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Smithtown East

Several Port Jeff runners participate in the Suffolk County cross-country championships held at Sunken Meadow State Park on Friday, Nov. 3. Photo by Bob O’Rourk

By Samantha Rutt

Each year, the Suffolk County cross-country championships are held at Sunken Meadow State Park, where the county’s best teams toe the line. Runners race a full 5 kilometers, or 3.1 miles, around the park, winding meandering trails and climbing daunting hills.

Parents, friends and spectators alike lined the course on a sunny, brisk November afternoon. With a chorus of voices cheering, signs flaunting and cowbells ringing — a cross-country staple — a spectacle emerged as the races unfolded.

For the third straight year, the Northport Lady Tigers emerged victorious at the Suffolk County championships on Friday afternoon, Nov. 3.

Led by freshman phenom Mia Wickard, the Tigers earned 57 points over Ward Melville’s 104. Northport’s commanding win earned the team a spot at the New York State meet start line next Saturday, Nov. 11.

The Suffolk County championship meet is the state qualifier, sending the winning team and the top-five finishers — not from the first-place team, but from each class — to the statewide championship.

“Not sure if I could be prouder of this group of kids,” said Northport head coach Gregg Cantwell. “The girls’ dedication and the depth of our team was key for us on Friday.”

Wickard, Northport’s top finisher, placed third in the Class A race at 19:24.51. Rounding out the scorers were seventh graders Fiona King and Jane Tucker with juniors Kayla Forsch and Maggie Taylor, each running a personal best time.

“Our top six girls [including Cate Coronato] ran their best times on the course — a few by a lot,” Cantwell emphasized of his team’s clutch performance. “We now have six all-county ranking girls, which is the most of any boys or girls team, and I am extremely happy about that.”

Joining Northport’s Lady Tigers next week, the Cougar boys of Commack High School bested their Class A rivals, collecting only 64 points and extending their postseason journey.

“Our goal every season is to try and win a league, division and county championship,” Commack coach Paul Sleavensky said. “This is the first time in program history that we were the Section XI [Suffolk County] champions,” adding, “I’m extremely proud of their performance at the state-qualifier meet.”

The Port Jefferson Royals won the boys Class C race, tallying 19 points over Mattituck’s 62. Junior Colin Veit paced the Royals, earning the individual title, as all five of the high school’s scorers placed within the top six, marking an impressive victory for the team.

“I’m very proud of our team,” said Port Jeff’s coach Andy Cosci. “We have a nice tradition here in Port Jeff, being a very successful program over the years.”

He added, “It’s not easy to win counties, and the team has worked very hard since August to accomplish that goal.”

Smithtown West’s Douglas Antaky and Rocky Point’s Trevor Green, individual champions of Class A and Class B, respectively, will make the trip to the New York State meet. Antaky, a senior, outran his opponents, completing the course in 16:09.53. Green, only a sophomore, earned his first county cross-country title, defeating his competition while running a 16:31.01.

“My goal going into this meet was to break 17 minutes and place in the top five,” Green said. “I definitely was not expecting to win with the great competition in Class B this year.”

For runners advancing into the postseason, this week will involve preparation for the meets ahead.

“The focus for the next week and beyond is going to be that our toughest races are ahead of us and that we have a chance to do something special,” Northport’s coach Cantwell said of his team.

The NYS cross-country championship meet will be held Saturday, Nov. 11, at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School in Verona.

Fresh off their season opening road win against Copiague, the Newfield Wolverines hosted Smithtown East in their home opener where they struggled against the Bulls potent offense, trailing by two after three quarters of play.

Smithtown East junior Lucy Tomasic’s shot found its mark at the 3 minutes, 24 seconds mark of the second quarter for the Bulls first goal of the game. Teammate Shannon Pettit off an assist from Katie Cummings rocked the box midway through the third quarter for the insurance goal in the 2-0 win in Division 1 play Sept. 7. 

Last year’s League II powerhouse Smithtown East came knocking on Ward Melville’s door in the opening round of the 2022 campaign in which both teams lost just one game last season. The Bulls of Smithtown East finished at 10-1 in league last season, and the Patriots went 11-1 which set the tone in the first set. 

Both teams stayed within three points of one another in the opening game that required the Patriots to win by two with a 27-25 victory. The second round saw both teams swapping the lead several times but the Patriots were able hold off the charging Bulls to take the second set 25-23. The Patriots stretched their legs in the third set breaking out to an 8-point lead thanks in part to a strong performance from the service line winning it 25-16 for the sweep at home Sept. 2. 

Both teams are back in action Sept. 7 when Ward Melville travels to Bay Shore for non-league game at 4:15 p.m., and Smithtown East travels to Centereach with a 4 p.m. start.

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Riverhead rattled off three unanswered goals to tie the game five all to end the first half against the Bulls of Smithtown East in a home game April 30, but it was Smithtown East midfielder Ava Arceri’s stick that made the difference when the sophomore scored her eighth goal of the game to win the Division I matchup, 13-10. 

Arceri had an assist to go along with it, with teammates Jenna Soto scoring her hat-trick with two assists, and Nina DeNicola scored twice with one assist in the victory. Grace McDonald had eight saves in net. The win lifts the Bulls to 7-3 with four games remaining in regular season play before the playoffs begin.

It was the Huntington Blue Devils defense that kept the Bulls at bay at Smithtown High School East where East trailed 33-7 at the half time break. Huntington coasted in the second half to notch a 48-20 victory in the League III matchup Dec. 14.

Huntington senior forward Emily Plachta led the way for the Blue Devils with seven field goals a triple and three from the line for 20 points, teammates Gianna Forte banked nine and Junie Nosile battled in the paint for six points. Smithtown East juniors Darcy DeBenedittis and Josie Lent scored four points apiece for the Bulls.

The win lifts Huntington to 3-0 in league play, 6-0 overall. The loss drops Smithtown East to 1-2 in league, 1-4 overall. Both teams are back in action Dec. 17 when Smithtown East has a road game against Copiague at 4 p.m. and Huntington hosts Hills East with a 5 p.m. start.

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Smithtown East (No 5.) fresh off their upset victory over top seeded Northport Oct. 30 had their hands full with their cross-town rival Smithtown West (No. 3) at North Babylon High School for the Suffolk AA title match Nov 2. It was Smithtown West senior Julia Tylar who scored the ice breaker with 16:33 left in the game off a penalty kick that was the difference in the game. Smithtown East rallied in the final minutes with a penalty kick of their own, but Megan Peet made the stop as West hung on for the win and with it advance to the Long Island Championship round.Smithtown East concludes their season with an impressive 9-2-3 record.

West will face Massapequa Nov. 6 at Shoreham-Wading River high school. Game time is 4:00 p.m.

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On Sept. 9, Smithtown East led 20-11 in the first set and let Ward Melville right back in it when the Patriots rallied to win 25-21. The Bull’s answered in the second set squeezing out a two-point win to tie the match at one all. The Patriots countered in the third set edging the Bulls by four, but Smithtown East dominated the fourth set winning by 10 to force a game five. The Patriots picked their spots and took the deciding final set 15-11 to win the match 3-2 on the road.

Jaron Popp a junior led the Patriots with 22 kills, and senior Timmy Chu notched 51 assists followed by Dylan Fagan who killed 14 and had 18 digs in the contest. Both teams retake the court Sept 14 where the Patriots host West Hampton and the Bulls hit the road to take on Comsewogue. Game times are 4:15 and 5:45 p.m. respectively.

Huntington’s boys basketball team trailed by two after the first eight minutes of play but then the Bulls of Smithtown East dropped the hammer and outscored the Blue Devils by 28 points to put the game away 66-36 in a non-league matchup at home, Dec. 5. Zac Chandler had the hot hand for Smithtown East draining four triples, three field goals andthree3 points from the line to lead his team with 21 points. Jared Borner followed with 12 points and Nick Lardaro added 11.

Huntington seniors Omari Stephen and Daniel Danziger topped the scoring chart for the Blue Devils with 10 points apiece. Huntington has another non-league game at Cold Spring Harbor Dec. 10 before they open league Dec. 12 when they host Harbor Hills East. Game time is 5:45 p.m.

Smithtown East will host Roslyn Dec. 7 at 10 a.m. before their league opener Dec. 12 at home against East Islip. Tipoff is 4 p.m.

It was a scoreless game Sept. 23 for the first 60 minutes as the Comsewogue boys soccer team looked to put more points on the win column in the early season, but the Bulls of Smithtown East peppered the scoreboard with three unanswered goals in the final 18 minutes to put the game away. Senior Noah Lavrenchik scored for the Bulls as did junior midfielder Nicholas Zodda. Sophomore forward Liam Stanley rounded out the scoring to lift the Bulls to 4-0-1 in league IV, 5-0-1 overall. The Comsewogue Warriors currently sit at 2-3.

Comsewogue hit the road Sept. 25 against East Islip. Smithtown East looked to build on their winning momentum when they took on Deer Park at home — also on Sept. 25. Game times are 4:30pm and 4:00pm respectively.

Newfield’s offense struggled early on being held scoreless in the first half in its Division II season opener against visiting Smithtown East Sept. 13. The Wolverines were able to gain traction in the second half, and it was wide receiver Hunter Hughes’ reception from quarterback Maxwell Martin on short yardage to tie the game on the final play of regulation.

After a scoreless first overtime period Martin found Hughes again from 5 yards out when the senior made the catch and again found the end zone for the game winner.

Martin threw for 106 yards on 15 attempts and Eric Dougherty rushed for 46 yards on 7 carries.

The foot of Smithtown East senior Anthony Weidtman had field goals 45, 43 and 42 yards along with 2 points after scores for 11 points.

The Wolverines will look to build on their momentum when they hit the road Sept. 21 against Bellport. Game time is 2 p.m. Smithtown East is also back in action Sept. 21 when they travel to Deer Park for a 1:30 start.