Tag Archive | "cross country"

Whaler Wrap

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Cross Country

After a disappointing, winless season for both the boys and girls Pierson/Bridgehampton cross country teams, the teams had the ability to redeem themselves at the Suffolk County Cross Country Championships on Friday, November 4. Both teams finished in third place in their respective races. Elena Skerys finished third overall and qualified to represent Suffolk County at States next Saturday, November 12, near Syracuse. Maya Buckner finished ninth overall, but just missed the cutoff to run at the State meet, only the top eight are invited to states. She is first alternate should another runner not attend. Peter Skerys finished tenth overall in the boy’s race and is the first alternate for the boy’s team.

Girls 7th and 8th Grade Tennis

The middle school tennis program finished their season last Thursday, November 3, with a win against Southampton, 6-1. The win capped an eight game winning streak for Pierson, and gave them a final record of (8-2). Singles players Harriet DeGroot and Isabelle Peters won their matches in straight sets, while singles player Lily Kot won only after going to a tiebreaker. Doubles partners Denise Garcia-Torres/Sarah Jannetti, Madi Briggs/Brooke Britt and Meg Atkinson-Barnes/Lizzie Hochstedler all walked away with a win as well. With the season over, head coach Alvin Hollander plans on starting a Pierson JV team for the 2012 fall season. The Sag Harbor school board and administration had already allocated money for both a JV and varsity team, but a lack of interest at that level made fielding a competitive team previously impossible.

Looking to County

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By Andrew Rudansky

A lot of things have changed this year for the boys’ varsity cross country team at Pierson. The team has recently been redistricted from Class C into Class D in a section-wide realignment, they just finished building a brand new home track at Mashashimuet Park and now, for the first time in years, students from Bridgehampton School have joined the team.

But for everything that is new with the team, it is what hasn’t changed that gives the Whalers the best shot in years to capture the Suffolk County Championships — and that’s the core of their roster.

For the first time Coach Doug Alnwick can remember the majority of the varsity squad are seniors, and many of them have run all four years of high school.

“If we are going to win it all, then this is going to be the year to do it,” said Alnwick.

He said that the size, dedication and maturity of his seniors give his team a competitive edge against younger squads around the league.

The seven seniors that Alnwick thinks can propel this team to the top of Class D are Chris Beroes-Haigis, Paul Dorego, Jeremy Pepper, Peter Skerys, Dan Hartner, Garrett Severance and Emet Evjen. Rounding out the rest of the 12-man roster are junior Adam Heller, sophomores Max Yardley, Tiger Britt, Henry Kotz and freshman Robert Rewinski.

“We definitely have a solid team this year, their race times are much better than they were just last year,” said Alnwick. Last year’s team went 3-3 in league competition.

In preparation for the season Alnwick has taken the team out on six, seven and 10 mile runs almost every day around Sag Harbor. Alnwick especially works with the team on what he calls Long Slow Distance; a method that he says increases physical endurance and gets the team used to the mental rigors of continued running.

“My philosophy for the kids is to push them hard but not to burn them out,” he said. “My ultimate goal is to get these kids to love running.”

The team has already run in two league races, both of those ended in a loss for the Whalers. However both of the winning schools, Port Jefferson and Center Moriches, were in a different class than Pierson and the losses won’t adversely affect their shot at the Class D championships.

The Whalers’ first in-class race was held on Tuesday, October 4 against both Mattituck and Southold. The results of that race have yet to be released.

“All I ask of them is that when they cross the finish line they ask themselves, ‘Could I have done better,’” said Alnwick.

The Whalers next travel to Sunken Meadow State Park to take on the Stony Brook Bears on Tuesday, October 11.

Whalers Cross Country Holds Their Own

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By Benito Vila


Every outdoor sport has weather as a variable when it comes to game-day. Come what may, every athlete must adjust to conditions as they are.

It was drizzling, warm and humid last Saturday when Pierson’s cross-country qualifiers arrived at Sunken Meadow for the state meet, “the big one” as boys’ coach Joe Amato calls it. Turning out for the meet were champions from each of the state’s 11 athletic districts, 100 teams in all. Also there were the top individuals from each class size within each district, bringing the attendee total to 1178 runners.

Pierson was well represented, the girls showing up seven strong as Class D champions and the boys sending their top two. Both Pierson coaches came in expecting a good showing, aware the weather would slow times but hopeful their runners would use their experience on the 5K course to their advantage.


A New Benchmark

Girls’ cross-country coach Jim Kinnier praised the effort he saw, saying, “While we did not run our best times, we did have the best result for a finisher that we’ve ever had. Keriann FitzPatrick ran 22 minutes, 21 seconds, finishing 35th in Class D [out of 112 runners].”

 “Amelia Skerys ran 23:43 and Rafaela Gurtler, who was running with an injury to her leg, ran 24:04. As a team, we finished ninth out of ten though if the girls had all run to the capacity we might have finished seventh, but woulda, coulda, shoulda.”

Looking to bring his team “to the next level”, Coach Kinnier is planning on attending coaching conferences during the off-season and has become the head coach of the Pierson/Ross shared-sports winter and spring track program. Enthusiastic about the challenges ahead, he acknowledged, “We’ve come along, but there is a ways to go. The hope is to offer a more comprehensive approach to cross-country and track to help our student athletes reach their potential.”


A Personal Record

Coach Amato describes the competition in boys’ Class D as “very tough. Cross-country is very big upstate, especially in the small schools. Many do not even have soccer programs so everybody runs cross-country.”

Unfazed, or perhaps fired up, by the talent he faced, Pierson senior and team captain Kai Leo turned in a time of 19:13, a personal record for the year. That time placed him 61 out of the state’s 117 Class D runners and number two in Suffolk County, 12 seconds behind Sal Manno of Southold.

The boys’ other runner, junior Kyle Fletcher, completed the course at 20:20, fourth among Suffolk runners and 94 overall. Already thinking about the 2009 finals, Coach Amato said, “Kyle had a good race given the conditions. He has good speed and should return to states next year.”


Whalers X-Country Takes County D Title

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By Benito Vila

 Two points were all that separated the Lady Whaler cross-country team from a perfect season. The team finished its regular season schedule 4-2; the two losses coming by a single point each time, margins that can be described best in split seconds and inches.

Considering the girls commonly compete on a 3.1-mile (5K) course, those measurements can be thought of as being nearly insignificant. But that’s not the approach the team or their coach, Jim Kinnier, took. Instead, the losses served to motivate their resolve and effort.

That intensity and work paid off last Friday when the team came away from the Suffolk County championship meet with the Class D crown for the second year in a row. The win sends the entire girls’ team to the state meet at Sunken Meadow this Saturday. Those seven will be joined there by Whalers Kai Leo and Kyle Feltcher who qualified by finishing among the top of the county’s Class D boys.


Back and Forth

Coach Kinnier captured his team’s determination in describing the championship race: “After one mile Pierson was leading by four. By the second mile Stony Brook had tied the score. After the second mile both Rafaela Gurtler and Amelia Skerys passed Stony Brook’s #2 runner to retake the lead. Brianna Kinnier and Aura Skerys finished ahead of Stony Brook’s #5 runner to seal the victory.”

Keriann FitzPatrick was the first Pierson finisher, placing second overall at 21 minutes, 2 seconds. Rafaela Gurtler was third overall at 23:02, Amelia Skerys, fourth at 23:19, Brianna Kinnier, tenth at 25:30, Aura Skerys, eleventh at 26:35. Olivia Kaminsky and Arielle Chase are the team’s sixth and seventh runners.

Even more impressive was the fact Pierson outran all of the Class C schools and all but three Class B schools. Coach Kinnier called this “truly a great achievement” and expects the team to be in the middle of the state’s 11 Class D schools in Saturday’s meet, a step up from last year’s finish at the back of the pack.


Streak Reaches Ten

Coach Joe Amato calls cross-country “an intrinsic sport, little fans, little press [coverage]. It is you running against the other guys. But it’s a little funny, too; you are also running against yourself. And objectivity is the rule. There’s a clock; there are no teammates to blame.”

Using those aspects of the sport as motivation, Pierson went into the county meet looking to send a runner to the state meet for the tenth consecutive year. By finishing near the top Friday, Kai Leo and Kyle Fletcher proved up to the challenge and will represent the Whalers in Saturday’s meet.

 “At the beginning of the year I thought [our state rep] would most likely just be Kai. But Kyle Fletcher and Brendan Sheil have been cutting minutes off their times and the set was stage for a great race,” reported Coach Amato. “The temperature and wind provided for good conditions. And at the 300-meter mark Brendan was leading, followed by Kai and then Kyle, with our freshman sensations, Peter Skerys and Paul Dorego, starting out towards the back.”

“Everyone was looking good at the one-mile mark, but once they got to the first set of hills things changed. Brendan fell behind while Kyle moved up some. He’s our mountain goat; the kid loves hills.”

“All along Kai ran close to the top with the boy from Southold, but once everyone hit Cardiac Hill things really changed. Kyle surged, Kai held his position and Peter came out looking like a star. We came in looking good in the home stretch.”

Leo was third overall at 19:14 with Fletcher finishing as the fifth individual and ninth overall to take the final state qualifier position. Skerys came in as the sixth individual and is an alternate should any qualifier become unavailable Saturday.

Looking ahead, Coach Amato said, “Saturday is the big show. The team has two tickets. It will be held at arguably the toughest course in the state in what is predicted to be very bad rain. Cardiac Hill is going to be a challenge for those that have never seen it before; it’s 200 yards of physical and emotional reward and may be one of the toughest tests in New York State athletics.”



Whaler Teams Hope for Post-season Play

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By Benito Vila

While the Pierson field hockey Lady Whalers are a near lock to play Port Jefferson November 1 for the county Class C title, their classmates on four teams are doing all they can to join them in the post-season.

Girls’ varsity soccer, at 3-5-1 in League VIII, matches up with winless Port Jefferson (yesterday), league-leader Smithtown Christian and middle-of-the-pack Southold/Greenport this week. A strong finish in those games could propel the third-year program to its first tournament berth. The team’s last two matches are in Mashashimuet Park, the Lady Crusaders coming in at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow and the Lady Clippers at 4 p.m. next Thursday.

Meanwhile, girls’ varsity volleyball at 6-4 in league play is just one win away from clinching their first ever post-season seed. That win could have come yesterday at Greenport/Southold or it could come Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. in the gym against Stony Brook. After those two matches, the road to the playoffs gets tougher with league-leaders Shelter Island and Center Moriches on the schedule away in the final week.

Both cross-country teams have closed out their league schedule, the girls taking third at 4-2 and the boys fourth at 2-3. Runners on the squads have reason to be optimistic in the upcoming divisional and class meets. The boys finished the season with a pair of decisive wins, while the girls, the defending Class D champions, also finished with a pair of wins and saw their losses come by just one point each.


A Possible Preview


Girls’ varsity soccer traveled to Stony Brook last Friday to face a likely playoff adversary that had outscored them 6-0 in the park last month. In playing to a 0-0 double overtime tie, coach Haley Luzim said she saw her team “come ready to play. We knew we had to give it our all and we did. It proves that when we play hard, we can play with anyone.”

Coach Luzim praised the defensive line-up of Kara Gengerally, Kaci Koehne, Diana Roderiguez and Alexia Farraguna, and goalkeeper Annie Osiecki who recorded 15 saves. But she pointed to the lock-down determination of Kathryn Heine as making the biggest difference between this match and the earlier one. “Kathryn covered their top scorer and totally shut her down. She was on her like they were playing ‘Simon Says’ and wouldn’t let her turn.”


Closing In


Coming into the gym Monday to meet Mercy on Columbus Day, the girls’ volleyball squad found the school quiet. They created their own noise in taking game one, 25-14, and kept their momentum going by winning game two, 25-13, and game three, 25-18. Amanda Holder had three blocks and Samara Finkenauer had two kills in closing in on the tournament clincher. A November 3 date and another match with Stony Brook would await the squad if it earns its way in.


Travel, then taper


The cross-country teams are off to the Brown University Invitational this weekend, returning home for school Monday and the county’s divisional meet Tuesday. That race, held at Sunken Meadow, crowns the overall Suffolk team champion regardless of school size.

Boys’ coach Joe Amato and girls’ coach Jim Kinnier plan on using that divisional meet to prepare their squads for the course they will run in the sectional championship October 31. Early this week, Coach Amato said, “We’ll focus our energy on the small schools championship, that’s the one that determines how many of us will go to states.”

Coach Kinnier is taking a similar approach, having his girls start to run lesser amounts, “decreasing quantity, but not quality to taper off so that we’re in the best condition and most rested” for the sectional. With three runners out ahead at every league meet and three with improving times, Coach Kinnier feels his squad has “a realistic shot” at repeating as Class C champs.

Those top three, Keriann FitzPatrick, Rafaela Gurtler and Amelia Skerys, came in a close 1,2,3 overall in Tuesday’s 22-33 win over Center Moriches. FitzPatrick finished in 21 minutes and 57 seconds, Gertler at 21:58 and Skerys at 22:22. Brianna Kinnier was seventh overall at 25:27 and Aura Skerys ninth at 27:18. Newcomer Olivia Kaminski turned in at time of 31:36 in covering the full course for the first time.

In going to invitationals, Coach Kinnier is looking to find competition that can push the top three and allow them to work at another level. “They did well last weekend in the Manhattan College Invitational in Van Cortland Park. We came in ninth out of 13 against some real high quality schools. Running a short 2.5-mile course, FitzPatrick posted an 18:04, Gertler, an 18:23, and Amelia, an 18:32. Brianna came in at 21:09, Aura at 21:45 and Olivia at 26:03.”

Coach Amato finds his team consistently setting personal bests, Brendan Sheil having made the biggest gains over the course of the season. Sheil finished fifth on Tuesday at 20:39, barely trailing teammates Kai Leo (19:40) and Kyle Fletcher (20:15) who came in first and second respectively. Peter Skerys came in sixth overall at 21:25.


Time to Shine: Golf Wins First, Volleyball Snaps Streak

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By Benito Vila


Pierson alumni are likely to join the usual crowds of family and friends as the athletic teams celebrate homecoming in the park and in the gym this weekend. The festivities are due to start Friday, with boys’ soccer hosting the Ross School in Mashashimuet Park at 4 p.m. Girls’ volleyball meets Center Moriches indoors at the high school at 4:30 p.m.

Those interested in seeing golf can watch the Whaler team tee off today at the Noyac Golf Club against Southampton at 3:30 p.m. Cross-country fans will have to settle for watching those Whalers run in after-school practices, their next meet not scheduled until next Thursday.





The cross-country teams saw varied competition and courses this past week. The boys ran the 3.1-mile Peconic Invitational in Red Creek Park Thursday with the girls going the same distance in the Bob Pratt Invitational at Sunken Meadow Saturday. Class AA, A, B and C schools participated in those meets giving Pierson runners a sense of what they may see at the state finals.

Kai Leo set the pace for the Whalers Thursday finishing in 19 minutes and 21 seconds, fifth overall. Peter Skerys completed the 1.5-mile freshman course in 10:35, seventh overall.

The girls placed seventh out of 11 teams in Saturday’s meet. Keriann FitzPatrick posted a time of 23:51 to lead her teammates. Ameila Skerys, 24:11, Rafaela Gertler, 24:43, and Brianna Kinnier, 26:37, all came in close behind.

Tuesday took both teams to Indian River Country Club in Riverhead for a meet with Stony Brook. The Bears swept, their boys winning 20-37 and their girls getting away 28-29.

Leo, at 15:24 finished second overall Tuesday, leading his team by running at a 5:55-mile pace across the 2.6-mile-course. Kyle Fetcher, 16:48, was second on the team and fifth overall. James Frazier, 17:04, finished seventh overall and Brendan Sheil, 17:43, was eighth. Coach Joe Amato called the meet “a good showing, but it was not a win.”

Girls’ coach Jim Kinnier had his top three runners take second, third and fourth Tuesday but it was not enough for a win. Keriann FitzPatrick had her squad’s best time at 17:33, with Skerys, 17:43, and Gertler, 18:22, getting in just after her.

This weekend, the girls are going to Richmond, VA for the McDonald’s All-American Cross-Country Festival. The Harborfest 5K, a fund-raiser run earlier this month, made the trip south possible.


Girls’ Volleyball

The Lady Whaler volleyball team had its four-game win streak snapped at home Tuesday by first-place Shelter Island, 3-1. The team is now 4-2, tied for second place in League VIII, 4-3 overall.

Tuesday’s match had Shelter Island take game one 25-8. Pierson, led by co-captain Brianna Hand, out-hustled the Lady Indians for a 25-23 win in game two, but in the end the visitors prevailed 25-18 and 25-22 to close out play.

Coach Stacey Springer praised Hand saying, “She wanted to play so badly. She was hurt, but taped herself up. That helped us come together and stay strong in the middle.” In describing the difference between the two teams, Coach Springer noted, “They had one good server and we needed to cover [the floor] better during blocks and hits.”

In last Thursday’s 3-0 sweep of Stony Brook, Amanda Holder had four kills and two blocks to lead the team. Co-captain Devon Larsen added three digs and three aces. Coach Springer called it “a great game. Everybody played well. They were digging and covering; it was awesome.”

In tomorrow’s match with powerhouse Center Moriches, Coach Springer expects tough games and is looking for “a strong start.”


Boys’ Soccer

The Whalers had their first chance for points get away 3-2 last Friday when Greenport knocked in goal with three minutes left in a second overtime. Kyle McGowin scored both goals for Pierson, the first one giving the boys the lead in the early going and the second one tying the score in the second half.

A trip to Port Jefferson Monday put the team’s record at 0-4 in League VIII, the Royals racking up a 4-1 win. Coach Donnelly McGovern described the loss as “not as disheartening as the Greenport one,” adding, “We possessed the ball very well and had our chances. We were in the game despite the final score”.

In considering his team’s morale and play of late, Coach McGovern feels the players “are seeing where the breakdowns are occurring, so they are not seeing it as a wasted effort. Things we have been working on in training have been improving, but not to the point where it has brought us a victory.”

“Collectively, I was very pleased with our speed of play in the last two matches and the manner in which we have worked to possess the ball as a group.  This is something that must continue to improve when we’re under pressure because obviously we are having trouble finishing our opportunities.

For one, McGowin shares his coach’s optimism, saying after practice on Tuesday, “We think we should win every game. We’ve just been disappointed so far. Coach has been working with us to improve our mental and physical approach when we’re on the attack.” Underclassman Gabe Garro chimed in, “We’re going to pull through. We’ll get some wins in.”

Jake Federico, who has played a variety of positions in the mid-field, likes the team’s prospects, saying, “We have the potential to play with anyone. We’ve been in every game. We just have not put it all together yet. And that’s what we have to do.”


Boys’ Golf

Whaler varsity golf posted its first win Tuesday out-dueling Ross 7-2 at the East Hampton Golf Club. Eighth graders Dillon Decker and Gabe Denon, sophomore Jimmy Fusco and freshman Harrison Bayrami took their matches, Fusco and Bayrami bringing in team-low 45s.

Coach Sean Crowley reported afterwards, “It was a nice win. The young golfers came through for the team. The finishing holes were very difficult and the pressure was on.”  The boys are now 1-3 overall.

In last Thursday’s loss to Center Moriches at the Pine Hill Country Club, sophomore Jake Weingartner recorded a team-low round of 48.