BAYMEN 86 1/2, CLIPPERS 63 1/2
The coach of the Greenport/Southold high school girls track and field team — the team without a home — must have felt truly at home. And why not? Mike Gunther lives a little more than a long discus throw away from Hampton Bays High School. Not only that, but he is a former assistant coach for the Baymen’s boys and girls teams.
Gunther’s influence may be the only thing the two track programs share in common. Hampton Bays has a beautiful, bright, all-weather track surrounding field turf, with a new scoreboard to go with it; the Clippers practice on a dirt track at Greenport High School and run all their meets on the road. Hampton Bays has an established program; the Clippers are in only their second year since the re-introduction of the sport in Greenport.
The Clippers are the ultimate underdogs. They raised their roster size from 13 in 2014 to 25, but 13 of their current athletes are in their first year in track. Nonetheless, the Clippers (2-3, 2-2 Suffolk County League VIII) have made strides. They have already improved upon their 1-5 record of last year with wins over The Ross School and Wyandanch.
Gunther’s homecoming against Hampton Bays on Monday was a chance to add another mark in the win column, but it wasn’t to be for the Clippers. Hampton Bays (1-4, 0-4 League VII) ran off to an 86 1/2-63 1/2 non-league win.
The highlight of the afternoon for the Clippers might have been Raeann Berry’s rousing comeback victory in the 800 meters. Berry, a junior, and teammate Hayley Brigham both trailed five Hampton Bays runners before recovering to take first and second places. Berry won in 3 minutes 0.8 seconds. Brigham, a freshman, was timed in 3:02.0.
Berry also ran the opening leg for Greenport/Southold’s winning 4×400-meter relay team. Heather Koscinch, Angie Bucci and Angelina Pagano also ran in that relay, which the Clippers completed in 5:11.2.
Kyla Smiley, Adeline Haugen and Stephanie King turned in winning performances for the Clippers, too. Smiley finished first in the 100-meter dash in 14.2 seconds, 3/10ths of a second ahead of the runner-up, teammate Isabelle Simon. Haugen won the 1,500-meter walk in 10:48.6. King threw the shot put 22 feet.
The Clippers picked up a glut of second-place showings. Among them were Kaitlyn Kettenbeil in the triple jump (26-7 1/2), Emelys Villareal in the 400 (1:12.5), Smiley in the 200 (30.2), Pagano in the 100-meter high hurdles (20.8) and the 400-meter intermediate hurdles (1:22.9), Koscinch in the 3,000 (14:09.9), Simon in the long jump (12-6 1/2) and Cinthia Gonzalez in the discus (63-6).