While Eric Tallbacka and Danielle Van Liere earned much deserved individual conference championships, it was the Mandarin Mustangs who cleaned house, winning every team championship of the evening.
Considered by many to be the best runner in the state of Florida, Andres Arroyo boasts a personal best time of 14:59, a state championship, and wins in three out of four races this year. Josh Brickell is the seventh best runner in the nation. His personal best is 14:41, and he has yet to be beaten this year. It’s only mid-October, but with these two going head-to-head, Bail N Trail had the feel of a post season invitational.
Kevin Curran is a coach. More specifically, Kevin Curran is the track & field and cross-country coach at one of the premier athletic high schools in the state. However, to bill Curran as just a coach would be an injustice to the great amount of effort and passion he puts into his work. Curran is a teacher, a runner, a fan, a leader, and above all, he is an inspiration.
With only a month to go before the district meets, Ponte Vedra High School held its fourth annual Cross Country Invitational. As usual, the best teams in North Florida were in attendance, but it was a panhandle powerhouse that ended up stealing the show.
From the opening gun of the boys’ varsity race to the final finisher of the open 5k, Ridgeview High School proved once again why Bob Hans is among the best early season invitationals in the Jacksonville area. The Ridgeview course underwent several recent changes, however the course was well marked, and times were fast across all races. For many schools, Bob Hans serves as that final preparation before taking on the likes of the best in the state, however even with this in mind, the competition should not be taken lightly. The field was highlighted by traditional powers such as Bartram Trail, Nease, Bishop Kenny, Chiles, and Mandarin, while up-and-comers like Stanton Prep, St. Augustine, and Bishop Snyder would let their presence be known.
The course ran slow, the heat was relentless, and thunderstorms threatened all evening. However, nothing could stop the Holy Trinity boys from winning the Katie Caples elite race team title, and continuing their early season success.