It had been three years since Tsion Yared had felt the feeling of winning an individual state title, when she was still a little seventh grader. The sophomore from Pine Crest took a huge step in finding her groove as she ran away from an inspired Nicole Matysik, to win her second individual 2A state championship. Yared took the win with a time of 18:00.16, a whopping 55 seconds faster than she had run this season.
It was an impressive finish for the Key West Junior Nicole Matysik, who finished second with a time of 18:19.33. What is so special about this runner-up finish for Matysik, is the amount of adversity this girl had to overcome due to the tragic impacts of Hurricane Irma and how it devastated the Keys.
As for the team title it came down to the two premier powerhouses in 2A, but it was the ladies of Pine Crest who go back-to-back to win the 2017 FHSAA State Championship. They were led by Tsion, but it was Maya Beleznay (18:22.54) who squeaked out the third spot over teammate Mahdere Yared (18:23.71). The Pine Crest ladies had four in the top 10 and that was enough to beat the ladies of Bolles.
On the boy's side, it was the matchup everyone was anticipating between Lake Wales Paul Stafford and the Bolles School Charles Hicks. The two superstars lived up to the hype as they battled throughout the first two and a half miles, but it was the junior from Bolles HS who got revenge against Stafford, as he took the individual 2A championship in a time of 15:16.78.
Stafford finished with a solid time of 15:23.02 to conclude a stellar senior campaign.
As for Hicks's win it was the second individual title in school history.
As for the team competition it was all Bolles as they steamrolled their way to a 2A State Team Championship. Mike Rivera's squad had their top five runners in the top 15 to calculate 45 points, as the win was the first one of the Bolles boys since 1985.