Jason has been looking for more South Florida XC coverage this season and due to the lack of interest I decided I would try to put a few articles together for everyone. And seeing as how I was without a computer last week I figured I would put together a 10-Day Recap of what’s been going on with cross country here in Miami-Dade County. (I really wanted to put together a nice write up of the GMAC Championship last week, so I’ll start off with that and lead into the various district championships from this past week).
Now without further delay, here’s what’s been happening down south…
Greater Miami Athletic Conference Championship
Thursday, October 28th - http://fl.milesplit.com/meets/73186
Going by the records I have acquired over the years, dating back to 1980, every year the Greater Miami Athletic Conference Championship has been one of the biggest conference championships seen in the state of Florida. The GMAC is the governing body for all public school athletics in Miami-Dade County and the conference is comprised of the 36 public high schools in Miami plus one private school, Christopher Columbus, who was one of the charter members back when the conference first came to be.
Over the years, two schools have shown their conference dominance more than any others…
On the girls side Sunset HS has nine conference championships. They won their first title in 1988 and their most recent title came last year in 2009. From 1997-2001 they won five straight championships which is truly impressive seeing as how no other other program has ever achieved more than only three championships since the start of the conference. Four different schools are tied at three titles: Miami Beach, Palmetto, South Dade and John A. Ferguson.
On the boy’s side, Columbus HS has 17 total championships with their first dating back to 1984. That’s more than half of the 31 total championships that are in our county’s history (again, according to my records). Their longest streak was six consecutive titles from 1992-1997 and currently they’re halfway to achieving that again after winning the last three championships. The school with the next most championships doesn’t come anywhere close to the 17 of Columbus, and that would be Jackson HS with only three conference wins.
2010 GMAC Championship:
As typically seen in Miami, it was just another hot muggy afternoon meet down south at Larry & Penny Thompson Park where a majority of the teams in the conference gathered together to see just where they stand only one week before the state series kicked off. The cool thing about Miami is that our conference is basically considered the pre-region meet because almost all of the teams in the conference comprise the two districts that are in 4A Region 4.
This meet proved to be pretty consistent with our conference history as the two traditional powerhouses, the Sunset HS girls and the Columbus HS boys, along with the not-to-long established Ferguson HS program, showed just why they have been some of the more competitive teams in the county the last few years. The meet started off lightly with a couple of slim JV divisions, where on the girl’s side, Sunset HS edged Ferguson HS by a point for the win and on the boy’s side, Ferguson HS boys put five finishers in the top seven to solidly defeat their competitors.
The girl’s varsity race was another solid battle between the West Kendall rivals that have been two of the better programs in recent years and that have already been mentioned a couple of times in this article. The defending champions at Sunset HS put together a tough race as they always do and finished the meet with 65 team points; but in the end the Ferguson girls proved to have extra gear needed to pull away from the competition winning the meet with 23 team points. The Ferguson girls packed their top five into the top nine finishers, with three of them being in the top four. This championship was the third championship in five years for the Ferguson girls; 2006, 2008 and now 2010. The individual champion was junior Natalie Concepcion of Ferguson who won her third consecutive GMAC title.
The surprise finish in this meet was the Northwestern HS girl’s team who finished in third place overall after coming in ranked in 6th place. This team is the strongest it has been in years and looks to keep improving each week as they make their push to try and qualify to state as a team. Coach Carmen Jackson is traditionally known as one of the best track & field coaches in the state of Florida (and beyond), but even now in cross country season, she has these girls on a roll and determined. Keep working hard “Lady Bulls”!
Now for the boy’s varsity race this year was no different than the past two. The two time defending 4A state champions at Columbus coasted their way to their third consecutive, and 17th overall, conference championship as previously mentioned. Even without the individual state contender and two-time previous champion, senior Armando Del-Valle, Columbus was able to put their six finishers in the top 14 and defeat the second place team by over 80 points. The individual champion was Columbus’ strong number two runner, senior Mark Gulesian, who won his first individual championship.
The exciting part of the boys team finish came in the battle for runner-up where three teams were only separated by eight team points. In the end, Coral Reef HS edged out the third place Sunset boys and the fourth place Varela HS boys. This was the highest finish by a Coral Reef boy’s team in a half dozen years and the highest conference finish for Coach Bill Wilson since he has coached at Coral Reef HS. Coach Wilson, who has spent the majority of his career coaching girls, won the conference meet with Braddock HS girl’s team in 2002. After the meet he said something to the affect of ‘I’m trying to hold in my excitement, because last year was my highest finish ever as a boys coach when we were fourth and I’m so proud that we finished second today. They’re finally getting it.’ To that I say great job Coach Wilson and barracuda boys!
FHSAA 2A District 8 Championship
Wednesday, November 3rd - http://fl.milesplit.com/meets/81727
On the girl’s side, individually junior Nicole Carpio (Ransom Everglades) won in style as she beat the defending champion, Joanna McCoy (Coral Shores), by almost a minute showing that she’ll be in prime shape come the state meet. Her winning time was a solid 18:36 on a typical Miami afternoon at Tropical Park where most people wouldn’t expect to see a fast performance. On the boy’s side, making it two individual champions for Ransom Everglades HS, junior Bert Irigoyen continued his campaign cruising to an eight-second victory as he finished in 17:22. Bert is thought by many to have a real shot at the 2A individual title in the weeks to come.
As for the team races, girls first, Carrollton School’s tight pack was just enough to push past Ransom Everglades as the two schools together acquired seven of the top nine finishing places. I personally feel that Coach David Alonso of Carrollton has done a tremendous job the past two years bringing up his girls to the point where they’re now a top state level team. Heck, any year where you can beat out a Ransom team and Coach Crabtree is remarkable because that is one school that truly sets the standard for excellence. Great job Coach Alonso! The other four qualifying teams included: Gulliver, Key West, Coral Shores and University.
And finally for the boy’s team race, Coach Kappelman’s Ransom boys cleaned house as they scored only 30 points placing five in the top fourteen and taking up half of the first eight places. The race for the team runner-up was a close one as University barely edged out Gulliver by a point and Key West by two points so the schools finished with 94, 95 and 96 points respectively for second, third and fourth places. The last two qualifying boy’s teams were LaSalle and Doral Academy.
And not to down play the three following championships that all occurred back-to-back-to-back at Larry& Penny Thompson Park this past Friday, I’m just going to give a simple breakdown of each meet along with a link below to a secondary article that relates to all three meets.
The secondary article is a Q&A interview session that took place with various champion athletes and coaches (plus me) from all of these District Meets that was compiled by Jesus Batista, the well-known Florida running socialite, and Coach Danny Aguas of Felix Varela HS.
Q&A Article- http://fl.milesplit.com/articles/54643
FHSAA 3A District 8 Championship
Friday, November 5th - http://fl.milesplit.com/meets/79210
Individual Champion- Reilly Dawson, Sophomore at Dwyer, 20:55
Team Champion- Dwyer HS, 27 points
Team Runner-up- Mater Academy, 60 points
Individual Champion- Elliot Clemente, Junior at Belen Jesuit, 16:27
Team Champion- Belen Jesuit, 15 points
Team Runner-up- Pembroke Pines Charter, 58 points
The girl’s race had only six teams. Everyone qualified to the region. Dwyer placed seven girls in the top 12. Belen Jesuit perfect scored the boys race 1-7. Amazing work guys and Coach Frankie Ruiz!
Miami Herald Article:
FHSAA 4A District 7 Championship
Friday, November 5th - http://fl.milesplit.com/meets/73187
Individual Champion- Altoniece Williams, Sophomore at Northwestern, 20:16
Team Champion- Northwestern HS, 32 points
Team Runner-up- Coral Park HS, 87 points
Individual Champion- Jesus Rivas, Senior at Hialeah-Miami Lakes, 16:44
Team Champion- Central HS, 39 points
Team Runner-up- Carol City HS, 89 points
Both Northwestern and Central had five finishers come in the top 16 places.
FHSAA 4A District 8 Championship
Friday, November 5th - http://fl.milesplit.com/meets/73188
Individual Champion- Alessandra Valdes, Senior at Lourdes Academy, 19:06
Team Champion- Our Lady of Lourdes Academy, 19 points
Team Runner-up- John A. Ferguson HS, 63 points
Individual Champion- Armando Del-Valle, Senior at Christopher Columbus, 15:49
Team Champion- Christopher Columbus HS, 22 points
Team Runner-up- Miami Sunset HS, 84 points
Lourdes had seven finishers in the top 12 and Columbus had seven finishers in the top 11. Currently Lourdes and Columbus are the favorites for the girls and boys 4A state championship team titles.
To conclude this dissertation, I’d like to give a big shout out to Coach Larry Wooten and Mariana Martinez-Toval of Track Timing & Data Management who successfully helped put together and time all of the five different meets listed in this article; besides all of the other events they’ve timed all year long both MS and HS. Without their help and the support around them (Juan, Eileen, Alan, Vic, Cindy and even Bob) I know that cross country in Miami couldn’t properly exist.
Just another year in the books my friends! Now let’s get ready for track & field!! =) .
Article Tags: GMAC, Sunset, Columbus, L&P, 4A-R4, Ferguson, Natalie Concepcion, Northwestern, Armando Del-Valle, Mark Gulesian, Coral Reef, Nicole Carpio, Joanna McCoy, Ransom Everglades, Bert Irigoyen, Carrollton School, Jesus Batista, Danny Aguas, Felix Varela, Reilly Dawson, Elliot Clemente, Altoniece Williams, Jesus Rivas, Alessandra Valdes, Lourdes, TT&DM
Meet Tags: GMAC, 2A-D8, 3A-D8, 4A-D7, 4A-D8