A fleet-footed set of runners propelled the J. Taylor Finley Middle School girls’ cross country team to a successful season. The Falcons compiled a 5-2 mark as several exceptional athletes emerged to pace the squad.
Captained by eighth graders Ella Siepel, Valerie Rogel, Kaylee Dammers and Isabella DiBenedetto, the Falcons were coached by track veteran Bob Nill.
Siepel was Finley’s top runner with Rogel and Dammers not far behind. Rogel was consistently among the race leaders at the finish line while Dammers paced the pack at two meets.
Siepel’s best times for distances of one mile and 1.5 miles were 6:28 and 10:12. Rogel (6:27 and 10:16) and Dammers (6:17 and 10:36) also turned in swift efforts.
The Falcons conquered Hauppauge, Elwood, Northport, Oldfield and Stimson. Finley dropped meets to East Northport and Commack.
“The girls had a great season,” Nill said. “We competed very against East Northport and Commack, who were both very strong teams.”
Looking ahead to next year, Nill said Finley’s top returning runners will be Erin Ye, Christina Drummings, Sydney Cordeiro, Lauren Landolfi, Nina Varvatsas, Finley Dunn, Hannah Richmond and Olivia Conte.
Huntington is striving to develop a championship varsity girls’ cross country program and the athletes on the 2016 Finley squad are expected to play prominent roles in that quest.