Meet preview and virtual projections for the Kowboy Invitational on Saturday, August 27th at Osceola High School in Kissimmee.
The girls' race should be outstanding with star power including the likes of Olympia sophomore Emily Knopfle, Boone senior Megan Dolan, The Master's Academy junior Ava Wyant, Celebration senior Catalina Edwards, and Boone senior Hannah Foley among others that could all push the pace and the race winner under 19 minutes.
Knopfle, the Metro West Conference Champion and All-State finisher last year as a ninth grader, is currently ranked #7 overall in the state of Florida with an 18:36 5K best, while the 4:53 miler Wyant is ranked #19 and coming off a season-opening 19:07 victory last Saturday at Lake Mary High School.
Dolan and Foley make for one of the best duos in the Orlando area this fall with Dolan having run 18:38 for 5K last fall, while Foley had a strong track season including an 11:15 PR in the 3200 as a regional champion in the event.
Celebration's top runner Edwards similarly has a lot of momentum coming off a track season in which she earned All-State honors in the 1600 meter run with a 5:05 PR and was an All-State finisher in cross country as well last year with an 8th place finish in the 4A race. She ran 19:27 on the Osceola course last year at the second Kowboy Invitational race in October but has a 5K PR of 19:01.
Bishop Moore is entered in the meet but also slated to run their varsity on Friday evening at Cecil Field, so the next best teams to watch and compete for the girls' team title at the Kowboy Invitational include Windermere, Boone, Olympia, and Celebration. All the teams have good front runners including Windermere as Ava Lack projects to finish well inside the top 10 for them as their #1 runner with a 19:29 5K PR, so it will all count on each team's back end of their top 5 as most teams range from having only 1 and at most 3 returnees back who have broken 21 minutes for 5K.
The boys' team standings could be very tight amongst several Orlando metro schools including Celebration, Boone, Tohopekaliga, and Olympia. It could be single digits separating the top 3 finishing squads in this race. Celebration has one of the best 1-2 punches in the field with Cooper James (16:48) and Evan Amaya (17:07), but has some depth issues beyond that. Boone is going to rely on keeping their top 5 pack tight and under 60 seconds with a group ranging from 17:19 to 18:07 returning among them. Tohopekaliga has 3 returnees who have run under 17:30 for 5K.
Harmony's Joel Jean is the fastest returning individual in the field with a 16:03 5K personal best, while Dylan Torres of Lake Nona is coming off an impressive 16:30 season-opening victory last weekend at the Mike Gibson Summertime Run.
Tohopekaliga's Johan Camacho is another runner to contend in the field after running 16:27 for 5K last fall as well as dropping his 3200-meter time down to 9:51 on the track.