Robinson High coach Mark Altimari has been waiting for a breakthrough from his boys and girls cross country teams, and on Saturday at the FLRunners.com Invitational in Titusville, he got it — from both squads.
Between intermittent heavy rains, the Knights’ girls were nothing short of awesome in the Invitational race that featured more than 300 runners from around the state. Robinson’s girls ended up in second place with 211 points, led by Maddie Hull, who finished in 19 minutes, 34 seconds to place fifth overall. Teammate Julia DeYoung was next in 18th in 20:03.
Chamberlain’s Maggie Parrish was the highest overall finisher among Hillsborough County competitors with a third-place showing in 19:21.60.
In the boys Invitational, Robinson’s Jack Rogers was fourth in 16:09.80 and teammate Fred Stanford was ninth in 16:25.5. The effort help lead the Knights to third place with 266 points, four behind Hagerty (266) and 14 behind the winner, Matanzas.
“I thought we could get a top five from both teams, and this was about as good a performance as I could have hoped for,” Altimari said. “To have good results from everybody helps the kids see that all their hard work will pay off. This was a great day.”
On Friday in the boys and girls large school divisions of the two-day meet, Sickles’ James Zentmeyer won in 15:58.70 and Sickles’ Abigail Grant won the girls’ title in 19:28.80.
Sickles’ girls team finished second with 112 points, 55 behind the winner, Winter Springs.
For the boys, Sickles’ Faris Williams contributed a sixth-place effort in 16:59.80 and helped the Gryphons to third with 105 points, one behind second-place Winter Springs and only 13 behind the winner, Lake Highland Prep.
Seffner Chr. Invitational
It was a bit soggy in some areas, and pretty muddy in others, but several area runners posted good times at the meet that attracted 25 schools in both the girls and boys divisions.
On the boys’ side, Plant’s Jack Guyton took first in 16:43, more than 30 seconds ahead of the second, third and fourth-place finishers, who were neck-and-neck at the tape: Berkeley Prep’s Vasilis Vasiloudes (17:14), Seffner Christian’s Noah Perkins (17:15) and Indian Rocks’ Trevor Onandt (15:15.5).
Plant took the boys’ team title with 37 points with Carlos Andino taking fifth (17:31), Evan Collura eighth (17:43), Rob Leverone 11th (17:52) and Will Bennett 12th (17:55). Berkeley Prep was the next highest team from Hillsborough County in third with 114 points.
In the girls’ race, King’s Sneha Sathish won in 20:01, followed by Mitchell’s Emily Kearns (20:16) and Armwood’s Lindsay Shealy (20:58).
Lakeland George Jenkins won the girls’ team title with 74 points, followed by Steinbrenner at 126 and Plant, which held out its varsity but still finished third with 140.
WD Johnson Invitational
Brandon’s dynamic sister duo of Nina and Rebecca Ochoa placed first and second at the WD Johnson Invitational, which was moved this year to a new course at East Bay High.
Nina Ochoa won in 19:38 and Rebecca followed in 21:38. Brandon placed second as a team with 101 points, 61 behind Plant City, which dominated with 40.
In the boys’ race, Middleton featured a strong brother combination of Daniel Dean, who won in 16:34 with his brother, Judah Dean, who placed fourth in 17:33.
Durant won the team title with 68 points, followed by Brandon and Strawberry Crest, whose top five runners both totaled 127 points.