Bridget Blake has never been one to run without confidence. But even she admits that her time at last year’s Class 4A state championship was a bit of a surprise. She was hoping for a good finish, but she stayed with the pack and picked up a second-place, just 17 seconds behind champion Shelby Hayes of Winter Park. This year will be different though; the sophomore from Dr. Phillips will enter the 4A State Meet as the favorite.
Durant High senior Grace VanDeGrift had an interesting twist to her first introduction to competitive running. After a wrong turn during her first 5K race, the 11-years-old ended up completing the 10K course instead. That same toughness carries over to today, when after an 18:05 regional championship she is among the favorites to contend for the 3A State Championship tomorrow at Little Everglades Ranch in Dade City. Oh... and she just announced her college choice: another baby Gator!
The pain was excruciating, but Phil Duncan kept on going. He was limited to 15 miles a week to train and he was frustrated. He kept going, taking the turns with care and gritting every time he had to put in a late kick.
In Florida cross country, Class 4A-Region 2 is known as the "Region of Death." Six of the top 10 times in the state of Florida came out of the region which includes Dr. Phillips, Tampa Plant, Sarasota Riverview, St. Petersburg, Colonial, and Boone. The competition is fierce and it showed at the region finals on Friday at Lake Park in Tampa on Friday. In the boys race, the top 13 finishers broke 16:00 over a tight and winding terrain.
Kacy Smith was running through the mud and the muck, battling bugs, horrible conditions, and other competitors who simply couldn’t complete the run at the FACA cross country meet in Tampa in September. That meet was a perfect illustration for this gritty, tenacious sophomore from Estero. Besides improving on her 10th place finish at state last year--hoping instead for a gold medal this time around--her other goals include giving the boys on her team a run for their money.
Grace Vandegrift and Max Del Monte earned victories yesterday at the Ryan McCall Invitational at the Sydney Trails in Dover (just outside of Brandon). It's great to see Vandegrift back in action this season! She was solo basically from start-to-finish. Del Monte had company for about a mile before separating from the pack and earning a sub-16 time on the relatively difficult course. Jeff (Adams) and Jeff (Berlinicke) were on-site for flrunners.com at the meet. Meet summary and results are now posted and hundreds of photos will be uploaded by the end of the day.
Del Monte is dominating the Tampa cross country scene, but he can hear the footsteps of his teammate Jake Covington, who is pushing him to the limit. The hard-working junior pounded the pavement all summer, hitting 80 mile week regularly.
Chamberlain’s top two runners dominated the field at the Central Hillsborough Invitational on Tuesday. They ran in tandem and didn’t even come close to their best times, but all that mattered was getting the win.
Katie McHugh runs for the love of it. Her twin sister Grace runs because, well, her sister runs and she can’t stand to let her sister get the best of her. The McHugh sisters, rising sophomore twins at Bartow High School, are coming off up superb freshman seasons in cross country and on the track. They both want to beat the competition, but perhaps just as much they want to beat eachother!
Estero's Erick Montoya battled to the line against Eric Larson in the 3200 meters at the 3A State Meet last month. In the end, he came up just short but his time of 9:23.42 would have won any other classification. As much as the loss hurt, Montoya was pleased with his 17 second PR. Montoya goes into his junior year with a lot left to do and will find himself the favorite in 2008-2009.
Jeffrey Demps knows that the big money might be in football, but for a couple of days in April, his mind was far away from the gridiron. Demps, a sprinter at South Lake High School in Groveland, hasn’t just been dominating the state; he’s been running evenly with some of the top sprinters in the nation. He first made a big splash in 2007, winning the 100 and 200 meter dashes at regionals and the 100 at states, setting a state meet record. Since then he’s only gotten better and sparked a whirlwind of talk over where he would attend college to play football. He had his choice of colleges but eventually chose Florida over some of the top schools in the country. The strong Florida track program helped him make his decision, but his main intent was to join the speedy UF offense. But after an amazing season in 2008, he may stun a lot of college football fans by making track his number one concern.
Colonial High coach Rene Plasencia has a unique problem with junior distance star Alex Wills: he works too darned hard!
Justin Terry is one of those special talents. His potential is boundless--if he can stay healthy. He suffered mutiple foot injuries during the football season that hampered him for a while, but he\'s healing up now and looking to make a run for a double state title.
Most of her competitors obsess and strive to cut that extra second off their time, to get that record or state title. Not Williams, although she\'s one of the state\'s best distance runners, she just wants to have a good time.
Evans High senior Marcus Postel returns as the top ranked 300 hurdler in the state and put up impressive numbers in the 100 last summer. He anchors an extremely deep Evans squad who hope to challenge Miami Northwestern and take another 4A boys championship this spring.
Aaron Kindt loves to run, but his passion may have been counter-productive when he was too eager to return to the sport after an injury last spring. This fall he came back fully healed up and enjoyed a successful senior season.
Channing Cookerly might be one of the best cross country runners in west Florida, but she might have a hard time finishing in the top three among her own family.
When Lindsey Evans charged down the home stretch at the Class 1A-Region 3 finals last Friday, all she could see behind her were yellow shirts. Shorecrest Prep placed the top three finishers to qualify for this week
The top five of Satellite\'s girls cross country team, ranked first in the 3A, is dominated by two sets of sisters: Jessica and Juliana Sterm, Kaitlen and Ashley Shiver, along with Alisa Kowaleski round out the scoring for the Scorpions. And it\'s not only rivalry with other teams that keep them going!
The boys CC team at Poincianna finished last out of 16 teams in the Orange Belt Conference last year. Two weeks ago, after an attitude change and work over the summer, the team finished third in the conference.
Manzanares, part of a strong set of transfers to Ida Baker High School, is leading the way for the second year school\'s transformation into a state powerhouse. The team finished first in the flrunners.com Invitational Feinberg Open race two weeks ago, behind the senior\'s second place showing.
Bona Jones has dominated the distance events in Southwest Florida since coming to Estero last season, but thus far has only come up with two silvers at state. This year she\'s craving her first championship.
Amanda Quick remembers when she her whole little third grade world was nearly destroyed by an insensitive teacher who told Amanda she would never amount to anything. Her father encouraged her to take up running to help earn back self-esteem when his daughter needed it the most.
Four years ago, Carlos Garcia was one of the best runners ever to come out of Bishop Kenny. Fast forward to 2005 and Garcia is back with the team, this time as head coach.
The best girls cross country runner in the Four Corners region of Central Florida never had any plans to run at all. Two years ago she had never been on a cross country course and never gave it a second thought.
Roberts Saltsman of Lyman is a relative newcomer to the sport of cross country. He had a big coming of age last cross country season and looks for even bigger things this year.
Sophomore Brigithe Moreno might be the number one runner on the perenial state powerhouse team at Plant High School, but most of the time she\'s working out solo, meeting up with her teammates only during meets.
To get a grasp of the dominance of the Tampa Jesuit cross country picture the New England Patriots going into a big game using nothing but the second string. Picture North Carolina going into March Madness using only is junior varsity.
For nearly three years, Caleb Vogt stood so close to that elusive state title, so close he could taste it until another injury came up. Finally last spring, he got to feel the championship tape!
After running cross country all through her freshman season at Altamonte Springs Lake Brantley, Amanda Hintze had had enough of running. After taking a year off, her love for the sport was renewed and she has come back with more appreciation for the sport and running faster than ever!