East Hampton boys' track finishes season as Shoreline League champions
By Kevin Hotary - Staff Writer
East Hampton - posted Mon., Jun. 6, 2011
“We’ve had a great year,” said East Hampton High School head track coach Bill Wilkie, as members of his team prepared for the Class S state championship tournament. And even that might be a bit of an understatement for a boys’ team that went undefeated in the league, including the Shoreline League championship tournament, where only 3 points separated the top three teams going into the last event. The Bellringers finished on top, with a half-point separating second and third.
“It always comes down to the last couple of events,” said Wilkie. Knowing that, he puts some top - and well-rested - athletes in the final events, “so if the team is still in the hunt, we know we’re going to finish strong,” he said.
A strong indoor season in which the boys placed second in the championships led Wilkie to believe that the outdoor season would be successful.
“We kept 99 percent of the athletes that did indoor this year, and we picked up some talented athletes to fill in. We expected to be a strong team,” said Wilkie.
It also helps to have a team that is loaded with seniors – 18 between the boys’ and girls’ teams, said Wilkie.
And while younger members do contribute to the overall team success, “junior and senior boys are the ones who score the predominant number of points in track and field. It’s just really, really hard for a freshman boy, who’s 14, to compete against an 18-year-old man,” said Wilkie.
By the same token, next year’s team is going to count heavily on some less experienced athletes, but Wilkie is encouraged.
“We got a really good core of juniors that scored quite a few points, and we have a huge sophomore class. So as they physically mature, we’re hoping that a lot of them really step up in performance,” he said.
East Hampton High School Head Track Coach Bill Wilkie.
Thirteenth year as head coach.
Heading a team loaded with talented seniors, and after a very strong indoor season, Wilkie believed that this would be a good year for the Bellringer boys, who went undefeated. “We’ve seen this senior cohort develop over the last four years. We started in November and we knew we were going to be a good program,” he said.
Ben DeCrescente - Junior, Pole Vault: “He’s one of our best pole vaulters,” said Wilkie of DeCrescente, who was state indoor champion, and placed third in the outdoor state tournament (teammate Nate Abraham won the state title). “He was one of the best vaulters in the state during the indoor season,” said Wilkie, and he has vaulted 13 feet outdoors, winning the Shoreline tournament. “Only a couple of vaulters in the state have vaulted higher than that,” said Wilkie.
Jeff Pratt - Junior, Shot Put: Ranked number 4 in the state, Pratt finished fourth in the June 2 State Tournament, a tournament that Wilkie said he has the potential to win. Between his sophomore and junior years, Pratt “made a huge improvement in attitude, work ethic, size, speed, everything,” said Wilkie, making him “one of the athletes we’re going to count on to help us redevelop next year.”