Interview with Cardinal Mooney (Sarasota, FL) senior Addison Dempsey after she ran the fastest 5K so far this high school cross country season in Florida with her 17:38 third place finish against many of the top runners in the Southeast Region at the adidas XC Challenge this past Saturday in Cary, North Carolina.
After spending years living abroad with her family in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Dempsey who was born and raised prior in Maryland returned stateside for her sophomore year of high school and elected to join the cross country season at Cardinal Mooney. Dempsey primarily was a soccer player, but found after a sophomore year of cross country in which she earned All-State honors with a 12th place finish in the 2A race and following a spring that she was injured when trying to do both sports ultimately had to make a decision.
Her junior year when she ultimately decided to give up soccer and focus full-time on running saw her drop her times significantly including a 17:29 5K performance at her district meet held at North Port High School as well as finish as the runner-up to only Jillian Candelino of Bolles in the 2A state race. In the post-season, she opted to compete at the Foot Locker South Regional in Charlotte and was Florida's top finisher in the race with a 15th place finish and only 5 places away from qualifying for nationals.
Part of her motivation to race this past weekend at the adidas XC Challenge was compete against many of the same girls that she might be vying for a spot to Foot Locker Nationals and she ended up finishing ahead of several returning national finalists from prior years with her third place showing.
There is no shortage of competition though for Dempsey to face locally in the state of Florida and especially in her 2A classification with the likes of 7th grade phenom Annabella Tomasic of Lake Highland Prep along with Bishop Verot's Mackenzie De Lisle as the top three times this season are produced by the trio in which only one can be a state champion this fall in their 2A class race in Tallahassee this November.
At this weekend's North Port Invitational, Dempsey will get her first chance to race against De Lisle this season as well as a second opportunity to race against IMG Academy's Eliana Black, the defending champion of the North Port Invite when she set the meet record in 17:15 while at Cambridge Christian.
Black also scored a decisive victory against Dempsey at the Seffner Christian Invitational two weeks ago, which Dempsey admits that she got mentally discouraged too soon when Black created a gap and looking forward to closing that time spread in this weekend's race after a confidence boost from her 17:38 race in North Carolina.
A good chance for that record to go down this weekend with Black, De Lisle, and Dempsey all pushing a torrid pace up front. Dempsey definitely has great room for improvement having only run 2 seasons of cross country and 1 season of track prior to starting her senior year, which makes her appealing to a lot of college coaches now recruiting her.
Ultimately, Dempsey would like to make a college decision near season's end so she can turn her focus to competing for a state title in 2A as well as trying to qualify for Foot Locker Nationals.