Boys cross country captures fifth at states

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photo by Marietta Jordan

The cross country team begin the conference championship. This began their postseason push to a 5th place finish at states.

With a fourth place finish by junior Jonathan Leon (15:49), the varsity boys cross country team finished fifth overall at the state meet on Nov. 5  in Tallahassee.

Leon was followed by Pantojas (16:25) and juniors Gabriel Abbate (16:43) and Julian Scanlon (17:12) who placed 28th, 42nd and 68th respectively. Though not the team’s best performance at FSU’s course this year, they still placed better than they did last year, where the team placed 15th overall.

“I wanted to go under 15:30, I hit 15:23 so I did meet my goal on that,” Leon said. “I wanted to get top three at state, I got top four so that’s a little annoying, but I did really well. I’m proud of myself.”

Normal race time for the team has been early in the morning, giving them cool weather conditions to race in. Due to the team’s division, 4A, running last in the day’s eight meets, the race ended up being hotter and much slower than usual, taking place at 10:45 with nothing to block out the sun. This caused a very hot race which not only slowed the team down, but the entire field. 

“Our greatest challenge this trip to the state championships was race time and weather conditions, as it was almost 80 degrees, full sun,” head coach Jay Getty said.

The team had excelled at regionals the week before at Sante Fe College in Gainesville, with Leon and senior Miguel Pantojas securing a second place finish, moving on to compete at the state finals.

For the year as a whole, the team stayed on top in their meets, placing in the top five at every meet besides the FSU Invitational, where the team placed 11th. This run has been one of the team’s strongest in recent seasons.

“If you look at our championship run, their key numbers are 1, 1, 2, 5 and 10,” Getty said. “That’s a conference championship, a district championship, a runner up at regionals, fifth place at 4A  and then in all classes combined we were 10th out of 120 schools.”

Most of the varsity team is made up of juniors, but the team will be losing key pieces in Pantojas and senior Aidan Wetzl, who will both be graduating at the end of the year. Both have made major impacts through the relatively short time they were with the team with pushing the varsity squad.

“I’m always excited for the upcoming year and to find out how far everyone grows over the next year, especially during the summer with their training,” Getty said.

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