This Saturday will be the seventh running of the FLYRA Middle School State XC Championship, and the fifth on the increasingly-beautiful Holloway Park course. The impact of the FLYRA State Championship series on the high school cross country scene over the last five years is powerful and undeniable. The list of previous medalists at this race reads like a who's-who of Florida high school XC runners; Kurt Convey, Brandon Marquez, Tsion Yared and Rafaella Gibbons are just a sampling of the accomplished past champions. And the top eighth-graders on Saturday will not just be varsity high school runners next year - they'll be All-County, All-District and, for some of them, All-State. Here's a look at who we might see on the podium.
This Saturday will feature the 16th running of the middle school division at the FLR Invitational. For those of us who grew up in the twentieth century, "middle school distance running" meant watching the better part of your PE class walk 600 yards as part of the Presidential Physical Fitness test. The kids in this race are not those kids. They are fast - not just fast for middle schoolers, but fast for adults. The top finishers would all be varsity-level high school runners, and some would even be in the mix in a state championship. We've come a long way, baby.
It's hard to believe, but this Saturday will be the 15th running of the middle school division at the FLR Invitational. What started off as a handful of local junior high runners has turned into one of the biggest meets on a quickly-growing FLYRA middle school XC calendar. Here's a quick primer on what you'll see at zero-dark-twenty on Saturday.