holds numerous school indoor and outdoor distance records, broke 4:20 in the 1,600, which had been one of his goals this season. 

Fowkes, a senior who is to attend George Washington University on a partial running scholarship this fall, ran the 1,600 in 4:18.44, a personal best, as aforesaid, for him, bettering the school record he held by about five and a half seconds. Seeded ninth, he finished fifth.

“It was a huge accomplishment for him,” said Ben Turnbull, Fowkes’s coach. “He has now hit two of his three goals — going under 4:20 in the mile and qualifying for the nationals” in the 2,000-meter steeplechase. “He still has a big one, which is to make the state meet in the mile, which is his best event.”

Fowkes’s fellow senior, Matt Maya, ran personal best times at St. Anthony’s in the 110 high hurdles (16.82) and in the 400-meter race (52.23), placing 22nd and 14th. Frank Bellucci, in the 400, Luc Campbell, in the 110 high hurdles and in the 200, and Colin Harrison, in the 110 high hurdles and 200, also recorded personal bests.

As for the girls, Ava Engstrom placed eighth in the seeded 2,000-meter steeplechase at St. Anthony’s, in 7:36.46, a personal best for her, and Bella Tarbet, in placing fourth in the unseeded 2,000 steeplechase, did a season-best 8:03.60.

On Friday, East Hampton’s boys and girls teams went up against their Amityville counterparts. Only five events in the boys meet were contested here — the 100, the 200, the long jump, the 400 intermediate hurdles, and the 4-by-400 relay — all of which were won by the visitors.

The boys have won only one meet this spring. The competition has been stiff. “Westhampton’s phenomenal, Miller Place is phenomenal, Sayville is phenomenal, and Amityville too,” said Turnbull, who added that Fowkes at the moment was ranked 10th in the country in the 2,000-meter steeplechase.

East Hampton’s girls lost 88-55 at Amityville. Among Bonac’s winners were Ashley Peters, in the 100; Mimi Fowkes, in the 1,500-meter racewalk; Engstrom, in the 800; Ellie Borzilleri, in the 100-meter high hurdles and in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles; Penelope Greene, in the 3,000-meter race, and Jen Ortiz, in the 1,500.

Runners-up were Ortiz, in the triple jump; Grace Brosnan, in the 100 high hurdles, the 400 intermediate hurdles, and in the high jump; Carly Browngardt, in the 1,500; Lillie Minskoff, in the 100 and 200; Romy Gutama, in the racewalk; Greene, in the 800; Helen Barranco, in the shot-put, and Paige Schaefer, in the discus.

Yani Cuesta, the coach of the girls, and Turnbull will oversee an invitational meet here tomorrow and Saturday, with teams from Westhampton Beach, Sayville, Southampton, Shoreham-Wading River, Port Jefferson, Southold, and, possibly, from Hampton Bays, the Ross School, and Shelter Island as well.

Three pentathlon events — the high jump, shot-put, and high hurdles — are to be contested tomorrow, beginning at 4:30 p.m., though Cuesta said that as of Monday she didn’t know which schools would send entries. The other pentathlon events, the long jump, and the 800 for girls and 1,500 for boys, are to be contested on Saturday.

Saturday’s start time is 10 a.m. “We usually finish by around 1 or 1:15,” Cuesta said.

Ryan Fowkes, above, broke 4:20 in the mile, which had been a goal of his, at the St. Anthony’s invitational Saturday. Bill Fowkes