The Blue Devil girls' cross country team is off and running. (Darin Reed photo)

H-ton Girls’ Cross Country Off and Running

The Blue Devil girls' cross country team is off and running. (Darin Reed photo)

September 22, 2021

The Huntington girls’ cross country team is off and running. The squad is comprised of ten teenagers who all get along well with each and have a love for running.

Coached by Huntington UFSD physical education teacher Elizabeth Andersen, the roster includes freshman Sandy Garcia Ulloa; sophomores Jessica Kuom, Damaris Mani-Munoz, Andrea Mani-Munoz and Jannel Marroquin; juniors Talia Addeo, Mackenzie Ahern and Sarah Krisch; and seniors Yanira Rivera Ronquillo and Erin Ye.

Huntington has already engaged in several competitions and more are on the horizon, including several invitational meets.

The Blue Devils’ daily training includes stretching and various flexibility and strength related exercises as well as runs covering a variety of distances. League meets are held at Sunken Meadow State Park. Invitational competitions are at both Sunken Meadow and other sites in the region.

This year’s teams includes a mix of veterans and newcomers. It’s a great group of young women who enjoy working with each other and with Coach Andersen. They’re fine students, too.

While some feel running is a rather boring activity, these Blue Devils don’t. They simply love it and the enjoy reducing their times over competitive distances.

Running can play “mind games” with some athletes and that’s another aspect of the sport this Huntington team has fun with. Becoming mentally tougher, day after day is something these teenagers take pride in.

The Blue Devil girls’ cross country program debuted in 1976 and was immediately one of the best in Suffolk. The roster included Pia Palladino, Hanna Bouda, Kate Kennedy, Kathy McDermott, Sue Dunne and Eilleen Brown. Huntington finished 13th in the state championships with Palladino capturing eighth place individually in a time of 18:14 on the Bear Mountain State Park course.

Palladino was third at the 1978 state championships with a time of 18:33 at James Baird State Park in Pleasant Valley in Dutchess County. Palladino went on to win the 1979 spring track state championship in the two mile run and she later starred on the Georgetown University track team.

Over the course of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Huntington won 27 consecutive meets.