The Ghoul Waves defeated the reigning champion Beetlejuice in the 2019 Coffin Races Saturday afternoon. Photo: Denise Civiletti

The Ghoul Waves defeated Beetlejuice, the reigning coffin race champions, to win the title in Riverhead’s 2019 Coffin Races this afternoon on Griffing Avenue.

The Ghoul Waves may have had a tiny advantage. Besides being roughly half the age of their opponents, they are members of the Riverhead High School track team. Connor Brennan, Matthew Yakaboski, William Green, Benjamin Catanzaro and rider Zach Lull took their victory in stride.

The Ghoul Waves defeat Beetlejuice in their first heat. Photo: Buddy Britt

The Ghouls defeated Beetlejuice the first time they met. Then Beetlejuice faced Lucharito’s for the right to run the final heat — as the Ghouls had a chance to rest. Beetlejuice edged out Lucharito’s in a photo finish and then went right back to the starting line for the final heat.

Eight teams — each consisting of four runners and a rider, all in costume — raced their coffins in two-by-two heats up Griffing Avenue. A large crowd turned out to cheer the racers on as they ran from Second Street to the crosswalk in front of the State Supreme Court building. The steps of the courthouse provided ideal stadium seating for the crowd.

In the youth division, Revenge of the Pumpkins defeated the Lil Reapers.

RiverheadLOCAL photos by Denise Civiletti

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.