The Huntington High School varsity girls’ cross country team is off and running with a new coach this season. The Blue Devils have been training for the past two weeks as a mix of veterans and newcomers prep for competition.
Huntington physical education teacher Beth Vogelsang has assumed the head coaching position after veteran cross country mentor Debra Cheskes stepped aside for child care related reasons.
“The energy and excitement that the team has brought to every practice so far makes me feel a huge sense of pride,” Vogelsang said. “I’m thrilled to see what the girls will bring to our upcoming meets this season. I’m very lucky to have the opportunity to coach these athletes because I get to see their strong work ethic displayed day in and out.”
Beth Vogelsang is the new coach of Huntington's cross country team.
The roster consists of seniors Nicole Arenth, Alexandra McKenzie, Nicole Nigro and Bridgette Starr; juniors Colette Barron, Katie Burton, Hadley Clayton, Sophie Dellecave, Yasmin Khoikhoi-Neal, Keily Rivas and Erika Varady; sophomore Diya Rai-Gersappe and freshmen Ella Siepel, Valerie Rogel and Kaylee Dammers.
“Cross country is unlike any other sport and really focuses not only on physical strength, but mental strength just as equally,” Vogelsang said. My seniors shed such a positive tone and are proud to represent our cross country team and the juniors follow this same enthusiastic attitude. Our sophomore and freshmen runners have bright futures ahead of them on our team.
The team is still in the process of developing, but early indications are that Clayton, Rivas, McKenzie, Dellecave and Rogel are expected to lead the Blue Devils. (Varady is recovering from an injury.)
Huntington lost Alexis Pastorelli, Louise Koepele and Marina Ruzic to graduation. Last year’s team compiled a 4-2 mark to finish third in the league standings. The Blue Devils won the Suffolk sophomore championships and finished fifth in the Bob Pratt Invitational.
Huntington defeated West Islip, Northport, Walt Whitman and North Babylon in league action. The Blue Devils dropped meets to Bay Shore and Riverhead. The highlight of the season came at the Suffolk sophomore championships. Clayton (19:11.27), Dellecave (19:37.01), Rivas (19:44.98), Varady (21:26.62) and Baron (22:21.27) ran their fastest times of the season on Sunken Meadow State Park’s 2.8 mile course to capture first place in the team standings.