The Huntington girls’ cross country team turned in its best performance of the fall at the St. Anthony’s Invitational at Sunken Meadow State Mark. The Blue Devils finished third among the16 teams in its 5K race.
Sophomore Valerie Rogel once again led the pack for Huntington, finishing in 10th place out of 155 runners. The teenager’s time of 21:40.62 was just seconds shy of her personal best.
“I think the team has improved a lot,” Rivas said. “Everyone has been showing tremendous effort and really putting their heart into cross country. Everyone on the team is extremely dedicated and push each other to their full potential. We’re all close and support each other with the help of our coach. It’s a tough competitive sport, but we give all we got. This why I think the team did great and will continue to persevere this season.”
Sophomore Ella Siepel was also magnificent, shattering her previous best time by eight second. The dynamic young runner placed 14th in 22:17.83.
“Overall, I feel like the team did really well in the meet,” Siepel said. “Many set either personal or season records and we were all able to overcome our exhaustion from the week and race well. Personally, I’ve been incredibly happy with my times this season, dropping significantly from where I was at last year. I think the season will come to a great end, since everyone on the team is really motivated and will try their hardest to run the best possible race they can.”
Senior Hadley Clayton, who is a hallmark of consistency, finished 18th in the St. Anthony’s Invitational in a time of 22:41.06. Senior Keily Rivas also ran well, shaving a minute off her time from her previous 5K race to place 28th in 23:17.06.
“Many people ran season bests and had very impressive times all around,” Clayton said. “We qualified our varsity seven for Section XI state qualifier. I’m very proud of how far the team has come and I’m glad their work is paying off. I expect only further success from the team.”
Sophomore Kaylee Dammers continued her ascent, finishing in the top one-third of all runners with a time of 25:07.39. “She is surprising us all as she maintains the No. 5 spot on our team,” said Beth Vogelsang, Huntington’s head coach. “She clocked another personal best at St. Anthony’s.”
Seniors Colette Barron and Erika Varady also gave the team all they had. Barron finished in the top half of all runners, which in addition to the Blue Devils included athletes from North Salem, South Side, East Meadow, Bishop Loughlin, Comsewogue, Deer Park, Oyster Bay, Plainview JFK, John H. Glenn, Hicksville, Friends Academy, Townsend Harris, Cardinal Spellman, Mary Louise Academy, Holy Trinity, Levittown Division Avenue and New Hyde Park.
Huntington freshman Erin Ye, sophomores Brianna Isaza and Adamaris Ventura, junior Diya Rai-Gersappe and senior Ashanna Archibald all recorded personal bests. Rai-Gersappe cut a whopping 40 seconds off her previous fastest time in a 5K race.
The Blue Devils are looking to conclude the season on a high note.