The J. Taylor Finley Middle School co-ed cross country program introduced competitive running to more than a dozen seventh and eighth graders, who then combined with the squad’s returning veterans to help the Falcons keep pace with Suffolk opponents.
The squad consisted of seventh graders Talia Addeo, Jaden Argaman, Sophie Bradford, Annika Galvin, Matthew Girardi, Kendall Germain, Samuel James, Allison Malone, James Rosselli, Charles Siepel and Logan Toth and eighth graders Sarah Berry, Robert Eriksen, Claudio Gomez, James Kretschmer, Lauren Landolfi, Jonathan Larice, Harris Levinson, Matthew Levinson, Luke Palios, Christian Palios, Nicholas Seitz, William Spada and Erin Ye.
Coached by Mark Jackson, the group was captained by Ye, Bradford, Levinson and Larice. The highlight of the season for both the boys’ and girls’ teams came against Northport. The Finley boys’ captured victory by a single point while the Falcon girls’ squad claimed a two-point win. “The kids ran hard and cheered until the last one finished,” Jackson said.
Ye was Finley’s top female runner, covering a mile in a season best time of 6:51 and 1.5 miles in 11:24. Rosselli was the top runner on the boys’ squad, clocking in a 5:50 over a mile distance and 9:06 for 1.5 miles. Spada turned in the fastest one mile time of any Finley runner, finishing in 5:48.
“Erin is one of my most outspoken athletes,” Jackson said. “Being one of my captains, she leads the girls’ team on and off the course.”
Rosselli was a standout in his first year on the team. “James was the newcomer every coach wishes for,” Jackson said. “He has high energy and is an amazing runner.”
Most of the Finley team is still learning how to train and compete in cross country, but everyone made progress. “Both the girls’ and boys’ teams were talented,” Jackson said. “The seventh graders on both teams had amazing performances and made great contributions.”
Looking ahead to next fall, Bradford, Malone, Rosselli and Toth will be among the top returnees.