A Preseason Scope into Girls Track


Lauren Landolfi

A look at the girls track team during practice.

Erin Ye

As the winter sports season finds itself off and running, so do the members of the Huntington Girls Indoor Track and Field Team. Last year’s season was a breakout moment for the team as countless school records were shattered  and a star-studded team of underclassmen emerged that will contribute for years to come. Despite the graduation of several valuable seniors last spring, head coach, Mark Jackson, and assistant coach, Eddie Santos, as well as their athletes, have high hopes for an exciting season to come.

Lauren Landolfi
Girls Track Head Coach, Mark Jackson

Among the changes to the girls’ team this year is the addition of a longtime contributor to Huntington’s illustrious success on the boys’ side of the program. Coach Eli Acosta has signed on to assist the distance squad in their training this season. His help is expected to be greatly beneficial. As a veteran distance coach who has played a key role in mentoring some of Huntington’s greatest state and national champions, Coach Acosta’s impact has already been felt among his newest athletes. “Coach Acosta has nothing but enthusiasm and dedication for the whole team, but especially for distance events. He always provides valuable advice on how to improve our running form and consistency,” says Valerie Rogel, junior distance specialist and a mainstay on Huntington’s track and cross country teams. “Although the season has just begun, I have nothing but optimism for the upcoming year,” she remarked. 

Lauren Landolfi

Rogel is looking to lead the team as a captain this year. Seniors Alicia Brooks and Mya Davis join her as captains. The fourth-fastest 5k runner in Huntington cross country history, Rogel notes that “running on a team is one of the most rewarding commitments I’ve ever made. It’s incredible to see the growth that my teammates and I have seen over the years, and regardless of our different events, we all become family.”

Brooks, who holds school records in the long jump, 55-meter dash, 100-meter dash, and multiple sprint relays, is a New Balance All-American and natural leader. Her bright spirit both uplift and command respect from her teammates. When asked how the sprint division is looking going into the 2020 track season, she replied, “The sprinters are very driven and hardworking. They want to make a statement and become the talk of Suffolk County. They don’t give up and are hoping to make the school proud.”

Lauren Landolfi

Davis has served as an enthusiastic throwing captain for two years now and is looking to continue her impressive marks while also leading a very talented squad this winter. “Coach Santos and I are very excited about this upcoming season. We have a fantastic group of throwers that are already showing a lot of potential! Coach Santos also has some new workouts and training ideas that he can not wait to have us do. Overall, this should be an amazing winter season and I am excited to see how the team, as a whole, does,” said Davis.

To put into perspective how packed with talent Huntington is, Annalisse Battista, Olivia Conte, Caroline O’Rourke, and Brianna Halbeisen all broke school records and reached the national level of competition during their freshman seasons. Kianna Nosile also stood out as the future of the Huntington throwing program, and the underclassmen as a whole contributed significantly to what resulted in a Division II Crown for Huntington at last spring’s Division Championships. With so much success coming from first-time competitors, the team’s potential this year is truly limitless. Luckily, they have head coach Mark Jackson to take them there. “Jackson is a good coach on and off of the track. He makes sure that we are mentally and physically ready for both life and our competition. He wants the best for all of us,” said Brooks. 

Lauren Landolfi

“I’m expecting the team to win the league title this year,” said Jackson, a former All-American who is entering his third year as head coach. He mentions that while the team has taken a turn to more sprint heavy point scorers in recent years, he is counting on his athletes in every corner to display a meet-winning mindset. When asked which athletes he believes will stand out and lead Huntington this year, Jackson naturally pointed to his three captains as well as sophomore Analisse Battista, a versatile sprinter who has already established herself as one of New York State’s finest.

With tryouts coming to a close and athletes beginning to decide where they fit as event specialists, Coaches Jackson, Santos, and Acosta are working tirelessly to ensure that everybody is in a position to work hard and reap benefits from the sport of track and field. If you ask any returning runners, jumpers, or throwers, they will tell you that the team is a family, and with a new competition season up ahead, this unity and shared work ethic is what will surely bring Huntington to the top of Suffolk’s result sheets.