County championships, conference championships, as Donald Lamb would say it's playoff time. Districts, regionals, are right around the corner and states is looming, and will be here befoere we know it. This week we will peek into our database and see how our virtual meets have these events playing out. Remember, our virtual meet section is a VALUABLE TOOL in which you can adjust teams, athletes, and even performances. Do you know someone isn't running? Do you think someone will run faster than they are predicted. Fix it, change it, make your own scenarios!
For the first year ever, Sarasota, Manatee, and Charlotte counties will converge at the Bobby Jones Golf Club in Sarasota for the Tri-County Championships. On the girls side, Cardinal Mooney senior Grace Casagrande is coming off a stellar season. She finished third this past weekend at Pre-State in the girls elite race and looks to be one of the top contenders in 1A. Her season best of 18:07 is more than a minute faster than Angela Grebe of Sarasota. Grebe has a ton of talent behind her as their team is predicted to place all five runners in the top ten to take the team title.
The battle for the boys trophy will be between rivals Sarasota and Sarasota Riverview. Sarasota has a dynamic duo in Zachery Summerall and Adam Bradtmueller, but Riverview's 1-3 spread is just 10 seconds and their four and five should finish in the top twenty. The Rams are lead by Blake Riley, Bryce Vokus, and Warren Grajalez. On paper, this one is separated by just six points, so if the Sailors can step up their game, they could take the team trophy.
Alligator Park in Lake City is the host of yet another big meet. We saw what Sukhi Khosla did their at the Alligator Lake cross country meet, running in a 15:08, so we know the course lends itself to some fast times. Schools from Alachua, Columbia, Hamilton, Suwannee and Union counties come together to make up the Crossroads Conference. On the girls side, Oak Hall should dismantle the competition and is predicted to compile a near perfect score. Britney Olinger leads the way with a season best time of 18:33 and should be followed by Lauren Perry, Nadiria Evans, and Talia Carlson. Sarah Edens of Buchholz is the main threat to break up a string of five for Oak Hall.
On the boys side, Joseph Janson is having a great year for P.K. Yonge. He has run sub 16:30 in his last six races and has a season best of 15:52.70. Look for him to set the pace and cross the line first. Buchholz will utilize a strong pack mentality to put their top five in the top ten and claim the team championship.
South County Regional Park will play host to the Palm Beach County Cross Country Championships. The girls race will be a battle between Morgan Hull of Palm Beach Central and Kaley Doyle of Park Vista. Both come in to the meet having run sub 19:20, but Hull has beat Doyle once already this season at the Spanish River Cross Country Invitational. Hull finished fifth last year while Doyle was seventh. Three other girls have broke twenty minutes and are separated by just three seconds. Park Vista finished second behind Spanish River last year by one point, but should have no problem winning the trophy this year.
In the past several years, the individual honors on the boys side have gone to a runner wearing a John I. Leonard uniform. Could 2013 be the year for Ilio Sanchez? Only a sophomore he started out the year as the winner of our Athlete of the Week award by winning three meets in one week. He's gone 16:00 at Martin County Under The Lights and 15:59 at the flrunners.com Invitational and has the guts to win his first county championship. Also in the mix will be St. Andrews standout Nic Jacobsen who has run 16:09.8 this year. Park Vista looks like the team to beat with a predicted team score of 43 points nearly half of John I. Leonard's predicted total.
Taylor Park in Largo is the site for the Pinellas County Athletic Conference Championships. Eleven girls come into this race with times under 21 minutes. Seniors Alexis Stevens of Boca Ciega and Megan Fitzgerald of St. Petersburg High School have the two fastest times this season at 20:12.1 and 20:14.9, but Stevens beat out Fitzgerald at the St. Petersburg City Championships. Seminole High School junior Olivia Suski has run 20:19 this season and will also be in the mix. Suski and the rest of her Seminole teammates are the favorites over Palm Harbor University High School, and Boca Ciega.
Last year, Nicholas Spring's sister Amanda won the girls race. This year he is the favorite. He is one of only two runners who have broke 17 minutes. He comes in with a season best of 16:51.80 with St. Petersburg senior Elliot Traxler right behind him with a season best of 16:57.00. Seminole High School and St. Petersburg High School should go head to head for the team title. The virtual rankings show Seminole with a three point advantage, but with that slim of a margin anything can happen.