The Huntington High School girls’ cross country teams appears well positioned to make a run at a successful season this coming fall. With so many varsity letter winners returning, second year head coach Beth Vogelsang is optimistic about how the Blue Devils will fare.
Huntington compiled a 3-3 record in 2017, finishing fourth in the league standings and 16th in Suffolk Class A. The Blue Devils saw Nicole Arenth, Alexandra McKenzie, Christina Nigro and Bridgette Starr graduate last June, but many of the team’s top runners are back for another, lifting the hopes of everyone.
Beth Vogelsang is entering her second year
as Huntington's girls' cross country coach.
Second team All-League selection Hadley Clayton is among the returnees as are honorable mention All-League honorees Keily Rivas and Valerie Rogel. Ella Siepel and Rogel were both selected for last year’s All-Freshman league team.
“I’m very excited for the season,” Clayton said. “Although we will all miss the seniors who graduated, there’s a lot of rising talent on the team and I can’t wait to see how much we will improve. We’ve already been working hard this summer to be in peak shape when we compete. Under the leadership of our amazing coach, Coach Vogelsang, this season is set to be a success.”
Colette Barron, Katherine Burton, Kaylee Dammers, Sophie Dellecave, Yasmin Khilji-Neal and Erika Varady are also all returning to the fold. Several incoming freshmen who were members of last year’s J. Taylor Finley Middle School cross country team are also expected to come aboard the varsity squad.
“I’m very excited to begin the season and train with the team,” Rogel said. “Coach Vogelsang provides a training experience that has great results and I’m confident that I’ll be successful. I look forward to improving and hope to run impressive times at the various upcoming meets. I also wish the best to my teammates and I look forward to the friendly atmosphere unique to the cross country season.”
The first day of practice is Monday, August 20 and Vogelsang would love to have more runners join the team. Everyone is welcome, including those who have never run competitively before. Those with questions or in search of more information are invited to send a message to Vogelsang at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I am very excited for the season to start,” Baron said. “I feel like our team dynamic this year is definitely very motivated and enthusiastic. Personally, I am hoping to improve as much as I can and become the best leader I can possibly be. It is crazy to me that this will be my last year being on such an amazing team. I am hoping as a team that we will all individually persevere and accomplish the goals we have set. Coach Vogelsang is one of the best coaches that can help us reach targets this season. I am so thrilled to be a senior on this team.”
Huntington’s runners recorded some very fine performances during competitions at Sunken Meadow State Park last fall. The Blue Devils even advanced to the Section XI state team qualifier.
“I’m excited to get back into the season,” Rivas said. “Although it will be my last, I want it to be my best. I’m truly excited to be training with my teammates and with an amazing coach. I look forward to the season because I’m excited for what awaits, not only for me, but our team. I think this is going be a great season. Hopefully I’ll shave off on my times in the 5k and 2.8 mile races. There isn’t a doubt in my mind that I won’t. Hopefully it goes great. I will take into consideration running in college, but right now I’m excited to spend time with my teammates and coach. They motivate me to do my best. We all stay positive together and race our hearts out on the course. It’s all about teamwork. That’s what cross country is like and why I’m looking forward to another season; sadly my last season.”
Vogelsang worked hard to develop a family atmosphere with a “loving and trusting team culture.” Clayton was the best Blue Devil runner last season and she is expected to especially shine this year.
Heading into the 2018 campaign it appears that Clayton, Rivas, Dellecave, Rogel, Siepel and Katie Burton are six of the team’s top seven runners, with the seventh still to be determined. But, truth be told, the times turned in by each of the runners will determine who the Blue Devil scorers will be.