Lady Sharks arrive seeded 20th, depart 21st – out of 23 teams – in Class 2A State Finals

Unlike finishing second during the NCT Invitational, NCT departed Leon County Saturday placing 21st – out of the 23 teams in the Class 2A State Finals. Mmbers of the team include (left to right): Isabel Dahmer, Keira Barbee, Aliyah DiPalma, Hannah Caldi and Kathryn Vastano. Photo by TONY CASTRO


HHS senior Ross Stalcup

finishes 73rd overall in

182-runner boys final


None of Hernando County’s eight entries in Saturday’s Class 2A FHSAA State Finals at Apalachee Regional Park, did so with a personal record or hardware.

Nature Coast Technical’s girls’ team, which finished 23rd in last year’s stiff meet, arrived seeded 20th.

This time, the Sharks couldn’t catch US-41 rival Inverness-Citrus for the fourth time in four crucial races.

Citrus High finished a distant 18th with 460 points while NCT finished 21st overall – out of 23 schools – with 528 markers.

As good as Montverde Academy appeared winning in last weekend’s Class 2A, Region II Final the Weeki Wachee Preserve, Jacksonville-Bolles won the state crown with 66 points.

Fort Lauderdale-Pinecrest finished runner-up with 84 points while Montverde placed third with 112 points along the hilly and mud-filled course.

Ironically, the Pinecrest Panthers topped perennial power Bolles in 2017, 33-53.

In the 174-runner field, Pinecrest junior, Tsion Yared, who finished as a state runner-up in 2016, repeated as state champion, edging The Villages senior Rebecca Clark, just over 13 seconds in 17:26.63.

Lady Sharks: 21st

Leah Marville

On a tough day where none of NCT’s seven distance runners posted a personal record, senior Leah Marville led the way placing 56th in 20:25.87.

Keira Barbee

It marked the sixth straight race and eighth time in nine meets, that the three-year starter finished first to the finish line for the Hernando County crew.

Senior Keira Barbee placed 115th in 21:40.37.

Sophomore Isabel Dahmer was 135th in 22:18.53.

Next, senior Aliyah DiPalma was 147th in 23,12.12.

Rounding out the crew, freshman Mackenzie Bell was 140th in 23:26.01, followed by frosh Alyssa Gans in 163rd in 24.12.37 while senior Kathryn Vastano placed 169th in 26:06.86.

Eric Milholland

Fifth-year NCT mentor Eric Milholland concentrated his analysis on achieving the team’s primary goal: returning to states as a team.

“The minute we got here it starting pouring and weather was in the 80s until Saturday morning,” noted Milholland. “The race went okay. It was more about having a blast while we were there. Before we got there, we were having some shin splint problems. Then running on slick, muddy hills didn’t help.”

Looking back at the season, “We only won one race and finished runner-up a couple of times, but it was great year,” said the NCT mathematics instructor. “Could we’ve done a little better, sure. But I was happy to get to get back to states with this group of seniors.”

With an eye toward next season, “We need to put in a little more work for our senior leaders. The focus will be searching for leadership and working on a better summer time running schedule.”

Stalcup: 73rd

Ross Stalcup

The eighth member of the Hernando County contingency was Hernando senior Ross Stalcup.

Hernando County’s defending runner of the Year closed out the cross country portion of his prep career with his third FHSAA State Finals.

Competing along the 182-runner filed, Stalcup – like the NCT females – didn’t return home with a personal best time finishing 73rd in 17:26.61.

NATURE COAST (528) – 56. Leah Marville 20:25.87, 115. Keira Barbee 21:40.37, 135. Isabel Dahmer 22:18.53, 147. Aliyah DiPalma 23,12.12, 150. Mackenzie Bell 23:26.01, 163. Alyssa Gans 24.12.37, 169. Kathryn Vastano 26:06.86.

HERNANDO (NTS) – 73. Ross Stalcup 17:26.61.

Nature Coast Technical Girls Cross Country

Team State Results (2003-18/16 Seasons)

Compiled by TONY CASTRO








Milholland, Eric



Milholland, Eric



Milholland, Eric



Milholland, Eric


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