The 2010s: FLRunners All-Decade XC Athletes & Programs

Florida Girls All-Decade Individuals

We sorted through all the results to pick out our top seven athletes of the decade. Times, state titles, margin of victory, and number of national qualifying performances all had a contributing factor to narrowing down the field. In no particular order, meet our All-Decade Squad below.

Tsion Yared (Pine Crest)

Graduation Class: 2020

Highlight Race: 2014 FHSAA Cross Country State Finals

Tsion Yared has been running on the varsity level for the past seven of the ten years in this decade. In her tenure for Pine Crest she has capture three cross country state titles -- the first of which she one as a seventh grader -- and holds six total individual all-state medals. The Panther, who still has a track season left of her high school career, has qualified for Nike Cross Nationals three times, leading her team this past 2019 season to qualify with her. 

Bridget Blake (Dr. Phillips)

Graduation Class: 2013

Highlight Race: 2010 FHSAA Cross Country State Finals

Bridget Blake was the most dominant central Florida athletes that we have seen in the past decade. The Dr. Phillips alumna took home three state titles -- every year from her freshman season -- and qualified for Foot Locker Nationals twice. Her 17:12 PR that she ran at Foot Locker South in 2012 is the third fastest time at the meet by any Florida girl over the past decade. 

Alyssa Hendrix (Riverview)

Graduation Class: 2020

Highlight Race: 2019 FHSAA Cross Country State Finals

Hendrix is the only athlete on this list to qualify for Foot Locker for three years in a row. During her tenure for Riverview, she has proven to be a force to be reckoned with -- winning two state titles back-to-back and having two other top three state finishes during her freshman and sophomore cross country seasons. Her 17:19 to win this past seasons 4A state meet was one filled with grit and strategy. 

Ana Wallace (Chiles)

Graduation Class: 2018

Highlight Race: 2017 Foot Locker Nationals 

Comparative to the other ladies on this list, Wallace only has one individual cross country state title to her name from 2017. What sets her a part is her sixth place finish at Foot Locker Nationals -- Florida's top national finish in the entire decade. During her senior season, the Chiles standout ran a huge PR of 17:26 at Great American to finish second -- even more impressive when you put in the fact that she kicked off her career with a 20:54 in 2014. 

Bailey Hertenstein (Newsome)

Graduation Class: 2018

Highlight Race: 2017 FHSAA Cross Country State Finals

With three state titles to her name, in one of the most competitive classifications of her time, Hertenstein crushed her high school career. The Newsome graduate qualified for Foot Locker Nationals twice, but forewent the meet her senior year after a fifth place 17:30 win at Foot Locker South. During her sophomore, junior, and senior regular cross country seasons, Hertenstein was undefeated in every single race.

Valerie Lastra (Mater Academy)

Graduation Class: 2020

Highlight Race: 2018 FHSAA Cross Country State Finals

Valerie Lastra will go down in South Florida history as one of the best cross country athletes that the area has seen. She is the first Miami athlete to become a two-time Foot Locker Nationals qualifier. After a tough start to her senior season, Lastra pulled through to also win back-to-back 3A cross country state titles with her 17:29 win this season. Her Apalachee Regional Park course record of 17:17 that she ran in 2018 at the state meet still stands. 

Rafaella Gibbons (Winter Park)

Graduation Class: 2018

Highlight Race: 2014 FHSAA Cross Country State Finals

Gibbons leaped onto the high school scene after a strong middle school career with a state title her freshman season. The Winter Park alumna led her team to three team state titles in 2014, 2015, 2017 and a runner-up finish in 2016. She also qualified twice for Nike Cross Nationals during her freshman and sophomore seasons. What's most impressive about Gibbons is that during her high school career, she was a front runner all four years despite challenges physically. She rose to the pressure and managed to finished top five in each of her very competitive state meets and perform well at Foot Locker Regionals her junior and senior seasons. 

Honorable Mentions: