Leon senior Patrick Koon won the Foot Locker South Regional on Saturday in Charlotte, North Carolina with a 14:48 season best performance pulling away from the field to win by a margin of six seconds. After missing last year's race due to injury and dealing with illness in recent weeks (mono), Koon bounced back to qualify for his second Foot Locker Nationals appearance.
Koon is Florida's first Foot Locker South regional boys champion since Creekside's Jimmy Clark won at McAlpine Park in Charlotte back in 2010 snapping a 13 year drought for our state being represented with a race winner.
Meanwhile, Nease senior Matt Ryan will be joining him in San Diego at Foot Lockers after finishing 6th in a 14:56 personal best. Ryan went from the disappointing of a failing to repeat as a state champion with a 3rd place in the 4A state race last Friday to the incredible joy of qualifying for his first national cross country championship race.
Fleming Island's Graham Myers was just two places and 7 seconds off a national spot in 12th place at 15:10, while following him with strong finishes from Florida were Hagerty's Jonathan Leon (17th, 18:18), Ransom Everglades School's David Serra (19th, 15:24), Berkeley Prep's Liam Jordan (23rd, 15:27), and Ocala Vanguard's Clayton Knight (29th, 15:30). Team Florida won the state team competition over all the other region's states as well with the 5 finishers amongst the top 20 places.
There were no Florida girls qualifiers unfortunately this year. Top Florida girls finishers were Cardinal Mooney's Addison Dempsey (18th, 17:39), Creekside's Alyson Johnson (26th, 17:49), Madeleine Gear (28th, 17:50), North Bay Haven's Margaret Bartlow (29th, 17:52), and Bishop Verot's Mackenzie De Lisle (30th, 17:53) with top 30 performances under 18 minutes.
The senior Dempsey for the second year in a row is the top finisher from Florida after finishing 15th in 2022 with a time of 17:48.