Workout Wednesday: Fort Myers XC

In our first Workout Wednesday visit of the 2022 cross country season in Florida, we visited with last year's FHSAA 3A state cross country boys runners-up in Fort Myers High School as well as their preseason 3A top 10 ranked girls squad. 

The workout on a Tuesday as they are in the middle of a week preparing for their first race of the season at the Dunbar Tiger Jamboree on Saturday at Buckingham Park in Fort Myers included their top and most experienced varsity lineup vying runners with 5K pace repeats around a roughly 800 meter loop circling a retention pond along the Caloosahatchee River and the Midpoint Memorial Toll Bridge in heart of Fort Myers.

The workout for their top group included relatively short recovery time in between a total of 5 repeats alternating at 800, 1600, 800, 1600, and 800 meter distances. The younger and novice developing runners for the Fort Myers squad did only 800 meter repeats varying between 4 to 6 repeats. All repeats at 5K race pace with the recovery at 2 minutes rest after any 800 meter repeats, while 4 minutes rest after any 1600 meter repeat.

The Fort Myers boys only graduated two runners from last year's state runner-up squad, but had a key loss in their top runner and All-State finisher in Colsen Palmer, who's father Yancey Palmer is the head coach of the team. 4 of those 5 varsity runners broke 17 minutes for 5K last season including Joseph Koraya (16:31 PR), Timmy Schultz (16:32), Quin Roberts (16:48), and Craig Allard Jr. (16:48).

Koraya was the top performer among the group of returnees on the track qualifying for state meet individually in the 1600 meter run and running a 4:21 PR as a sophomore. Craig Allard Jr was one of the state's top finishing freshman at last year's state cross country meet with a 16:48 performance at Apalachee Regional Park and broke 10 minutes for the 3200 this past spring. 

During the workout, it was more than just the four sub 17 minute runners staying up in the top boys pack indicating that depth and pack running should be a strength of this squad in the 2022 season. Their team will try to stay on the podium for a second year in a row in a 3A classification with an established dominant favorite in Belen Jesuit seeking a FHSAA record 7th straight state team title along with a new threat in last year's 2A state runner-up Satellite moving up to 3A. 

The Fort Myers girls did not have the season that they hoped in 2021 for various reasons finishing in the middle of the pack in the FHSAA 3A state race in 15th place out of 31 teams, but return 5 girls who have 5K PR's under 21 minutes including a very strong front two in a blend of experience and youth between senior Olivia Olney and sophomore Masha Dorofeev

Olney was the Lee County cross country individually champion one year ago with a 19:56 personal best and was a top 50 finisher in the 3A state race (44th) as the top finisher for Fort Myers. Meanwhile, Dorofeev ran 20 minutes flat in the post-season at the Eastbay South Regional and then really improved during the track season posting best times of 11:58 in the 3200 and 5:31 in the 1600. Both were pushing and leading the workout up front for the Fort Myers girls.

In a few short days, the Fort Myers boys and girls cross country teams looking fit from one of their first real workouts after summer base building will start their 2022 season on Saturday, August 20th at the Dunbar Tiger Jamboree, which will be on-site with race video and photo coverage.