The Huntington High School girls’ cross country team took a giant leap forward last fall, winning all but one dual meet, finishing second in the league and 14th in Section XI. Despite losing an outstanding group seniors to graduation, the Blue Devils are looking to keep up their forward momentum.
Coached by high school physical education teacher Beth Vogelsang, the returning corps of runners includes senior Diya Rai-Gersappe, juniors Taylor Case, Kaylee Dammers, Brianna Isaza, Valerie Rogel, Ella Siepel and Adamaris Ventura and sophomore Erin Ye.
Huntington cross country coach Beth Vogelsang.
Rogel ran to first team All-League and All-Division honors last fall, turning in the eighth fastest 5K time in Huntington girls’ cross country history. Siepel captured second team All-League recognition.
“I am so excited for the upcoming cross country season,” Rogel said. “We have a lot of new talent among the freshmen and I’m looking forward to getting to know them as we compete together. As for my personal goals, I am hoping to break 21 minutes on the challenging Sunken Meadow 5k course and I would love to place 25th or better at the state qualifier meet. I am anticipating a great season for the whole team and I know we can all look forward to a tough, but rewarding experience.”
Huntington won the 2018 sophomore county championship race. Those same runners are now poised to take the Blue Devils to the next level, but it won’t be easy. The squad expects to engage in grueling training over the next few weeks.
Dual meets are scheduled with Half Hollow Hills East, Northport, Lindenhurst, Connetquot and North Babylon. There are also numerous invitational competitions along with various championship races.
“Cross country has always been my favorite running season of the year, so I’m extremely excited for it to begin,” Siepel said. “With last year’s seniors graduated, our team shrunk considerably and it can sometimes be hard for us to find new members, but I’m thrilled to see how many new recruits have decided to join this year. I look forward to getting to know my new teammates and I’m sure we will become a tightly-knit community as we always are. As for my personal goals, I’m hoping to run a time of 21:30 or faster on the Sunken Meadow 5k course. I hope to see my team succeed this year and I’m excited to learn what all of our new runners can do.”
Four incoming freshmen who shined on the J. Taylor Finley Middle School team last fall are expected to bolster the Blue Devils’ ranks. The ninth graders include Talia Addeo, Sophie Bradford, Natalie Dunn and Allison Malone. A group of newcomers to the sport are also expected to begin training with the team this week.
With the season getting underway this week, Huntington’s determination and willingness to work hard shouldn’t be underestimated. With Rogel and Siepel leading the pack, the Blue Devils plan to energetically pursue their lofty goals.