Who From Florida Will Be At RunningLane XC Champs?


Check out the list of entries from the state of Florida for the Garmin RunningLane Cross Country Championships to be held this Saturday, December 4th in Huntsville, Alabama.

This meet in only its second year of existence has quickly risen as one of the nation's most prominent elite post-season events as shown by how tough it was to qualify for the gold championship race this weekend with many of the top teams and individuals in the country coming to the event. 

From Florida, qualifying for the Gold division includes the 1A state champion Cambridge Christian girls led by Caroline Lehman and Mary Ellen Eudaly. Meanwhile, qualifying individually for the gold division boys race from Florida includes a trio in Eastbay Nationals qualifier Michael Toppi of Viera along with Colby Robbins of Sunlake and Zack Poekert from Cypress Creek (Wesley Chapel).

Both Lehman and Eudaly are coming off the individual disappointment in the near ecstatic joy of just missing out on qualifying for the Eastbay Nationals last weekend finishing 11th (17:26) for Lehman and 12th (17:38) for Eudaly respectively despite running cross country 5K personal best times at the South Regional in Charlotte. They have a chance at some redemption and consolation joining with the rest of their state champion and Florida's #1 ranked Cambridge Christian squad to show what they can collectively do in the team competition among the nation's top-ranked as one of the best teams in the entire Southeast.

While Lehman and Eudaly traveled to North Carolina last week, two of their teammates in #3 runner Eliana Black and #4 runner Madeleine Gear stayed home and actually tore it up locally in Thanksgiving day turkey trot road 5K races with Black winning her race in a PR time of 17:57 in Wesley Chapel, while Gear dropped a swift new PR as well at 18:22 in a road race in Fort Myers.  So their dominant and elite top 5 is all coming off fast times and hitting on all cylinders in the post-season one week ago. 

The key and the make or break for how the Cambridge Christian girls will fare against other stacked teams nationally at RunningLane will be where their #5 finisher comes in buried in the deep field of runners for the championship gold girls race. It will come down either to Micah Friedman with the ninth-grader breaking 20 minutes for the first time at the state meet or junior Madelyn Spadaro with a 20:04 5K best to step up for them in the #5 spot and get well into the 19 minute range on Saturday to keep the team score down low for Cambridge Christian.   

Cambridge Christian currently has a season-best team average of 18:23 for their top 5 runners. With Lehman, Eudaly, and Black all capable of going sub 18 minutes and Gear venturing in the low 18's, could Cambridge Christian become the first cross country team ever in Florida to have a team average under 18 minutes on Saturday? The course, competition, and weather conditions are ripe on Saturday in Huntsville for them to have a shot. 

Headlining the storyline for the Florida boys will be Viera senior Michael Toppi, who will get a great opportunity to measure up against the nation's best and preview of what to expect when the Florida State commit travels to San Diego next week for the Eastbay Nationals as one of the 40 national qualifiers.

His 14:55 season-best 5K time from the New World Fall Spectacular actually ranks him 47th fastest among all entries for the Garmin RunningLane XC Championships in the gold race. The case could be made that he's racing a tougher field on Saturday in Alabama than he will face the following weekend in San Diego. Toppi will be aiming to be among the top 20 finishers in the gold race, which would earn him "All-American" status. 

The only downside is while he made the cut individually for the gold race, that his Viera squad did not make the cut and he will be detached from the rest of his varsity lineup teammates.

The 4A state champion squad from Viera will also be racing in the silver division potentially and likely separated from their top runner Toppi individually, who can race up in the gold race. Just to show how deep this meet will be, Viera had a season-best team average of 15:47 for their top 5 runners and still did not make the cut for the gold race but also means there will be plenty of other strong squads in the silver race as well with them in a similar situation.

It will be a good chance for senior Robbie Naberhaus to be a front runner for once and in particular, the team's top returnees for next year in juniors Cameron Raney, Aedan Rendek, and Jack Girard to prepare to lead the squad moving forward after Toppi graduates in a state title defense in the fall of 2022. 

Both Pasco County runners Colby Robbins of Sunlake and Zach Poekert of Cypress Creek largely qualified for the gold race from their fierce battle at the Sunshine Athletic Conference Meet pushing each other to fast 5K PR times of 15:14 each. Let's see if they outdo that performance in the season finale in Huntsville with faster times. Poekert ran 15:32 on the track for 5K two weekends ago, while Robbins ran a 9:31 3200 PR in the same post-season Distance Carnival at West Orange. 

The silver and bronze race division is where the bulk of Florida runners will be competing in still impressively deep and competitive fields. Nearly a dozen sub 16 minute 5K runners from Florida will be racing in the silver boys' race including the likes of Ethan Lipham from Berkeley Prep, Brayden Seymour from Hagerty, Ryan Maney from HB Plant, and Joshua Bergers from IMG Academy. All have season-best 5K times around 15:30. 

Maney had a 3200 PR race two weeks ago on the track at 9:22 in a narrow win over Lipham, while Bergers (50th, 15:52) finished just ahead of Seymour (55th, 15:55) and Lipham (61st, 15:59) at the Eastbay South Regional last weekend. 

Similarly, the silver girls' race has a wealth of talent and depth including nearly 10 Florida runners who own sub 19-minute 5K credentials led by IMG Academy's Layla Haynes with her 17:40 5K best, 4A state cross country champion Penelope Sosa of Miami Coral Park and front runner for this fall's 4A state champion Buchholz squad in junior Kate Drummond as top runners from our state to watch in the race. 

Haynes finished in 38th place with a time of 18:22 last week at the Eastbay South Regional after a six-week break in racing since IMG Academy cannot compete in the FHSAA championship season, but can compete in the FHSAA regular-season meets.

Sosa should have a lot still left in the tank after missing the first month of the season due to illness and came on strong at the state meet with her 18:12 5K best victory in Tallahassee. Drummond could be next year's 4A state champion and dropping a new PR in the low 18-minute range in Huntsville would bolster her 2022 XC pre-season favorite status. 

Pine Crest sophomore Brooke Hooper has put together some of her best races as of late including a fourth-place 18:44 PR finish in the FHSAA 2A girls state race and has the opportunity to lower that time at RunningLane. Another runner from South Florida in Avery Fronrath from the King's Academy was Florida's top finisher this past Saturday in the junior/senior girls race at the Eastbay South Regional with a sub 19 effort and will be competing out-of-state this weekend in Alabama.

The Tutton sisters in 10th grader RaeAnne and 8th grader Jaimee from Pensacola Christian with their sub 19 PR's will have a shorter trek than others to Huntsville coming up from the Florida Panhandle are also selected to run in the silver division with their full squad.

Being the PR-friendly course that is John Hunt Running Park in Huntsville, one could see many of these runners lowering their current season-best times significantly as well as more Florida runners joining them destroying time barriers to conclude their 2021 cross country season. 

A full list of current Florida entries is found below. The first race starts at 7:30 AM and the last race starts at 11:30 AM on Saturday for the Central Time Zone (one hour ahead behind Florida in the Eastern Time Zone). 

Florida Boys Entries

First NameLast NameStateTeam Name5kRace
MichaelToppiFL321XC boys0:14:55Gold
JoshuaBergersFLIMG Elite - individual0:15:31Silver
CameronRaneyFL321XC boys0:15:44Silver
RobbieNaberhausFL321XC boys0:15:46Silver
VinceMwangiFLIMG Elite - individual0:15:56Silver
JonathanTuttonFLPensacola XC Athletes0:16:02Bronze
AedanRendekFL321XC boys0:16:06Silver
GabrielGarciaFLMiami Vice Project0:16:07Bronze
JoshuaIngallsFL321XC boys0:16:13Silver
DevinMakouskyFLRockledge XC Club0:16:17Bronze
DrewBirxFLPensacola XC Athletes0:16:18Bronze
JackGirardFL321XC boys0:16:29Silver
JaydenFelicianoFLIMG Elite0:16:31Bronze
RiccardoTestiniFLPinnacle Racing Team0:16:38Bronze
CristianCalderonFLRockledge XC Club0:16:38Bronze
IsaacCarneyFLIMG Elite0:16:41Bronze
BrendanRoperFLPinnacle Racing Team0:16:41Bronze
IsaacPerezFLIMG Elite0:16:43Bronze
JosiahPriceFLRockledge XC Club0:16:49Blue
MichaelGongoraFLMiami Vice Project0:17:04Bronze
ErickLundFLPensacola XC Athletes0:17:09Bronze
MicahSleethFLPensacola XC Athletes0:17:09Bronze
AndresCanasFLMiami Vice Project0:17:10Bronze
SimeonHaywardFLIMG Elite0:17:13Bronze
AidanMendozaFLMiami Vice Project0:17:23Bronze
MicahHodgeFLPensacola XC Athletes0:17:24Bronze
AndrewSheppardFLPensacola XC Athletes0:17:27Bronze
RileyBurrupFL321XC boys0:17:39Silver
RyanBraswellFLRockledge XC Club0:17:42Blue
GiovanniGotayFLMiami Vice Project0:18:06Bronze
DavidLandenFLIMG Elite0:18:17Bronze
MatiasWhiteFLMiami Vice Project0:18:38Bronze
TrentonBrayboyFLRockledge XC Club0:18:53Blue
AntonioGomezFLMiami Vice Project0:18:55Bronze
DanielPenleyFLPensacola XC Athletes0:19:00Bronze

Florida Girls Entries

First NameLast NameStateRace GroupTimeRace
CarolineLehmanFLProject Dark Horse0:16:53Gold
Mary EllenEudalyFLProject Dark Horse0:17:35Gold
LaylaHaynesFLIMG Elite0:17:40Silver
ElianaBlackFLProject Dark Horse0:17:57Gold
JaisWardFLIMG Elite0:18:03Silver
MadeleineGearFLProject Dark Horse0:18:22Gold
JaimeeTuttonFLPensacola XC Athletes0:18:53Silver
RaeAnneTuttonFLPensacola XC Athletes0:18:53Silver
AnnabellaCardonaFLMiami Vice Project0:19:07Silver
ReaganSmithFLPensacola XC Athletes0:19:22Silver
AndieHardingFLIMG Elite0:19:41Silver
LiaGanleyFLIMG Elite0:19:43Silver
MicahFriedmanFLProject Dark Horse0:19:59Gold
MadelynSpadaroFLProject Dark Horse0:20:04Gold
jasmineTrotzFLMiami Vice Project0:20:06Silver
quinnnelsonFLIMG Elite0:20:14Silver
KaylaFeeneyFLMiami Vice Project0:20:17Silver
MiaAndreaeFLIMG Elite0:20:27Silver
SofiaPeterlevitzFLPensacola XC Athletes0:20:32Silver
IzabellaToscanoFLIMG Elite0:20:33Silver
MarlieGonzalezFLMiami Vice Project0:20:34Silver
CaitlynPenleyFLPensacola XC Athletes0:20:47Silver
jadagarciaFLMiami Vice Project0:20:54Silver
LinaAdjouadiFLMiami Vice Project0:21:09Silver
JaylnJohnsonFLPensacola XC Athletes0:21:44Silver
SophiaNietoFLMiami Vice Project0:23:10Silver

Race Schedule

Saturday, December 4th

All times are CENTRAL TIME ZONE.

7:30 - Community Race 

8:00 - Blue Boys Race 

8:30 - Bronze Girls Race

9:00 - Bronze Boys Race

9:30 - Silver Girls Race

10:00 - Silver Boys Race

10:45 - Gold Girls Race

11:30 - Boys Gold Race


Awards will take place at 12:15 PM.