Strong performances marked the Sachem North girls winter track team's season debut this Sunday morning at the Girls Crossover A meet at Suffolk's Western Campus in Brentwood.
"The things we've been working towards the last 3 weeks paid off for a lot of the kids today," said head coach Alex Young.
Thirteen teams attended this first girls crossover meet according to Young, including notably good competition from Sayville and Commack. At crossover meets, the top six competitors in a given event typically score the points. In North's case, this meant both veterans and rookies could take credit for the day's successes.
Senior Kiera Wood won the 1,500-meter run with a time of 5:07.30, and jumped 32' 11" in the triple jump for second place. Fellow senior Stephanie Richer came in third in the same event, jumping 31' 9 1/4," as well as taking second place in the 55-meter dash in 7.96 seconds.
Other second-place finishers for North were Kayla Cataldo in the 600-meter in 1:45.02, and high jumper Kristie Michta with a height of 4' 11". Freshman competitor Melissa Michels took sixth in the 55-meter dash, timing 8.20 seconds.
"We got into the race right away quite a few times today in most of the events," said Young, adding that compared against scores from previous seasons, the current scores bode very well for the team's progress. "Now we're rolling. We got the butterflies out of our system, and we'll take it from here. It's a week and a half until our next meet, but I think they'll be more excited than anxious."
Section XI's new rule - no more than 80 competitors per school per meet - went into effect at this first crossover meet. Young objected to the rule before, and witnessing it in action only confirmed his concerns.
"I had to leave back 50 athletes," he said. "I hate leaving athletes back, but we'll go through the season and hopefully it will be reassessed."
North and East girls teams will both travel to Shoreham Wading River for a non-league meet on December 15 at 6 p.m.
North hosted an outdoor scrimmage with East this Saturday at noon - the only time everyone on both teams will be able to compete head-to-head all season.
Placing consistently high in a wide range of events with a number of its athletes, expectations were met and in some cases exceeded for East's girls at Sunday's meet. Head coach Pete McNeill said he was pleased with the progress on display, despite being hamstrung by the new Section XI requirement that prohibits more than 80 athletes per team per meet.
The 4x400-meter relay team, consisting of Laurie Semetsis (1st leg), Casey Gelderman (2nd leg), Meghan Walsh (3rd leg) and Krystle Grygo (anchor), won it in 4:42.70, beating out second-place Lindenhurst by over 15 seconds. Grygo also placed second in the 1,000-meter run, clocking in at 3:26.14.
Semetsis also captured the top spot in the 600-meter, finishing her run in 1:49.18, followed by teammates Audrey Miller (second place, 1:49.79), Gelderman (fourth place, 1:53.79), and Walsh (sixth place, 1:54.55).
In the field, Alyssa Genduso won the long jump with a distance of 16' 1". Sarah Hansen won the high jump with a height of 4' 10," followed by teammates Ashley Ayers and Samantha Maurice in third and fifth place respectively, each jumping 4' 6". Maurice also finished fifth in the 1,500-meter run, timing 5:42.52.
In shotput, Brittany Christiansen threw for a second-place distance of 37' 3 1/4". Brittany Sepe took fifth place, throwing 32' 2 1/4", and sixth place went to Gabby Trejo (31' 4 1/2").
The 800-meter racewalk also had three high East placements: Kelly Maranchuck (3:54.55), Amanda Catherall (4:08.17) and Holly Lindoe (4:16.42) successively finished second, third and fourth.
In the 55-meter hurdles, Samantha Eng took third place with a time of 10.14 seconds, as teammate Shannon Haberkorn grabbed fourth place in 10.34 seconds. Kristen Bagley took fourth in the 55-meter dash, timing 8.09 seconds.
The start of North's boys team featured solid debuts for several competitors, earning kudos from head coach Joe Zarzycki. Brendan Hayes ran the 1,600-meter for a time of 5:07, and Colin Eberhardt finished the 1,000-meter run in 2:56.22. Mike Rotolo timed 1:40.06 in the 600-meter.
The 4 x 400-meter relay team - which had Rotolo, Alex Flores, Michael Mirrione and James Trofa - finished in 4:25.62 for fourth place.
North will return to Brentwood December 14 for its next crossover meet at 7:30 p.m.
East's boys winter track team grabbed two first placements at Crossover A: Senior Greg Markfelder locked up a height of 6'2" in the high jump to tie for first place - also tying his personal best - and junior Ryan Scarpelli won the 1,000 meter run in 2:41.05, resetting the school record in the process.
Freshman Vinnie Oliveto, praised by head coach Scoot Kudrick for his performance and maturity, reached 5'8 in the high jump.
East is back at Brentwood on Dec. 18 at 2 p.m. for its next crossover meet.