Many athletes from Manatee County kicked off their cross country seasons on Labor Day at the Canes Classic 5K, held at GT Bray State Park in Bradenton.
A plurality of the Lakewood Ranch girls varsity squad was present to give us a preview of the great things they have in store for us this season. Olivia Ortiz was the top finishing female, leading the Mustangs with an 18:49. Her teammates Kristin Zarrella (19:13), Devin McDermott (19:20), Ashley Platt (22:00), and Michelle Last (22:19) also looked solid for an opening day performance. The team's returning number four (Natalie Novack) and six (Emily Perez) runners did not compete. Ortiz says she was pleased with the race, but not satisfied.
"Overall the race was great. It was a flat course with few turns. The weather was humid, but it was a good first pre-season race. It is always fun running in your community, town. Winning is always great, but I know I can better and that I need to run faster."
In the mens race, 21-year-old Joshua Sanchez broke the meet record that had stood for sixteen years with a 15:50 performance. Sanchez is a former Manatee County XC Champion, graduating from Manatee High School in 2008. He's cut well over a minute off of his 17:03 personal best from high school. Second place overall was a familiar name to many of us: Chris Trebilcock. The former Santa Fe (Gainesville) star miler and UF runner will be running for Florida Southern next track season. He ran just a tad over 16:30 today.
Lars Benner of Newsome High School was the top high school boys finisher with a 16:56. Canaan Meester-Kitterman of Bayshore was the next best high schooler with a new personal best 17:48.