The Vanguard girls and boys have been racking up county championships and district titles over the last two decades. Coach James Travieso has been at the helm for 22 seasons and fills us in on this year's squads in our Scouting Report.
How did your teams fare last season and what did you take away from 2016?
Our 2016 Women's team captured their 14th Consecutive Marion County Championship, were District Champions, Regional Champions, and finished 6th Overall in the Class 3A State Championship.
Our 2016 Men's team captured its 18th Consecutive Marion County Championship, were District Runner-Ups, qualified for the State Meet finishing 17th overall. I was very proud of both teams in 2016 as they were both able to achieve the goals we set fourth throughout the season.
What are your tentative top five and top seven on both the girls and boys side?
It's very early, but I am very pleased with where we are at this point of the season. Our girls team graduated two outstanding athletes in Hannah Evans (now running at UNF), and Stephanie Hansen (now running at Florida Southern), but were able to reload with an excellent group of incoming freshmen.
Our boys team gained an outstanding boost with the return of Joey Fitzpatrick (Runner-up 2017 Class 3A 800 meters 1:53), and the addition of Alex Kay (1:55 800 meters 48 second 400 meters) and Justin Greene (16:45 5K PR, and 1:57 800 meters). Those three will join Diego Lavieri-Sosa and Raul Reyna for our top five.
What are the strengths of each team?
Girls have lots of depth but will miss the elite runners up front from years past. Boys have a strong top five, but will need to develop depth behind them.
What has the training been like and have you gone to any camps?
We started summer conditioning May 29th and have had an excellent summer. We attend Cross Country Team Camp in Boone, NC at Appalachian State University, where the boys finished 2nd overall behind national powerhouse Green Hope (currently ranked top five in the nation), and our girls finished 3rd overall.
Any new additions who may contribute or any surprise non-returners?
Mariella Cruz-Pagan, Julia Charske, Ashtyn Fink, Emma Kate Petersen, Alex Kay, Justin Greene, Jordan Travieso, and the return of Joey Fitzpatrick. I've seen great improvements this year from returning runners Mykenzee Marshall and Raul Reyna.
What are the team goals and meets you're keying for this year?
We've had a great summer, but in order to accomplish our goals we will have to learn how to compete and give our best every time we toe the line. We have a very competitive schedule so every meet is going to be important for us.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
After a long summer we can't wait to get out there and compete against other teams. Thanks to Flrunners for all they do for Florida Cross Country and Track.