Submitted by Coach Vin Ungaro
From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, the Bayport-Blue Point Girls Winter Track and Field Team competed at Suffolk Community College for the Section XI Small School County Championship. All four hours were stressful as the meet wasn’t determined until the last event was completed. After fifteen events were scored, the Phantoms were able to celebrate their big win and their coaches could breathe a sigh of relief.
Going into the meet, Bayport-Blue Point and Miller Place knew they would both be competing against each other for the county title. Many other teams including Westhampton Beach, Comsewogue and Huntington were also in the mix however based on the maximum number of points possible to be scored, it looked as if it would be a two team race for the top spot. Just six days earlier BBP had defeated Miller Place in the League V championship meet however the county meet is a whole different kind of animal.
The number of teams expands from the smallest eleven schools in Suffolk County to half of the schools in county, bringing the total of teams to twenty six. Based on the seeds prior to the start, Bayport-Blue Point could be said to have a small advantage, however as Miller Place is defending county champs, it would have been foolish to think the phantoms had any substantial edge.
As usual the dominance of the Miller Place distance team started the meet off great for their team taking first, second and third place in the first event, the 3000 meter run, scoring an amazing 24 points. What would be a foreshadowing of things to come, junior Brianna Delzell stepped up and took fifth place behind Miller Place and scored two points for BBP they were not supposed to score. Next up came the 55 meter dash semi-finals as Kathleen Cibuls of BBP took second place and made the final race as expected.
In the following race Taylor Darby won the unseeded heat of the 1000 meter run but gave the phantoms an unexpected surprise by edging out one of the girls from the seeded section of the race by 0.03 seconds and scoring a much needed point for the phantoms. Kathleen Cibuls, thanks to her brother driving her forgotten racing flats from home to the meet before finals, took the lead just before the finish line to win the 55 meter dash finals and score ten points (two more than she was seeded).
In one of the more impressive and surprising performances of the day for the phantoms, senior Courtney Bofinger toed the line for the 1500 meter racewalk as the eight seed. In an event where the competitors have rules as to how their knees have to be locked as their legs pass underneath their hips and they are not allowed to lose contact with the ground, Bofinger had the race of her life and set a PR (personal record) by over 25 seconds taking fourth place and scoring four points for the team when she was not slated to score any. At that point in the meet, Miller Place still led with their 24 points from the first event.
Courtney Dooley gave Bayport-Blue Point its first lead of the night after taking second place in the 600 meter run and scoring eight points giving BBP a total of 25. After five events, the phantoms made back up the points Miller Place in just the first event. Not to be outdone, the Guevara twins of Miller Place came back from their one-two finish in the 3000 meters with a one-four finish in the 1500 meters. Another fourteen points for MP, but Jeami Van Weele took third in the shot put getting BBP another six points. Miller Place now had a seven point lead and added another four points to it when their high jumper placed fourth.
The phantoms responded by having three girls (Kathleen Cibuls, Dariya Dolan and Kerri Nickel) make the finals of the 55 meter hurdles. In finals Bayport-Blue Point finished with eleven points putting them one point behind Miller Place in the overall standings, 43 to 42. At that point there were four events left; the three relays and long jump finals. Kathleen Cibuls, already a winner in the 55 meters and second place finisher in the hurdles, on her last jump took the lead and held on to win the long jump scoring ten points and giving BBP a 52 to 43 lead.
The next event up was the 4x800 meter relay in which Miller Place was the first place seed by over thirty seconds. They did as expected and walked away with a meet record but the real big move in points came from the phantoms moving up from their four seed to a second place finish.
Senior Cassie Dooley led off the relay and handed off ahead of Miller Place to her sister Courtney, back on the track after her 2nd place finish in the 600 meters. Courtney ran a gutsy race and gave the baton to sophomore Maddy Fiorentine who knew full well she was running against one of the best runners in the state in Miller Place’s Talia Guevara.
That nervousness did not deter her from running her best 800 meter time and getting the baton to senior Caroline Giunta who also had to race a Guevara sister and ran her fastest time as well locking up the second place finish for the relay. With two events left, the score: BBP 60 – Miller Place 53.
The 4x400 meter relay went off and Miller Place outperformed their 6th place seed taking fourth while BBP underperformed and dropped a spot to fifth. It was a tough race, with a lot on the line and many runners coming back to race it after competing earlier in the race.
With Miller Place’s finish, they made the overall standings BBP 62-Miller Place 57, but more importantly, gave their team a chance to win it in the 4x200 meter relay. Miller Place was in the second section of the race with BBP and won it convincingly taking away any chance for points for the phantoms. With the fast section on the track it came down to this: if Miller Place’s time held up for third place or better they would win.
As the final race of the night unfolded, going into the last lap it was clear Miller Place would not take first or second, but no one on the track knew who would take spots three through six. The results as they had been were not posted on the display board as they had been all night.
Due to a tie at sixth that had to be determined by thousands of a second, the final standings took minutes longer than expected only to the girls on the team it felt like a lifetime of waiting. As the final results of the meet were announced and second place was given to Miller Place, the BBP girls knew it was at long last time to celebrate their victory.
This win is the first in over a decade for Bayport-Blue Point in the small school indoor county meet. The last victory was in 2003 under Coach Iberger and Assistant Coach Burke. An amazing statistic now is that Coach Burke has been a part of all nine BBP Track and Field county championships. There are now girls on the team that have won a county championship in each of the three seasons; Cross Country, Winter Track and Field and Spring Track and Field.
The girls that scored points in the meet were as follows: Kathleen Cibuls (28), Courtney Dooley (10), Jeami Van Weele (6), Courtney Bofinger (4), Dariya Dolan (2.5), Brianna Delzell (2), Cassie Dooley (2), Maddy Fiorentine (2), Caroline Giunta (2), Kerri Nickel (1), Taylor Darby (1), Stephanie Silver (0.5), Brigitte Strobl (0.5) and Ashley Magnifico (0.5). According to all stats available to Coach Ungaro, Kathleen Cibuls’ 28 points in a winter county meet are a school record.