The Queen and the Princess
She may still be young, but everyone already knows American Heritage seventh grader Daesha Rogers’ style of running. She likes to take it out fast. She does it in track, she did it last year in cross. She did it this year in cross!
But the difference with this year’s cross country season… and frankly the difference between Rogers and basically any high school distance runner I’ve ever seen… is that she can sprint that first 800 and may come back to you, but she doesn’t die out. She can still hang right there with the pack despite it all.
We first saw that at Pre-State and Shelby Davidson for sure saw that on Saturday!
Rogers took her normal jaunt out way way in front of the closest competitors, coming off of the starting gun like a bullet. Around the curve to about 800 meters to 1K range, Shelby made up the gap and got even with Daesha. And they stayed even through the mile… and back by the grandstand… and through two miles. Davidson just couldn’t shake her!
Finally, coming up the green monster for final ascent the to-be 2A State Champ and returning Foot Locker Nationals finalist got a little bit of sunshine. But not much!
Shelby earned her first cross country state title with a 17:55 victory, with Rogers hanging in there for an impressive new personal best of 18:08.79!
Who gets the trophy?
The team results first came out with American Heritage declared the winner.
Wait! That’s not right thought the team from Plantation. They knew they had looked good out there, but not that good. They reported to officials that two of their girls’ chips had been switched—thus giving them essentially two #3 runners—and that had skewed the results. They may or may not have realized at the time what would then erupt.
According to the rules, the results are not merely corrected in such accidental chip switcharoos. No, the runners are disqualified.
Had the correct chip been tied to the shoe of the correct lady, American Heritage would have legitimately earned the second place trophy—with Carrollton being the state champs. However, with the DQ of two out of the seven in the books that put Heritage back to fifth place. Thus the second place trophy would be assigned to Jacksonville Bolles.
That turn of events, while distinctly in the favor of adding to their hardware collection, didn’t quite sit well with class-act Coach Tony Ryan and his ladies.
So promptly after the awards were handed out in the ceremony, a big huddle formed. The Bolles and American Heritage teams standing together. Talking. I would love to have heard the discussions and felt the love going on in that powwow.
In an act that truly illustrates why cross country is a distinct, different, and awesome sport, the Bolles team handed over their trophy and one-by-one the girls handed off their silver medals to American Heritage.
While I’m sure those symbols meant a lot to their team who undoubtedly worked overtime all season long, they decided that they didn’t want what they didn’t 100% rightfully earn. And they felt American Heritage deserved that second place position.
Congratulations to American Heritage for a great season and meet… and roller coaster of emotions day!
And a huge amount of respect and thanks to Bolles for showing us all what it means to be good sports and good people. And heck of a race and season to your girls also!
And to the champs…
Don’t want to forget with all the hub-bub about that controversy…
Carrollton? Carrollton! Totally not known as being a huge cross country force and certainly not state championship contender. What an amazing accomplishment for that program!
Led by Maria Balcazar, they had a nice pack between 19:31 and 20:53 to pull off a victory. And they return all but one runner next year! Congrats to that new powerhouse on their first state championship at least in my decade plus of memory in the sport!