TAMPA — The 5k running trail that winds around Picnic Island — down beaches, over hills and through woods — is not the fastest course in the area, but it is one of the most interesting, and it is, according to Robinson coach Mark Altimari, “true cross country.”
On Saturday morning at the Millard Shumate Invitational, it was perfect for both Robinson’s girls and boys cross country teams, which both took home team titles in the 14-school event.
Robinson’s girls won with 81 points, 17 ahead of runner-up Lake Region and 19 in front of third-place Osceola. Robinson’s boys won with 38 points, just six ahead of runner-up Steinbrenner. Plant’s boys were third with 47 points and Seminole Osceola was fourth with 125.
“I was very pleased because we didn’t run too well last week (at the Land O’ Lakes Gator Invitational),” Altimari said. “I think we had some success (finishing top three in both the girls and boys races at the FLRunners.com race two weeks ago) and we might have gotten a little complacent.
“This week, we came back strong. Everybody ran well.”
On the boys’ side, Robinson’s Jack Rogers won the individual title in 17 minutes, 27.20 seconds, a time that might be as much as a minute slower than a time on an average 5k course.
“There’s a lot of challenges with hills and terrain on this course, and that’s why the times get a little slower,” Altimari said. “But I think the challenge makes you better.”
Behind Rogers were Plant’s Evan Collura (17:37.20), Robinson’s Blake Stanford (17:38.20), Plant’s Robert Evans (17:56.50) and Robinson’s Manuel Tejeda (17:57.50).
In the girls’ race, Calvary Christian’s Hannah Brookover won in 19:43.80. Brandon’s Eliana Ochoa was second in 20:27.60, King’s Sneha Sathish was third (20:36.70) and Robinson’s Maddy Hull was fourth (20:50.00).
Robinson rounded out its top four girls by finishing sixth (Julia DeYoung, 21:22.20), ninth (Madison Scanlan, 22:15.40) and 15th (Arielle Ellis, 23:11).
The annual pre-state meet was held Saturday at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee, and several Hillsborough County competitors fared pretty well — giving rise to the notion that they will run strong in less than a month at the state meet on the same course.
Plant’s Bailey Sullivan ran an encouraging time of 18 minutes, 41.98 seconds to finish 23rd in the Elite Division, and Anna Montgomery followed with a time of 18:52.13 to place 32nd.
As a team, Plant, which has made it to the girls state meet in 26 consecutive years, finished 16th in the competitive Elite Division.
In the boys’ Select Division, Sickles’ James Zentmeyer placed second overall with a time of 15:57.98, and teammate Paris Williams was 18th in 16:31.81.
In the girls’ Varsity A Division, Sickles’ Abigail Grant placed second in 19:22.16, and Chamberlain’s Maggie Parrish was eighth in 19:40.29.
The top teams from Hillsborough County in the girls’ Varsity A Division were Chamberlain (fourth, 231 points), Academy of the Holy Names (fifth, 242 points) and Sickles (sixth, 245 points).
Gators, Bulls win SAC titles
WESLEY CHAPEL — Travis Nichols won the boys individual race and led the Land O’ Lakes boys cross country team to its second straight Sunshine Athletic Conference title Saturday.
Mitchell’s Emily Kerns won her first girls conference title with a personal-record time (19:10) and the Wiregrass Ranch girls took home their sixth SAC title on their home course with 46 points. Runner-up Mitchell had 51 points.
Nichols won with a time of 15:55. Teammates Tyler Stahl (16:03) and Jake Poore (16:18) were second and third, respectively, as the Gators boys finished with 28 points. Second-place Wiregrass Ranch had 70 points.
“It was amazing,” Nichols said of the Gators taking the top three spots . “It feels pretty good.”
“They stayed focused,” Land O’ Lakes coach Kris Keppel said. “Everybody ran a great race. Steven Barnabei ran his best time of the year (17:29).”