The Florida High School Cross Country State Championships zoomed into focus over the weekend as area runners jockeyed for position at their respective region meets.
The Sarasota High boys, the state’s defending Class 4A state champions, claimed second place at the Region 2 meet held at Lake Region High in Eagle Lake. George M. Steinbrenner High of Lutz captured the crown with 40 points, followed by Sarasota (84) and Lithia Newsome at 100.
Sailor junior Orlando Cicilioni led the way by finishing 10th in the 5K race in a time of 16 minutes, 19.16 seconds. Senior teammates Shane Kilduff and Ryan Guendjoian finished 16th and 17th in 16:30.60 and 16:34.87. Another Sarasota senior, Adrian Zambaux, was 21st in a time of 16:37.55.
The Out-of-Door Academy girls also garnered a runner-up finish at the Class 1A-Region 3 meet at Holloway Park in Lakeland as freshman Maria Shaw covered the 5K course in 20:45.39. The Thunder tallied 108 points to finish second, behind champion Tampa Cambridge Christian at 35. Eliana Black, a sixth-grader at Cambridge, won the individual race in a time of 19:06.43.
Junior Maeve Studdiford was the next ODA runner across the finish line in 25th place at 21:53.75 and senior teammate Abigail Eakle was 27th in 22:03.99. Aubrey Robbins, an eighth-grader at ODA, was 30th in 22:12.56.
Tristan McWilliam, a sophomore at ODA, turned in the best area individual finish snaring the bronze medal at his Class 1A boys regional in a time of 16:30.81.
The next best area finish was by Manatee High sophomore Caroline Lehman at the Class 4A regional at Lake Region. Lehman, who finished sixth overall at last year’s state meet, grabbed fourth place in a time of 18:05.03.
Aleecia Collins, a junior at Charlotte High, finished fifth in 20:08.79 at the Class 3A regional at Lake Region. Braden River sophomore Grace Marston was right on the heels of Collins, finishing sixth in 20:21.42.
Kenzie Johnson, a Braden River junior, was 12th in 20:40.39 and Charlotte seniors Mackenzie Flowers and Hannah Piacitelli finished 13th and 18th in 20:40.59 and 20:50.82, respectively.
The Sarasota girls will also be making the trip to the Class 4A state meet after an impressive third-place finish with 94 points over the weekend at Lake Region High.
Senior Carolina Titus was 13th in a time of 19:15.14, followed by juniors Marissa Kempf (19:21.52) and Kasumi Wade (19:27.33). Sarasota senior Camryn Wigglesworth was 26th at 20:06.90.
Lakewood Ranch will also make the trip as a team after finishing fifth at the same meet with 136 points. Sophomore Jessica Neal paced the Mustangs with an 11th place finish in 19:07.48.
The next Mustang coming in was sophomore Aurora Melzer in 22nd place at 19:52.81. Senior Mason Ingallinera (20:08.72) was 27th and junior Emma Paliotta (20:49.11) were the next two Mustangs to finish.
Melissa Weber, a sophomore at Manatee, was 29th in 20:11.34.
Other top performances at the Class 4A region meet included Alberto Teijelo, a junior at Venice High, who finished eighth in a time of 16:15.88. Manatee sophomore Paul Lespasio was 11th in 16:21.21.
Collin Butzow, a sophomore at Palmetto High, took 11th place in a time of 17:13.04 at the Class 3A region meet. Sophomore Tyler Wadsworth of Port Charlotte was 26th in 17:36.01.
Michael Thomas, a sophomore at Saint Stephen’s, was 10th at the Class 1A meet at Holloway Park in 17:24.33.
The North Port boys will make the trip to the Class 4A state competition after finishing fifth as a team with 239 points North Port’s top finisher was senior Alvaro Amaya in 45th place at 17:17.00.
The state meet in all four classes, girls and boys, will be held at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee Saturday, beginning at 7:30 a.m.
Source: Herald Tribune