Dan White Hopes for a Run; Craig Brierley’s Swimmers Are on One

East Hampton’s boys swimming team has won in each of its first four outings
With 31 on its squad, the boys swimming team is the largest of East Hampton High’s winter entries. Craig Macnaughton Photos

Not again! Yes, another 1-point game, the fourth in the seven games the East Hampton High School boys basketball team has played thus far this season. 

Despite Saturday’s 54-53 nonleague loss at East Islip, however, Dan White, East Hampton’s coach, said during a telephone conversation Sunday that he’d been rendered ecstatic by his short-handed team’s effort. 

Without the services of Turner Foster, Max Proctor, and Christian Johnson, all of them starters, White asked bench players, namely Nic Esquivel, Logan Gurney, Liam Leach, Frank Belluci, and Shane Musnicki, “who hasn’t started in three years,” to step up.

And, frankly, he said, East Hampton, which has won one of the aforementioned 1-point decisions, had been treated shabbily in the endgame by a referee, who ruled that Malachi Miller wasn’t behind the arc when, with three seconds left in regulation, he launched, in spite of being fouled, what appeared to be a game-tying 3-pointer. He would be glad to forward a video of that shot, the coach said.

Nevertheless, as aforesaid, he had been thrilled with the way his charges had played. 

Miller finished with 21 points, Gurney, with 12, Leach, with 6, Jeremy Vizcaino, with 6, Belluci, with 4, and Esquivel and Musnicki, with 2 each.

Musnicki in particular had done himself proud, coming down, as he did, with “about a dozen rebounds in the 25 minutes he played. 

“It’s interesting — everyone wants to win, but I was ecstatic with their effort,” White said of Musnicki and the other rise-to-the-occasion bench players. “East Islip is a tough, well-coached team. Hopefully, we can get on a run now.”

East Hampton’s boys swimming team, coached by Craig Brierley, has been on a run, having won in each of its first four outings, though the meat of League II’s swim meets is coming soon, Brierley said over the weekend.

Northport-Commack (Tuesday), Hauppauge (next Thursday), which won the league last year, and Sayville-Bayport (on Jan. 14) will be real tests, the coach said, “though we’ll have Hauppauge and Sayville in our pool, which [because there’ll be no diving] will keep it even.”

Most recently, East Hampton (again exhibitioning in some events so the score wouldn’t appear so lopsided) defeated Deer Park 89-62.

Among the winners were Ethan McCormac, in the 200 free, Ryan Duryea, in the 50 free, Aidan Forst, in the 100 butterfly, Edward Hoff, in the 100 free, and Joey Badilla, in the 100 breaststroke. All three relay teams won, though the 400 team (Ryan Duryea, Thor Botero, Nicky Badilla, and Jack Duryea) was exhibitioned.

Thus far, four Bonackers — Forst, Ethan McCormac, Tenzin Tamang, and Hoff — have qualified for the county meet, Forst and Tamang in the 100 fly, McCormac in the 50 and 200 free, and Hoff in the 50 free. McCormac has also qualified to compete in the state meet in the 50 and 200 freestyle races.

“We’re hoping to qualify a couple of relay teams for the state meet, and one or two more in the individual events, as well,” said Brierley.

Turning to winter track, Ava Engstrom, who her coach, Yani Cuesta says, “is kicking butt,” set another school mark in the 3,000-meter race at Suffolk Community College-Brentwood on Dec. 23, placing third in 10 minutes and 50.59 seconds.

Engstrom, who’s only a sophomore, had set her sights on the 1,500 when the indoor season began a few weeks ago, but is zeroing in on the 3,000 now. “She’s so much stronger than she was last year,” said Cuesta. “Her best 3,000 time last year was an 11:16. She wants to go to the New Balance nationals, but she’ll have to get down to a 10:42 to do that. . . . She’s very serious about running — just like her brother, Erik.”

Cuesta, who only had four girls come out for winter track last year, but has a dozen now, said that Lillie Minskoff, a junior jumper, sprinter, and middle-distance runner, was performing wonderfully as the team’s captain. 

Others on the team are Juliana Barahona, a sophomore shot-putter; Grace Brosnan, a freshman high jumper and hurdler; Julia Caldwell, a freshman sprinter and jumper; Anna Carman, a sophomore sprinter, jumper, and middle-distance runner; Marisol Chamale, a junior sprinter and jumper; Isabella Espinoza, a sophomore pole-vaulter; Megan Fowkes, a junior racewalker; Penelope Greene, a sophomore long-distance runner; Leah Hatch, a junior sprinter, middle-distance runner, and long jumper, and JiJi Kramer, a senior racewalker.

Turner Foster, at right, with Malachi Miller behind him, was one of Saturday’s absentees. Craig Macnaughton