Always ready for a challenge, the Huntington High School boys’ and girls’ cross country teams raced in the Six Flags Wild Safari Invitational in New Jersey on Saturday, battling some of the top runners in the multi-state region.
The two Blue Devil squads consist of a mixture of veterans and younger runners who have been displaying enormous potential. Huntington held its own last weekend, which lifted the spirits of everyone.
“Overall, they fared extremely well in the cool temps and fast paces,” said Shawn Anderson, Huntington’s boys’ cross country coach. The invitational drew teams from at least seven states.
The Blue Devil boys’ runners went off first and all of them ran personal bests on the 5K course. Shane McGuire covered the race in 17:30 to finish 32nd overall in a field of more than 120. Danny Collins (18:30), Jason Verville (19:15), Nick Sanin (19:21), John Segreti (19:32) and Eddie Maleszewski (19:41) rounded out Huntington’s top seven. The team placed 12th in the Varsity B standings.
In the girls race, Alexis Pastorelli (20:41) led Huntington. Marina Ruzic (20:52), Sarah White (21:33), Louise Koepele (21:48), Hadley Clayton (21:58), Niamh Condon (23:08) and Sophie Dellecave (25:03) were among the top seven Blue Devil runners.
Huntington’s top five girls runners were tightly packed based on their times as the Blue Devils finished sixth out of 18 competing teams. Huntington’s time difference between its first and fifth runners was just 1:17, which was second behind team champion Colts Neck, New Jersey.
“It was a lot of fun to run through the safari with the animals and go on the rides later,” said Clayton about the trip. “My race could’ve been better, but I took the first mile out too fast.”
Anderson was pleased with how everything went. “Both teams had solid performances, with many getting bests on an unknown course,” he said. “After the race we got to enjoy the fun coasters, even though it was crowded.”
The Blue Devils will compete again on October 8 at the Suffolk Officials Cross Country Invitational at Sunken Meadow State Park.