Scouting Report: Mt. Dora Christian Academy Boys

The Mount Dora Christian Academy boys finished the 2016 season as the 1A Cross Country Finals runner-up and return their top six from that team. Coach Zach White gives us the Scouting Report on this year's squad.

How did your team fare last season and what did you take away from 2016?

We accomplished a good bit last season (District champs, regional champs, and winners of two other meets). However, placing second at the State Meet left this team extremely hungry. The way they see it, they have some unfinished business to attend to. All of our top six are coming back and they have their eyes focused on nothing but Tallahassee.

How is the team looking this year? What are your tentative top five and top seven?

Our team has worked hard throughout this summer, but truthfully has faced a few bumps along the way. However, now that August is finally here, our team is healthy, fit, and ready to race.

Our top three had great track seasons. Gabriel Curtis is coming off of a 9:43 showing in the 3200m as a rising junior. His little brother Mitchell is coming off of a 9:48 showing in the 3200m as a rising freshmen. Jackson Pruim is coming off of a 10:11 showing in the 3200m as rising junior. Those three are going to be tough for any team to deal with come November.

Our four guy, Tom Valente just continues to impress. In track, he ran 10:40 in the 3200m. He has run competitively for only 1 year and is starting to find his groove. He was incredibly consistent and diligent with his mileage this summer. In my opinion, he is going to be one of the most dangerous runners in 1A. I guess you could call him a dark horse!

Our five and six guy ran 10:57 and 11:00 in the 3200m this previous track season. Having had a summer of training with their fellow teammates, both Sebastian Deleon and Nikolas Gibson are looking to break through all obstacles and be the best 5 and 6 guy in 1A. Take it from somebody who gets to watch them everyday, I would pick them over anybody.

Our seven and eight guy are extremely hard workers. Kyle Scarberry and Noah Musselwhite realize that they are the pushers for our team and therefore, they are constantly striving to close the gap. They are two great runners and we will absolutely need them in order to accomplish all of our team goals this season.

I believe in this team. They are young and they are deep.

What are the strengths of this team?

As I just said, this team is very young and has solid depth. More than that though, they also have a great bond with each other. That goes a long way when you are trying to win a championship. If true brotherhood exists on a team, then each athlete will inevitably confront pain and adversity with a little bit more courage than what they would have otherwise. This team races for each other. They will not stop because they don't want to let down their brother. Furthermore, they will not stop because they know their brothers are pushing for them too.

What has the training been like? Have you gone to any camps?

This team went to Brevard Distance Running Camp. That week was absolutely wonderful. This whole summer has just been about ascending our mileage. And for the most part, each athlete did that. We laid the foundation. Now, we can start building the rest of the house. I am very excited to see what it all looks like come November.

Any new additions who may contribute? Any surprise non-returners?

Noah Musselwhite is a new addition and will absolutely be an asset to our team. He is only a seventh grader, but he is extremely talented. He ran 5:20 in the 1600m as a sixth grader this past spring. The crazy part was that was his first race and on hardly any mileage. Now, he has worked into a good mileage plan over the course of this summer and is set and ready to go!

What are the team goals and meets you're keying for this year?

This team wants to achieve what it should achieve and nothing less. And without being to cryptic, we have basically the same team as last year and there is only one thing they have yet to win together.

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