Beth Vogelsang is already looking forward to next fall. The Huntington High School varsity girls’ cross country coach had so much fun during her first season leading the team that she can’t wait for the new campaign to begin next August.
The Blue Devils compiled a 3-3 record, finishing fourth in the league standings and 16th in Suffolk Class A. Junior Hadley Clayton and seniors Alexandra McKenzie and Nicole Arenth were Huntington’s captains.
Clayton was named Second Team All-League and McKenzie, Keily Rivas, Valerie Rogel and Christina Nigro were recognized as Honorable Mention All-League. Rogel and Ella Siepel were tapped for the All-Freshman team.
Huntington’s runners turned in some very fine performances during competitions at Sunken Meadow State Park. The Blue Devils even advanced to the Section XI state team qualifier.
Huntington High School varsity girls' cross country coach Beth Vogelsang.
“This team was truly a family,” Vogelsang said. “We developed a loving and trusting team culture. Each athlete pushed to their full potential. I cannot wait to see what these girls will bring next year. Almost all of our top seven runners are returning. With some summer workouts and their continued dedication to the sport, I feel really good things will happen for our team.”
Clayton was the best Blue Devil runner. “Hadley is very focused and driven,” Vogelsang said. “She crushed her PR and made it into the 21s (21 minutes) for the 5K distance at Sunken Meadow.”
McKenzie also enjoyed a fine senior season. “Alliy stayed consistent and healthy,” Vogelsang said. “She stayed in the top four of every race.”
Nigro was the team’s most motivated runner. New to the sport, she posted a personal best result in nearly every race.
Rivas was impressive during her junior year season. “Keily is a very hardworking individual and she came up big in important races,” Vogelsang said.
Junior Sophie Dellecave shook off an early season illness to finish strong, establishing a new personal best time.
Rogel shined during her freshman year. “She’s a young, mighty and fierce competitor,” Vogelsang said. “Her motivation and work ethic brings light to the future.”
The Blue Devils are losing Arenth, McKenzie, Nigro and Bridgette Starr to graduation. Clayton, Rivas, Dellecave, Rogel, Siepel and Katie Burton will head into the 2018 season as six of the team’s top seven runners. “The seventh is to be determined,” Vogelsang said. “It’s a solid crew. We finished in a good spot last fall, but we are hoping that next season we will accomplish even more.”
Colette Baron, Kaylee Dammers, Yasmin Khilji-Neal, Diya Rai-Gersappe and Erika Varady will also be returning to the fold next fall. Vogelsang is looking forward to several J. Taylor Finley Middle School cross country team veterans making the jump to the high school level.