The Huntington girls’ cross country team is putting the county on notice. The Blue Devils finished fourth in the overall standings at the Suffolk Coaches Invitational at Sunken Meadow State Park as the squad continues on the upswing.
First year head coach Beth Vogelsang has the Blue Devils motoring right along. Many Suffolk coaches are surprised at just how competitive Huntington is this year. With so many talented underclassmen on the roster, the momentum is expected to continue well into the future.
The Blue Devils were impressive at Sunken Meadow in a race drew runners from more than 20 Nassau and Suffolk high schools.
Junior Keily Rivas paced all Huntington runners by finishing 14th in the 5K race that drew 131 entries. The teenager navigated her way around the difficult course in a swift 22:50.45.
Junior Hadley Clayton wasn’t far behind Rivas in the race. She crossed the finish line in 21st place with a time of 23:13.26. Freshman Valerie Rogel also ran well, placing 25th in 23:33.43.
“Last weekend was a step in the right direction, leading to a great race for me and many of my teammates at our meet on Tuesday, with lots of personal bests all around,” Clayton said. “I’m looking to go under 22:00 in the 5k and drop to an 18:45 in the 2.8 mile race by the end of the season. It’s great to be on a team with so many hardworking talented runners, as we all work off of each other and push one another to be our best. The team has been training hard and putting in the work to hopefully lead to a great championship season.”
Rogel has turned heads in Suffolk as she posts strong results in race after race. “Saturday’s run was difficult, but rewarding,” the teenager said. “Overall, I’ve seen some considerable improvement of my times and despite being such a tough course, the Sunken Meadow 5k was definitely worthwhile for me. The amount of work we put in as a group has really paid off and I couldn’t ask for better teammates. As a freshman, there’s no telling what my potential is for the coming years, but I hope to break 22:15 for the 5ks at Sunken Meadow and 19:00 for the 2.8 mile races. It’s truly a wonderful experience training with such hardworking and talented girls.”
Huntington freshman Ella Siepel (37th; 24:36.96), senior Christina Nigro (50th; 25:27.35) and junior Sophie Dellecave (51st; 25:42.14 all ran well at the Suffolk Coaches Invitational. Junior Colette Baron also gave the Blue Devils everything she had, finishing the race ahead of 29 other runners in a time of 29:14.77.
While Huntington was best in the team standings by such long established programs as Sachem North, Kings Park and West Babylon, the Blue Devils outpaced squads from Northport, Miller Place, Floral Park, William Floyd, Center Moriches, Half Hollow Hills, Clarke, Calhoun, Commack and many other schools.