Brittany Gill's only loss this season was to Bailey Hertenstein at flrunners.com- and that wasn't by much; 13 seconds. For the senior in her first year of running cross country that's not too bad. So coming in, she was the favorite, but still there were a lot of questions. How would she do in the heat, the hills and on the state's premier stage? She had finished eighth and ninth in the 1600m and 3200m in last spring's state track meet-giving way to the likes of Krissy Gear in the 1600m- 5:00.08(1st)- and Emma Tucker-5:02.05(2nd) to 5:09.88 for Gill(9th). And then in the 3200m, she was just a step ahead of Tucker- 11:15.96 to Tucker's 11:17.44(6th) and Maggie Parrish-11:18.30(8th).
So as they raced past for the first time, Gill was right there in front setting the tone for the race. The pace was fairly tame compared to what we would see later on- 5:37.7 at the mile. But then things got interesting. Gear turned on the jets the second mile and powered through in 11:00.1- fastest two mile time of all the girls races. Or at least I think that was her split. Gill was right with Gear the whole way so I can't believe there was ever a nine second gap at any time in the race.
The heat and the hills were not a factor for Gill in the end. She said that she trained on a bridge to take on the hills and living in Fort Lauderdale, I imagine the heat wasn't a factor for her either. She looked untapped as she powered through the finish line and in her interview-possibly another 15- 30 second improvement in her. And her six second margin of victory over two quality milers certainly showed that she had taken to another level. So, on to track where no one will take her lightly and her ascension to the state's elite could continue.
First girls victor in school history.
The seventh individual state champion from a Fort Lauderdale school- six of those seven have come in this decade.
Dillard best finish prior to state was Felecia Brown's runner-up in 1986.
The twelfth individual champion from a Broward County school.
Since going to 5K, is the 7th fastest 3A winner.
Fastest by class
10thClaire Moritz5th 18:33.79
9thNatalie Abernathy21st 19:26.33
Chiles wins its fourth title in school history.
Becomes 14th team from Tallahassee to win a team title.
Becomes 14th team from Leon County to win a team title.
61- tied for 17th lowest winning point total for 3A team in meet history
48- 33rd largest winning margin in 3A state history.
Head Coach Scott Gowan claims his fourth girls title in school state meet history.
Niceville finishes runner-up for the second time in state meet history.
Chiles ed slow, but the two mile hacked off 181 points to take the lead. Then, they continued to power through the field lopping off another 49 points to claim their fourth title. Defending state champions, Creekside, ed off a strong second, but faded to ninth by race end. Fort Myers, 1st at the mile, hung on for third while Niceville hung with the leaders to eventually move up to the runner-up spot.