Area runners advance through districts

The FHSAA state series got off with a bang last week as local teams geared up for the run to the state cross country championships in Tallahassee on Nov. 12.

Strategies and times varied as many of the districts faced different strengths of competition and course variations and most of the area teams advanced with a few surprises. The top eight teams and the first three individual runners not on a qualifying team advance to regionals with the same methodology from regionals to state.

This week’s regional action is high stakes and the competition only gets better. This time of year, the athletes are tapering and getting added rest to be at the top of their game. Overall, the local athletes look poised to do well and advance to the state finals.

The Class 4A Region 1 and Class 1A Region 2 meet will be at Santa Fe College on Saturday with the 4A girls starting at 8 a.m. and 4A boys at 8:30 a.m. The 1A girls race starts at 9 a.m. and the 1A boys race is at 9:30 a.m.

The Class 3A Region 1 meet will be at Bay Dunes Golf Course in Panama City on Saturday. The Class 2A Region 1 and Class 1A Region 1 meets will start at 7:45 a.m. on Friday at New World Golf Course in Jacksonville. 

Last week’s district meets marked the first time any runners had competed since the FSU Pre-State Invitational on Oct. 16

Here are this week’s rankings:

Girls

1. Kate Drummond, Buchholz, Jr

Drummond hadn’t raced in three weeks, but that didn’t stop her from picking up her fifth win of the season and her first district title of her career at the District 1-4A championships at New World Golf Course in Jacksonville. Her time of 18 minutes, 36 seconds came on the heels of a weather delay that left the course with standing water and muddy conditions. Despite the conditions, her time was off her best mark of the season by less than one second. It was the first individual district title by a Bobcat girl since Marah Borgman won in 2001.

Lauren Jones - Oak Hall girls cross country mug

2. Lauren Jones, Oak Hall, Sr

Jones also hadn’t raced in three weeks, but she returned to action winning her fourth district title in a time of 19:42.3 at the District 3-1A championships at Alligator Park in Lake City. It marked the 12th consecutive district title by an Eagle girl runner.

3. Lucy Voss, Buchholz, So

Voss hadn’t run in three weeks either and posted a seventh place finish at the District 1-4A meet in a time of 19:23.70. That marked the first time this season Voss has finished behind her two teammates, Whisler and White. The big three has now become the big four and the ‘Cats are more formidable and will be tough to beat at regionals and state.

4. Sydney Miller, Oak Hall, Jr

Miller finished second at the District 3-1A meet in a time of 20:28.10.

5. Alivia Dragstedt, Oak Hall, Fr

Dragstedt finished fourth at the District 3-1A meet in a time of 20:49.30.

6. Eleanor Whisler, Buchholz, Fr

Whisler finished a surprising third at the District 1-4A meet slashing 40 seconds off her personal best. Her time was a quick 19:15.40. She started off the year as the fifth Buchholz runner with a best of 21:07. She has lowered her time by 1 minute, 51.6 seconds since that first race and was the second-best Buchholz runner on Thursday.

7. Emma White, Buchholz, So

The sophomore set a new personal best time of 19:23.0 to finish sixth at the District 1-4A championships. That was an improvement of 8 seconds over her previous best run on Aug. 27 on the same New World Golf Course.

Ani Veltcheva GHS cross country mug

8. Ani Veltcheva, GHS, Sr

Veltcheva returned to action after missing the past three weeks with a nagging injury. Still battling the injury to her lower leg, she had her best race in the past two seasons, running a 19:24 to place sixth overall. The senior also qualified for the regional swimming championships on Monday so she’ll swim at the regional championships on Nov. 3 and then travel to Panama City for the regional cross country championships on Nov. 6.

9. Ashley Hamilton, Buchholz, Fr

Hamilton set a personal best time of 20:01.80 at the District 1-4A championships to finish 14th overall. The freshman lowered her best time by 17.9 seconds.

10. Mackenzie Klein, Oak Hall, So

Klein finished fifth in a time of 21:38.60 at the District 3-1A championships.

11. Eliana Eisner, Oak Hall, So

Eisner finished sixth at the District 3-1A meet in a time of 21:43.70.

12. Paulina Cervantes, P.K. Yonge, 8th

The 8th grader scorched the Bishop Kenny course in a time of 20:20.59 to finish 13th at the District 2-2A championship on Wednesday. That lowered her best by 24.9 seconds.

13. Ellie Cervantes, P.K. Yonge, 8th

Ellie followed her sister’s great performance by posting one of her own. She clocked a 20:22.84 to finish 13th at the district 2-2A championship. She lowered her best by 37.48 seconds.

14. Audrey Fender, Colombia, Jr

The junior recorded her second personal record time in as many weeks as she finished 22nd in a time of 20:39 at the District 2-3A championships. She has won three races this year and has improved 54.37 seconds since last year.

15. Elizabeth Blitch, Santa Fe, Sr

Blitch finished 22nd at the District 2-2A championships in a time of 21:15.43.

16. Gloria Chang, Buchholz, So

Chang continued to improve, posting another personal best in finishing 41st in a time of 21:06.70 at the District 1-4A meet. That lowered her personal best time by 48.4 seconds.

17. Jemima Tolentino, Eastside, Sr

Tolentino just nipped Blitch, finishing 21st in a time of 21:12.36.

18. Elizabeth Loosli, Buchholz, Sr

Loosli lowered her best time to 21:22.30 to finish 50th at the District 1-4A cross country meet. That was a personal best by 9.7 seconds.

19. Lola Murfee, Oak Hall, 7th

Murfree finished ninth in a time of 22:29.70 at the District 3-1A meet.

20. Catalina Romero, St. Francis, So

Romero finished seventh at the District 3-1A meet in a time of 21:55.70

21. Abigail Candler, Colombia, So

Candler finished 41st at the District 2-3A meet in a new personal best time of 21:51.0. That lowered her personal best by 46 seconds.

Boys

Oak Hall's Caden Montini cross country mug

1. Caden Montini, Oak Hall, Jr

Montini won in a time of 17:14.6 to claim his first district victory at the District 3-1A championships at Alligator Park in Lake City. It was the eighth time in a row an Eagle boy has won the individual title. Caden’s brother, Austin, won the six titles before him and Austin Perry won the first title that led to the current streak.

2. Emerson Miller, Buchholz, Jr

Miller finished third at the District 1-4A meet at New World Golf Course in a time of 16:00.60. That was his best outing over the last three races.

3. Asher Dobrin, Oak Hall, Sr

Dobrin finished second at the District 3-1A meet in a time of 17:17.70.

4. Wrigley Longstreet, Buchholz, Sr

Longstreet lowered his personal best by 2.9 seconds to finish 12th in a time 16:29.10 at the District 1-4A meet.

5. Mason Kawaja, Buchholz, Jr

Kawaja returned to action for the first time since Sept. 25 where he posted his fastest time of the season at 16:30.0. It wasn’t his best outing as he finished 69th at the District 1-4A meet in a time of 18:10.30.

6. Tony Matchev, Buchholz, Sr

Matchev returned to racing after a three-week absence finishing 21st in a time of 17:12.40. It was the first time since the beginning of the season that he has not lowered his season best time.

7. Jake Ciocca, Oak Hall, Sr

Ciocca finished third in a time of 17:21.40 at the District 3-1A meet.

Julian Bautista - St. Francis cross country mug

8. Julian Bautista, St. Francis, Sr

Bautista finished fourth at the District 3-1A meet in a time of 17:29.70.

9. Gabe Collante, Oak Hall, Jr

Collante finished eighth at the District 3-1A meet in a time of 18:07.10.

10. Finn Smith, GHS, Sr

Smith clocked a 17:01 to finish ninth at the District 2-3A meet. That was just off his 16:55 run on the shorter Trinity Catholic course and was just off his goal of breaking 17 minutes.

11. Peter Peloso, Oak Hall, Fr

Peloso finished seventh at the District 3-1A meet in a time of 18:00.00

12. Quinten Dragstedt, Oak Hall, So

Dragstedt finished 10th in a time of 18:12.70 at the District 3-1A meet.

13. Matthew Ortiz, Santa Fe, Sr

Ortiz finished 13th in a time of 17:31.0 at the District 2-2A meet.

14. Riley Smith, Buchholz, So

Smith lowered his personal best to 17:14.60 to finish 32nd at the District 1-4A meet. That was 1.4 seconds faster than his time at the FSU PreState meet two weeks ago.

15. Ryland Kane, Oak Hall, Sr

Kane finished ninth at the District 3-1A meet in a time of 18:11.70

16. Alan Qui, Buchholz, Jr

Qui finished 46th at the District 1-4A meet in a time of 17:28.20. That broke his streak of improving his time each race this season.

17. Philip Matchev, Buchholz, Fr

Matchev finished 40th at the District 1-4A meet in a time of 17:25.20. His last four races over different terrains and conditions have been within four seconds of each other.

18. Joshua Adolphson, Buchholz, Jr

Adolphson finished 52nd at the District 1-4A meet in a time of 17:38.0. That was just off his 17:32.0 run at Katie Caples Invitational three weeks ago.

19. Mark Nance, Buchholz, So

Nance finished 61st at the District 1-4A meet in a time of 17:52.9.

20. Landon Turley, St. Francis, Fr

Turley finished 12th at the District 3-1A meet in a time of 18:33.90.

21. Jack Muir, Buchholz, 12th

Muir finished 88th at the District 1-4A meet in a time of 19:05.50.

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