The Huntington High School girls’ cross country team is at full strength and set for the season.
The Blue Devil squad includes many experienced runners along with several newcomers. The team is coached by high school physical education teacher Beth Vogelsang.
The roster consists of freshmen Damaris Mani-Munoz, Andrea Mani-Munoz and Jannel Marroquin; sophomores Talia Addeo and Maryuri Nunez Gomez; juniors Yanira Rivera Ronquillo and Erin Ye; and seniors Taylor Case, Kaylee Dammers, Brianna Isaza, Anna Koulakova, Valerie Rogel and Ella Siepel.
“I’m loving cross country,” Dammers said. “I’m so happy to be back with my teammates and running again. I’m so excited for our upcoming meet. Our team has been training really hard.”
The Blue Devils have meets scheduled with North Babylon, Deer Park, West Islip and Bellport. The first three will be held on the recently reopened cross country course at Sunken Meadow State Park with the final meet set to be held at Southaven County Park.
“Cross country is really good so far,” Isaza said. “All the girls are working super hard every day and they push through even the hardest runs and workouts we’ve done so far. We’re more like a family and have lots of fun at practice.”
The team approaches training with a sense of professionalism, but always tries to make the experience fun.
“This season is certainly like no other that we’ve had before, but our family-like atmosphere has been just as strong as past seasons,” Rogel said. “We have quite a few dedicated newcomers showing some promise and our returning athletes have done a great job of leading them through our routines. I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to go to Sunken Meadow for meets and so far, these past few weeks have far exceeded my expectations for high-school sports in these uncertain times.”
Cross country is a physically and mentally demanding sport and requires a commitment to daily training and overall fitness. The COVID-19 pandemic has made competitive preparations even more challenging.
“So far the cross country season has gone really well, especially considering this year’s unfortunate circumstances,” Siepel said. “Our team has many newcomers and everyone has put a lot of effort into workouts. I’m incredibly proud of the team for persevering through this season and working to improve themselves. Personally, during my final year as captain, I am thankful to be able to have a cross country season at all and I look forward to having some amazing meets and races. I am confident that both individually and as a team, this season will be very successful.”