Although she did not race the 2017 FHSAA 2A cross country state championship, Caitlin Collier, out of Bolles HS, is a key graduate to leave the classification. Collier will continue her academic and athletic career at Stanford University. Most of the competition from the 2017 race will be returning this year, in fact, last season's race had all underclassmen in the top 15 -- a very young field.
The Pine Crest vs. Bolles HS rivalry continues another year with the two taking our first two spots in the preseason rankings. Tsion Yared, two-time cross country state champion for Pine Crest, is your preseason leader. She is joined by her teammates Mahdere Yared and Maya Beleznay to put Pine Crest in a significant lead for the 2A teams. T. Yared had a speedy track season this year, clocking a 4:50 mile at the Adidas Boost Boston Games and 10:38 in the 3200m. She has stayed as a consistent front runner since 2013 and will come back for her junior year.
Lily Henne and Kendyl Cardwell out of Montverde Academy are two to put on your watch list. Montverde has a consistent team with six athletes capable of sub 20:15. Henne, an incoming freshman for Montverde, had a track season full of PR's running 10:58 for the 3200m and 5:06 for the 1600m. With times like these, there is a possibility of a new PR in the 5k in the next few months.
2A is also gaining a new team this cross country season. Citrus Park Christian School has moved up from 1A and will add some new competition to the mix with their leader Jacqueline Abanses being one of the top 5 ranked individuals in the classification. Abanses is joined by teammate Lydia Friedman to put Citrus Park Christian as a team to watch this season.
Nicole Matysik, out of Key West, and Rebecca Clark, out of The Villages, will be returning for their final cross country season. They will be two of the few seniors among this young crowd, which will make for a fun to watch season.