Two big names graduated the 4A classification this year. Rafaella Gibbons will be continuing her academic and athletic careers at NC State University, and Bailey Hertenstein will do the same for Indiana University.
Alyssa Hendrix is the preseason favorite. Hendrix has a PR of 17:30 in the 5k which leads the field by over 40 seconds. The Riverview junior had a consistently fast track season improving her PRs to 10:49 in the 3200m and 4:53 for the 1600m.
Hendrix is not alone at the top. This past track season brought many stellar performances for the 4A girls and we can expect to see some breakout xc seasons from a few of them.
Keep an eye out for Mya Bodrato, a sophomore from Lake Mary HS. Bodrato had a speedy track season. She took her 3200m time from an 11:23 down to a 10:41 to win the state meet a few months ago. Along with her 10:41 3200m, Bodrato has a sub 5 minute 1600m, running 4:57 in her freshman track season.
Mackenzie Czurak, a junior from Winter Springs HS, and Rylee Pustilnik, a junior for Spanish River HS, join the mix with sub 11 minute 3200m PRs. With 5k PRs in the low 18 minute range, we can plan to see a breakthrough cross country season.
Leading the preseason rankings is Winter Park HS. It will be interesting to see how the team responds to a strong leader like Gibbons graduating. Each season prior to this one, there were athletes that we could guarantee to be at the top. This year, the races will have to speak for themselves. Winter Park is lead by Emma Noel and Courtney Coddington. Keep an eye on Jennifer Coddington. J. Coddington has a 19:32 5k PR, but this past track season ran a 5:22 1600m and 11:17 3200m.
Following closely behind Winter Park is Winter Springs HS. It will be an exciting season to watch these teams battle it out.
On paper there are defined favorites. The beauty about cross country is that anything can happen. Only time, and races, will tell.