Workout Wednesday: Sunlake XC

Workout Wednesday visit with the Sunlake boys and girls cross country team, who will both be competing this weekend in the 4A state cross country race in Tallahassee as state qualifiers in their first year competing at FHSAA's largest classification after moving up from 3A last year.

The boys team is led by senior and University of Florida commit Alex Pena, who is also gunning for his first individual state title as one of a handful of runners in legit contention for the individual crown in the 4A race.

Pena is one of the top holdovers from last year's squad that took some considerable graduation losses in Colby Robbins and Cason Meyer, yet between the infusion of talented freshmen as well as transfers find themselves arguably stronger and definitely deeper than last year's team which fell just short of being a top 2 podium in 3A after being ranked #2 all season long behind prohibitive favorite and eventual champion Belen Jesuit.

Sunlake finds itself in a very similar position this weekend with all odds on the Creekside boys dominating and winning the 4A race, while Sunlake is coming off a strong 4A Region 2 title team victory over another podium hopeful squad in HB Plant who defeated them in their district race only a week prior. There are plenty of other worthy and top tier caliber squads from the other regionals in the hunt to be a podium squad as well with Sunlake and Plant.

The Sunlake boys have an entire top 7 that have run under 16:50 this season, while their top 5 has all run 16:10 or faster led by Pena with a 15:17 season best. The Seahawks are ranked #2 in the 4A classification and #4 regardless of classification for the entire state of Florida heading into this weekend's state championships. 

Meanwhile, the girls team was more of an afterthought last year but that has not been the case this year as they have won several meets or earned some runner-up team trophies in several big races led by a potential All-State top 15 finisher in Abigail Williams.

While Williams has broken 19 minutes in 3 races this season with an 18:39 PR, the Sunlake girls have an entire top 7 that have run under 20:30 for 5K this season and recently finished as the 4A Region 2 runner-up squad to head into the state meet ranked #6 out of the 32 team qualifiers.

The team's workout was from a visit in late September following both teams winning the 4A division team title at the Spanish River Invitational. Their squad was not afraid to face the top competition this season including competitions out of the area at Cecil Field Summer Classic in August, Spanish River Invitational in September, and FSU Pre-State Invitational in October.

The workout was coined as "progression intervals" by Coach Randall Reeves with the top group of boys running 4x800 meters, 4x400 meters, and 4x300 meters, while the top girls cut out one rep of 400 meters and 300 meters for their volume load. The rest was active recovery and starting with the 800 meters at 5K race pace worked down to higher intensity as they shortened the distance of the intervals. 

If they ever were to face a muddy course this season, they were going to be prepared for it after this workout around their school grounds as a torrential downpour left the practice fields in quite soggy conditions for their reps.

Coach Randall Reeves Interview

Sunlake Boys Interview

Sunlake Girls Interview