Local teams are looking good in the season’s final week as they ready themselves for the FHSAA State Cross Country Finals on Saturday at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee.
Area schools may have a lot to celebrate after placing high in the recent district and regional rankings and could bring home medals and team trophies.
The defending state champion Buchholz Bobcat girls team returns the scoring members of last year’s surprise state winner a year after having missed out on qualifying for the state meet by three points.
Senior Kate Drummond will lead the way for the Bobcats and currently has the fastest time in the area at 18 minutes, 26.97 seconds, and if she can produce that at state, could be in contention for the state title.
Lucy Voss, Emma White and Eleanor Whisler are all ranked in the top 20 in the state and will give Bobcats the firepower to stave off challengers Niceville and Braddock (Miami), Newsome, and Sunlake.
On the boys side, Buchholz senior Emerson Miller will enter as the favorite in a hotly contested 4A final.
Miller will face the fastest field in Florida history as 24 runners have dipped under the 16-minute mark this season with Miller being the only one under 15 minutes. His 14:57.41 at the Asics Alexander meet on Oct. 1 was the fastest in area high school history and was the 23rd fastest performance in Florida prep history. If Miller wins, it will be the first state title for a Buchholz boy athlete and the eighth title by an Alachua County boy runner.
Oak Hall boys and girls teams should finish high once again and have an outside chance of winning individual or team titles.
Eagles senior Caden Montini will face 1A favorite Braxton Legg of Cambridge Christian to the 1A individual title. Montini has eased to wins in District 3 and Region 2 titles but will need to raise it up a notch to unseat Legg.
The Eagles girls team face a tough task in beating last year’s defending state champ, Cambridge Christian, and second-ranked Maclay. Senior Sydney Miller beat No. 4 ranked Ava Wyant of the Master’s Academy and sixth-ranked Morgan Cox of Trinity Prep to win the 1A Region 2 title. Sophomores Alivia Dragstedt and junior Mackenzie Klein are veterans and could produce the spark up front.
Live coverage of Saturday’s races can be seen on the NFHS or Milesplit Networks beginning at 7:30 a.m. and followed along here.
The schedule of races is as follows:
7:50 a.m. Class 1A Girls
8:15 a.m. Class 2A Girls
8:40 a.m. Class 1A Boys
9:05 a.m. Class 2A Boys
9:30 a.m. Class 3A Girls
9:55 a.m. Class 4A Girls
10:20 a.m. Class 3A Boys
10:45 a.m. Class 4A Boys
1. Sydney Miller, Sr, Oak Hall
Miller won the 1A Region 2 title for her first win of the year and in a new lifetime best of 18 minutes,40.7 seconds.
2. Kate Drummond, Sr, Buchholz
Drummond finished fourth at the 4A Region 1 meet in a time of 18:48.7.
3. Lucy Voss, Jr, Buchholz
Voss sped away from her two teammates to finish sixth at the 4A Region 1 meet in a time of 19:05.0.
4. Emma White, Jr, Buchholz
White finished seventh at the 4A Region 1 meet in a time of 19:07.3 to set a new personal best by 0.88 seconds.
5. Eleanor Whisler, So, Buchholz
Whisler finished eighth at the 4A Region 1 meet in a time of 19:08.3.
6. Alivia Dragstedt, So, Oak Hall
Dragstedt finished fourth in the 1A Region 2 meet in a time of 19:13.8.
7. Mackenzie Klein, Jr, Oak Hall
Klein finished sixth in the 1A Region 1 meet in a time of 19:41.1.
8. Lola Murfee, 8th, Oak Hall
Murfee finished seventh in the 1A Region 1 meet in a time of 19:42.9 to set a new personal best by 11.4 seconds.
9. Valeria Beaver, 8th, Oak Hall
Beaver finished ninth in the 1A Region 1 meet in a time of 20:02.5 to set a personal best by 48.4 seconds.
10. Paulina Cervantes, Fr, P.K. Yonge
Cervantes finished tenth in the 1A Region 1 meet in a time of 20:17.0.
1. Emerson Miller, Sr, Buchholz
Miller won his first 4A Region 1 cross country title in a time of 15:19.9. The time was the third fastest ever run on the course.
2. Caden Montini, Sr, Oak Hall
Montini won the 1A Region 1 meet in a time of 16:26.0.
3. Mason Kawaja, Sr, Buchholz
Kawaja finished sixth at the 4A Region 1 meet in a time of 15:51.0.
4. Evan Fleming, Jr, Buchholz
Fleming finished 22nd at the 4A Region 1 meet in a time of 16:33.0.
5. Joshua Adolphson, Sr, Buchholz
Adolphson finished 44th at the 4A Region 1 meet in a time of 16:59.6 to set a new personal best by 3.7 seconds.
6. Quinten Dragstedt, Jr, Oak Hall
Dragstedt finished ninth at the 1A Region 1 meet in a time of 17:05.2.
7. Sam Stone, So, St. Francis
Stone finished tenth at the 1A Region 1 meet in a time of 17:06.0.
8. Philip Matchev, So, Buchholz
Matchev finished 58th at the 4A Region 1 meet in a time of 17:14.9.
9. Benjamin Gallogly, Fr, Oak Hall
Gallogly finished eleventh at the 1A Region 1 meet in a time of 17:18.1.
10. Landon Turley, So, St. Francis
Turley finished 15th at the 1A Region 1 meet in a time of 17:30.7.