One of South Florida's top distance runners in Krystal Rodriguez is gearing up for her final push as a high school senior at Coral Reef. With season and personal bests of 4:57 in the mile and 2:12 in the 800, the Oklahoma State recruit expects to be one of the top contenders in two weeks at University of North Florida for the 4A state title in both races.
While many of the Covid travel restrictions in place for several South Florida school systems such as the one that exists for Rodriguez and her Coral Reef high school squad, that has not stopped on her on two occasions this year to compete unattached and match up against some of Florida's best from elsewhere in the state including the Set Goals No Limits Distance Showcase in the 800 and mile as well as the mile at the Dunbar Tigers Classic.
At Satellite, Rodriguez made quite an impression in not only winning the 800 meter run going away from the field in a dominant 2:12 effort despite the wind, but coming back shortly after that to race in the mile against one of her top contenders for the 4A state title in the 1600 meter in Palm Harbor University sophomore Haley Thornton, who was able just hold off her competing fresh against a doubling Rodriguez.
In another highly anticipated mile field at the Dunbar Tigers Classic in Fort Myers later in March, Rodriguez racing the mile fresh this time was able to outlast a loaded field that went out strategically slow but closed fast to hold off IMG Academy's Carly McNatt for the win in a 4:57 PR.
In our interview with Rodriguez, she opened up about what happened to her this past fall in the FHSAA 4A state cross country race, which you will not find her name in the meet results. She did not finish as she passed out due to physical issues experiencing due to being anemic that had past issues with in the past including earlier in the season and her sophomore year.
Rodriguez credits actually the winner of that race in Timber Creek's Amber Schulz for connecting her with a nutritionist who has been a big help in getting her the right diet to overcome and defeat being iron deficient.
This past outdoor season has been a model of consistency for Rodriguez who has run no slower than 5:05 for 1600 meters and no slower than 2:14 for 800 meters including a solid 5:05 1600 and 2:12.32 800 PR double at her district meet last week.
Next up will be the 4A Region 4 Meet on Friday at Tropical Park, which will be live-streamed right on fl.milesplit.com. If she advances in both of her individual races as their 4x800 meter relay aspirations went away with injuries to two of their key legs, Rodriguez is hoping to finish her high school career strong in winning her first state title that has eluded her to this point.
It certainly would be a fitting and deserving finish from her recent state cross country meet experience, which she is bounced back in a strong way throughout this spring season.