By Jordan Kroeger, SunCoast Sports
TALLAHSSEE — Kelsi Ogilvie came running down the last half mile of the Class 2A state cross country championship feeling pretty good Saturday morning.
The Lemon Bay High School senior sat in 10th place, good enough to medal, but Rebecca Clark from the Villages was right on her tail as the two neared the finish line at Apalachee State Park.
Turns out, she was too close.
Clark overtook Ogilvie in the final strides and beat her to the finish line by 0.72 seconds to take 10th place with a time of 18 minutes, 57.27 seconds. Ogilvie, who was a district and regional champion, finished in 18:58.03, and said she was disappointed to fall just short of a medal in the final race of her high school career but had no regrets.
“I’m not very speedy,” Ogilvie said. “At the end, I know I’m not going to be as fast so I tried to get in front of her as far as I could and she just caught me at the last five feet. She came flying down next to me so I knew she had more kick than I did.”
Bolles Junior Caitlin Collier won the race in 17:44.20, more than 15 seconds faster than runner-up Tsion Yared, a freshman from Pine Crest. Yared’s effort helped Pine Crest win the team title with 29 points, 21 up on Bolles.
Lemon Bay finished ninth in the 23-team field with 297 after finishing eighth a season ago, marking the fifth straight year the Manta Rays placed in the top 10 in the state meet. Along with Ogilvie, Kristen Robinson and Maddison Welch helped make that happen, finishing 26th (19:24.21) and 33rd (19:42.79), respectively.
Considering flrunners.com predicated them to finish 16th this year, the Manta Rays were pretty happy with their team finish.
Following behind Lemon Bay’s leading trio were Megan Carley (139th, 22:26.83), Chloe Mitchell (22:48.79), Audrey Wereden (23:19.44) and Shannon Futch (24.11.64).
“With our 3-headed monster they always say our weakest link was our backend and we thought going in there was no way top 10 would be a long shot,” Lemon Bay coach Tom Trealot said. “If our bottom two and three ran well, top ten was a possibility and they ran well. I’m extremely happy with this group today.”
Robinson, a senior, made a gigantic jump from a year ago when she finished 87th in 22:03.37. She shaved nearly three minutes off her time and she credited it to a lot of workouts with Ogilvie and Welch, both of whom reduced their times by over a minute from last year.
“I think it was just perseverance because I worked really hard both years,” Robinson said. “Last year, I didn’t really end up too good so I just kind of had to push through that a little bit and keep trying really hard. I got really discouraged sometimes but I kept trying over and over.
“I have really good coaches and they’ve been really, really good to me through my years of running. Listening to them, putting in 110 percent effort, not giving up and mainly perseverance came out today.”
CLASS 2A STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
at Apalachee Park
1. Pine Crest 29; 2. Bolles 50; 3. Satellite 156; 4. Montverde Academy 176; 5. Ransom Everglades 234; 5. Trinity Preparatory 250; 7. Tavares 255; 8. Saint Brendan 263; 9. Lemon Bay 297; 10. SunCoast Community 312; 11. Cardinal Gibbons 313; 12. Bishop Kenny 319; 13. Academy of Holy Names 347; 14. Eastside 356; 15. Lely 406; 16. Lakeland 425; 17. Episcopal School of Jacksonville 428; 18. Berkeley Preparatory 437; 19. Florida 458; 20. Citrus 462; 21. LaBelle 486; 22. West Florida 487; 23. South Walton 614.
1. Caitlin Collier (B) 17:44.20; 2. Tsion Yared (PC) 17:59.49; 3. Leigha Torino (North Marion) 18:03.06; 4. Natalia Varela (Gulliver Prep) 18:07.80; 5. Amanda Beach (Melbourne) 18:09.70; 6. Nicole Matysik (Keywest) 18:20.84; 7. Mahdere Yared (PC) 18:25.18; 8. Maya Beleznay (PC) 18:40.38; 9. Allison Hajda (B) 18:52.31; 10. Rebecca Clark (the Villages) 18:57.27.
Lemon Bay: 11. Kelsi Ogilvie 18:58.03; 26. Kristen Robinson 19:24.21; 33. Maddison Welch 19:42.79; 139. Megan Carley 22:26.83; 148. Chloe Mitchell 22:48.79; 166. Audrey Werden 23:19.44; 173. Shannon Futch 24:11.64.
Charlotte matches last year’s result
TALLAHASSEE — For the second straight year, the Charlotte High School girls cross country team barely qualified for the Class 3A state championship.
The absence of top-runner Isabella Coogan, who was sidelined with a stress fracture, was a big reason why.
The Tarpons arrived at Appalachee Park Saturday with something to prove — that they could still outperform last year’s result minus Coogan.
They nearly did, matching it instead.
Charlotte placed 15th out of 24 teams with a score of 412, three points behind Seabreeze for 14th. Coach Chris Robishaw was a little surprised as he began looking around 20th on the score sheet for his team only to see the Tarpons listed five spots higher.
“It’s extraordinary. We set a goal for ourselves to beat that from last year,” Robishaw said. “I wanted to make sure we set ourselves a high goal and I’m ecstatic. I really wanted to have 14th or better but I’ll take it, especially with the effort that they gave today.”
Finishing 15th made the Tarpons wonder where they could’ve placed with Coogan. That’s a question that will never be answered, but they certainly proved their point again this season: they belonged in the finals.
“It shows that we’re getting better and better,” said Katie Kanagy, who was Charlotte’s top-finisher in 77th with a time of 21 minutes 06.27 seconds. “It really shows teamwork and that we’ve been working hard, and it’s really paying off right now.”
Alexa Roughton was the next Tarpon to cross the finish line in 86th with a time of 21:16.54. She was followed by Brittany Smith (105th, 21:43.16), Sydney Rodetsky (116th, 21:57.07), Natalie Ressel (130th, 22:21.28), Victoria Simeone (139th, 22:28.50) and Mackenzie Flowers (140th, 22:28.84).
“Our five, six and seven (runners) must have picked up the slack in the last mile there because they were just far back,” Robishaw said. “We might’ve had a little bit of a faster start than normal. They looked extremely strong, especially for the first mile, and for all them that was probably their fastest first mile by five to 10 seconds.”
Kanagy, Roughton, Ressel and Smith each also improved their times from last year’s state run, especially Roughton and Smith, who both clipped more than a minute off last year’s time on Saturday.
“I’m looking at the four who ran last year here.All their times went down around a minute average. They improved the entire year,” Robishaw said.
Alyson Churchill, a freshman from Lincoln, won the individual title in 17:55.22. Niceville took home the team championship, finishing with a score of 63 thanks to five finishers in the top 24.
CLASS 3A STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
at Apalachee Park
1. Niceville 63; 2. Lawton Chiles 75; 3. Fort Myers 137; 4. Ponte Vedra 147; 5. Creekside 197; 6. Vanguard High School 23; 7. Naples 268; 8. Lincoln 270; 9. Nease 324; 10. Land O’ Lakes 327; 11. Estero 332; 12. Osceola 339; 13. Matanzas 352; 14. Seabreeze 409; 15. Charlotte 412; 16. Mater Academy Charter 412; 17. Miami Northwestern 418; 18. Jensen Beach 461; 19. Merritt Island 472; 20. Clearwater 479; 21. William T. Dwyer 489; 22. South Fork 511; 23. Forest 557; 24. Sunlake 564.
1. Alyson Churchill (LINC) 17:55.22; 2. Valarie Lastra (MA) 18:02.86; 3. Kayla Easterly (North Fort Myers) 18:14.51; 4. Kristlin Gear (FM) 18:23.01; 5. Kara Funke (Leesburg) 18:23.50; 6. Claire Openshaw (CREEK) 18:28.80; 7. Ana Wallace (LC) 18:33.16; 8. Emily Culley (LC) 18:40.45; 9. Jinah Mickens (MA) 18:40.60; 10. Hannah Schneidewind (NICE) 18:41.02.
Charlotte: 77. Katie Kanagy 21:06.27; 86. Alexa Roughton 21:16.54; 105. Brittany Smith 21:43.16; 116. Sydney Rodetsky 21:57.07; 130. Natalie Ressel 22:21.28; 139. Victoria Simeone 22:28.50; 140. Mackenzie Flowers 22:28.84.
North Port’s Dietrich places 40th
TALLAHASSEE — Louis Dietrich’s last two cross country seasons at North Port High School were cut short due to injury so when he arrived at Apalachee State Park for his first, and final, Class 4A state championship Saturday morning, the senior wanted to enjoy every second of it.
He did just that, finishing 40th overall and nearly setting a personal record with a time of 16 minutes, 53.79 seconds, just 0.49 seconds off the time he ran at the North Port Invite earlier this season.
Dietrich said he could’ve done better, but was happy with his performance.
“It was a tough race. There was a really steep hill back there, and the first time going over it I slowed down way too much once I got to the top and took too much of a break,” Dietrich said. “The third mile I got back into it and then kicked it in hard at the end and passed probably like five or six people.”
Dietrich and North Port coach Phy Nguyen set some high goals for the race, which included beating a school-record of 33rd place at states and the school-record for time of 16:18. Although neither of those happened, Nguyen still rated Dietrich’s run a success.
“We set our goals high, but there’s no disappointment,” Nguyen said. “By setting so many high goals we knew they all wouldn’t be achieved so we’re not disappointed. He seems really happy with his times. He ran great.”
Matthew Doyle from Winter Springs won the individual title with a time of 15:56.11. Saint Thomas Aquinas literally ran away with the team title, finishing with a score of 72, 95 points higher than runner-up Lakewood Ranch.