Until recently, the Air Force Academy and Niceville senior Alexis Sherwin didn't seem like a good fit. Then again, before 2016, running wasn't really on Sherwin's radar either.
Over the next three days we will be unveiling our All Flrunners.com 2016 Cross Country Team. We start out with our third team athletes. 2016 was an incredible year filled with talented runners so not everyone could make our list. We want to thank the running community for a fantastic season and congratulations to the following athletes!
As a freshman, Plant's Laura Jones found herself an average runner on the above-average Plant team. Isabel Hanewicz shares her journey from 26 minutes to sub 19 and the leader of the Panthers.
Although only a freshman, Pine Crest's Tsion Yared has accolades beyond her years. Yared started running in fourth grade, placing sixth in the 2A state cross country meet as a sixth grader in 2013 and winning it as a seventh grader in 2014. With PRs of 17:42.40 for XC, 10:49.60 for the 3200m, and 5:06.56, she could rival most seniors in the state.
American's Tyrese Cooper and Miramar's Jamal Walton may be higher schoolers, but both are making waves on the national stage.
For Bolles' Caitlin Collier, 2016 was a year of redemption. In 2015, she missed out on both the 2A cross country state title and an individual berth to NXN by one spot.
Donald Scott started his career at Eastern Michigan University as a football player. A 2015 EMU graduate and volunteer coach, Scott now spends his days training at EMU for the Olympic Trials in a different sport: track and field.
For Julianna Chappell, it all started with a realization.Rewind a few years: Chappell, then in middle school, and her younger brother, Thomas, both played for AAU basketball teams.That's when she noticed. Thomas' team had sponsors paying for everything from jerseys to socks to water bottles. Her team? Not one sponsor.
Gainesville standout Blake Lowery committed to the University of Florida, capping off a high school career which included three state finals appearances in cross country and one in the 3200 in track. He holds PRs of 15:36.00 in cross country, 9:34.71 in the 3200 and 4:27.42 in the 1600. Lowery was also named to the 2015 All-Flrunners.com XC First Team after a senior season that included five wins, including a district and regional title, and a runner-up finish in the 3A State meet with a 15:46.79.
Isabel Hanewicz chronicles the journey of Garrett Scantling who went from high school state champion in the pole vault at Episcopal School in Jacksonville to NCAA Indoor Runner-Up in the heptathlon while at the University of Georgia.
Chamberlain standout and UF commit Maggie Parrish grew up surrounded by success. The senior, one of the most successful female distance runner Chamberlain has ever seen, grew up watching older brother Mark Parrish excel in his running career at both Chamberlain and UF. Mark, a UF grad, holds three UF school records and All-American status in the 3000m steeplechase.
Chiles coach Scott Gowan is one of the winningest coaches XC and track coaches in state history, leading his girls team to the 3A state title in 2015 and his boys team to a runner-up title after the boys won in 2014 and the girls took second. This is his fourth state championship on the girl's side in his tenure at Chiles after leading the team to title wins in 2008-2010.
The Atkinson household has a total of four Foot Locker Nationals appearances between Brian and his wife Kayla (Hale). Hale, is the lone Floridian to make it to San Diego three times (2006-2008) while her husband made the trip in 2009. Isabel Hanewicz has the story of The Atkinsons: Foot Locker Finalists and married couple.
Derrick Henry, Deshaun Watson and Christian McCaffrey (pictured above): all top collegiate football players, Heisman Trophy finalists and track runners. Yes, before they impressed the crowds at Alabama, Clemson and Stanford, respectively, Henry, Watson and McCaffrey all competed in track and field.
Florida will be sending two runners to San Diego, with Lyman's Joshua Jacques and Merritt Island's Steven Cross taking eighth and tenth, respectively, to secure their berth to nationals. Jacques finished in 15:21 with Cross finishing only a few seconds behind in 15:24. Check out a recap of all the action from the Foot Locker South Regional.
At 10 a.m. Saturday morning, Academy of the Holy Names runner Elizabeth Dolan saw a dream recognized as the first annual Cross Out Cancer 5k race kicked off at Tampa's Picnic Island.
The culmination of the Florida cross country season will take place Saturday, November 7th at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee with state championship titles for both individuals and teams on the line. Leading up to the meet we will preview each classification with in-depth analysis as well as by seeing how our virtual meets think the races will play out. Today, we look at the 3A classification who will compete in the first (7:30 a.m.) and third (8:20 a.m.) races of the morning with the girls and boys respectively.
With a quick glance at her stats, it doesn't look like Julia Montgomery has faced many challenges throughout her running career. With four individual state titles, four runner-up finishes and 11 state medals, the Pine Crest senior has reached heights many runners can only dream of.
Often times in post-season coverage, we tend to direct our focus towards the state’s top teams and talent while forgetting those mid-level teams to whom just a trip to the state meet is a huge accomplishment. In a new series called Last One In, we look at teams whose goal was to make it to the state meet, not place on the podium.
Space Coast senior Skye Zeller has committed to the University of North Florida.
4A Region 1 is often described as the Region of Death in the Florida cross country world. Isabel Hanewicz gives us an inside look at who will survive and move onto the state meet.
Held on the tough Holloway Park Course, 4A-2 will be part of Friday morning's triple regional (1A-2, 3A-3 and 4A-2) hosted by Tampa Bay HEAT. We take a look at both the girls and boys individual and team battles and see how our database thinks the meet will play out in our virtual meet feature. Also, remember to stay tuned to flrunners.com for on-site coverage, results, and a recap of all the action!
Sean Clarke doesn't settle for second best. With two state pole vault titles and his sights set on a third, the Lyman High senior is used to reaching new heights. So, when the colleges starting calling (and once the July 1 contact date hit, they did), Clarke wanted to pick the team which could help him continue to raise the bar. And, with his recent commitment to the University of Pennsylvania, he knows he's found the right fit.
Train hard, win easy. That's the motto the girls of the HTTR Tornadoes train and compete by. Since 2012, Head Coach Stephen Dunn has taught his team- a small group, consisting this year of 14 middle-school aged girls- the foundations of cross country while developing some of the best young athletes in the state.
With a PR of 16:33.30, Mount Dora Bible freshman Gabriel Curtis is already turning heads in the running community. Currently, he's the fourth fastest freshman out of all divisions in the state, and out of all grades in his 1A classification, but it wasn't always that way.
In a relatively cool afternoon race, Robinson's boys and King's girls came away with the trophy in the 3A-9 District Championship held at Brandon High School. Run on a slightly altered Don Bishop meet course, the two-loop course hosted tight competition in both the girl's and boy's races.
Around this time last year, King's Micaela Torres was going into districts feeling pretty confident. With a fourth-place finish at the Hillsborough County Championships the week prior and a PR of 19:29.45 set at Disney, Torres looked to the 3A District 9 meet as another shot to challenge Chamberlain's Maggie Parrish and cinch the district title.
With four state titles to her name, Lake Brantley’s Sinclaire Johnson has been posting top times throughout her high school career. With a sub-5 1600, sub-2:10 800, and 18:03.39 XC 5K, Johnson’s wide range of skills caught the attention of many collegiate programs before she verbally committed to Oklahoma State University earlier this week.
Discipline. Desire. Dedication. Those are the 3 D's that all the Estero High runners live by, and senior Daley Cline is no exception. With two state cross country team titles and two 4x800 titles, Cline's dedication to the 3 D's paid off as she recently announced her verbal commitment to the University of Alabama.