Addison Dempsey & Nease Boys Shine For Florida In Carolina

Cardinal Mooney senior Addison Dempsey clocked the fastest time in the state of Florida so far this cross country season with her third place finishing time of 17:38 at the adidas XC Challenge on Saturday morning in Cary, North Carolina.

On the same course that the NXR Southeast Regional, which will be a conflict to most Florida high school runners this weekend being held on the same weekend as the FHSAA State Cross Country Championships, Dempsey proved she could run a national level with her performance at WakeMed Soccer Complex. Dempsey finished 15th at the Foot Locker South Regional in Charlotte last November, which the top 10 individuals qualify for nationals. 

It would not be a surprise to see Dempsey to qualify for a national race later this season and her out of state trip should boost her confidence in pursuit of those goals.

The Bolles girls also competed in the championship race and held their own with their young squad "reloading" from their graduation losses from a year ago to finish 8th in the competitive field with 267 points and a team average of 19:31. Their team was led by seventh grader Sofia Stam (27th, 18:44) and junior Estella Bruneau (32nd, 18:57) both breaking 19 minutes for the first time. 

Last year's 2A state runners-up to Bolles and another Jacksonville area private school in Episcopal also made the long bus ride up to North Carolina and finished 18th in the championship girls field of 30 schools.

 The story out of the championship boys race was the team performance by the Nease boys led by returning 4A individual state champion Matt Ryan. Ryan just missed breaking 15 minutes for the first time with his 10th place effort of 15:02.

Nease has been a squad even dating back to the Rheinhardt Harrison days that has had the talent but for whatever reason has never put it together like they did on Saturday at the adidas XC Challenge when they finished second amongst some of the best programs in the Southeast Region with a team score of 202 points.

Only the best team out of Maryland in Calvert Hall College (1st, 122 points) finished ahead of Nease with their team average of 15:55 and top 5 spread of 1:18 while they finished ahead of many top ranked teams from North Carolina and Virginia as well.

Rounding out the scoring five for Nease was Ryan, Sai Jayaraman (34th, 15:50), Finn Thomas FL (59th, 16:07), Nate Corkran (66th, 16:13), and Wyatt Pittman (73rd, 16:21). Nease definitely has solidified themselves as a legitimate contender to become the 4A state champions this fall amongst last year's podium squads in champions Creekside and runners-up Columbus as well as others. 

Berkeley Prep junior Liam Jordan also ran strong individually in Cary finishing among the top 15 with his 15:24 personal best time to grab a 14th place medal. Jordan might be one of the toughest challengers for preseason favorite David Serra of Ransom Everglades in the race for the 2A state title. 

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