Florida Horse Park in Ocala played host to the 2A Region 2 Championship. Ricky Quintana recaps all the action. (Photo by Missy Mandato)
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Trinity Prep showed an awesome display of pack running taking the top six places and putting 7 in the top 15 to score a perfect 15 points and take home the team title.
The team title was never in question, it was a matter how the Saints would place.
The Saints' pack was disrupted early by Hernando's Trevor Foley who lead at the mile in 5:08. However, it was not to be Foley's day. Shortly following his impressive 15:34 at UF's Mountain Dew Invitational, Foley was diagnosed with mononucleosis.
"I'm still fighting it," said Foley after the race who cited dizziness and fatigue after the race." I qualified 15th [17:08] so I'll see what I can do next week at state."
By two miles, Foley was clearly suffering as Chas Cook, Kayamo Galloway and Patrick Salas opened up a gap over the pack.
" Our plan was to come in and stick together," said Trinity Prep Head Coach Ken Vinal.
And stick together they did. The foursome turned into a sixsome by the end. Chas Cook out kicked eight grade Kayamo Galloway by one second to win in 16:18.40. The Saint sweep took 21 seconds and their seventh runner just missed the top ten by two places to complete the domination.
" We have a little goal sheet in our coach's office of the best teams in state history and our times," said Cook. Our goal is to be the best team in history, but our goal this year is to be the best in Florida.I think we can do that."
That doesn't happen in many races in a region as competitive as our's is," " said Vinal. " The best team I ever coached was 2010. I tell them that their not up to the 2010 standard yet[laughing]."
Tapering will be key over the next few weeks as the Saints aim to win the their third state title in a row and take a shot at qualifying for the NXN Nationals at the NXN Southeast Regional in Cary, NC on November 28.
The seventh ranked Eastside girls claimed their second region title in a row by scoring 42 points to put pace Tavares in second with 60 points and Lake Highland Prep in third with 69 points.
The sophomore trio of Jordyn Tyndall, Anna Tovkach and Addie Watson ran times of 19:43.20, 20:02.40 and 20:09.40 to place third, seventh and tenth to lead the Rams. In all, the Rams had their top four in under 20:36.80.
"We had six of our seven girls set personal bests today," said Rams Head Coach Steve Cuneo. "We're geared to finish in the top five or six next week."
The Rams took command early as Jordyn Tyndall took the pace out really hard as is her wont. " I felt great. It felt kind of intimidating with the competition, but when I got out there, I knew what to do," said Tyndall who finished sixth at last year's Class 2A state meet in the 800m in 2:20.56and was on the Rams' fifth place 4 x 400m and 12th place 4 x 400m teams.
Tyndall slowed over the next 800m hitting the mile in 5:53, six seconds ahead of Torino and Rice who closed the gap.
"I didn't know how much she could keep going, " said Torino of Tyndall's fast start. "It really wasn't that much of a surprise because a lot of girls go out fast."
Torino seemed a bit out of sorts being behind by such a large margin. She suffered a volleyball injury which kept her out of the Mountain Dew Invitational on September 19, but stated after the race that she is recovered and healthy.
"I measured out the quarter mile marks and she was on pace the first quarter," North Marion Head Coach Patrick Douma said as he headed to the two mile mark. "We were expecting to see her to be at 5:48, but then she came through in 6:00. I'm not sure what happened."
By two mile, Torino was back in command, 9 seconds up on Maggie Rice of Newberry.
" Leigha got away from me just past the mile and I just coasted in after that," said Rice, a University of Southern Mississippi commitment, who would eventually finish second in 19:16.20. "I probably could have pushed harder but I definitely will push harder next week at state."
With the win in hand, Torino strode to the finish in a time of 18 46.90.
" I wasn't on my pace today," said Torino. " I'm not sure what happened. I feel pretty tired for the time."