Stern litmus tests await county’s final 26 harriers

HORNET DUO – Weeki Wachee’s (left to right) Jaiden and Yeatesh Raghunandan each placed among the top 15 to qualify for Saturday’s difficult Class 2A, Regon II Meet along its home course – the Weeki Wachee Preserve at Hernando Beach. Photo by TONY CASTRO
EAGLE TANDEM – F.W. Springstead sophomores (left to right) Kylie Kanaar and Maya Rhymer earned medalis with top 15 efforts during last week’s Class 3A, District 7 Meet at McKethan Lake Park in Brooksville. Photo by TONY CASTRO

REGIONAL CROSS COUNTRY

Coveted trip to the

FHSAA State Finals

at Tallahassee on the line

Bt TONY CASTRO

HernandoSport.com

Hernando County’s final 26 distance runners will be seeking a berth in Saturday, Nov. 10’s prestigious FHSAA State Finals at Leon County.

At Hernando Beach’s Weeki Wachee Preserve, the Class 2A, Region II Meet is set for 8:30 a.m. female start followed by the boys’ race at 9:05 a.m.

The female race is expected to feature NCT’s entire squad – which finished second during last Thursday’s Class 2A, District 7 Meet at McKethan Lake in Brooksville – along with Weeki Wachee frosh Eva Newhall.

In male’s race, NCT team, which finished third in districts will be on joined by Hernando High senior Ross Stalcup and WWHS siblings Yeatesh and Jaiden Raghunandan.

At Lecanto High, the Class 3A, Region II Meet will take place in Citrus County.

The girls’ race – set for 8 a.m. will include F.W. Spring stead’s entire squad. The Lady Eagles placed third in last week’s 3A-7 race to advance to regionals.

The boys’ race, Hernando County’s lone entry at 8:35 a.m. is Springstead sophomore Rayaan Kader.

Only the top six teams and top 15 individuals in those four races will advance to the spacious Apalachee Regional Park next Saturday in Leon County.

Lady Sharks seeded seventh

Hernando County champion Nature Coast Technical is seeking its fifth state appearance in 16 seasons.

NCT hasn’t been represented in states as a team in back-to-back since 2012-13 under skipper Eric Milholland.

The Brooksville thinclads are painfully aware of its current situation.

After the virtual meet – which prognosticates where teams will finish base on their fastest times – NCT enters seeded seventh overall

According to the virtual meet, Montverde Academy will repeat as regional champions followed closely by Trinity Prep and Lake Highland Prep.

Two-time 2A-7 champ Inverness-Citrus – the Sharks’ nemesis over the past two seasons – is tied for fourth with Tavares (with 154 points).

The Villages is seeded sixth overall with 165 followed by NCT in seventh at 182.

Milholland, in his fifth season at the helm, isn’t in a pleasant mood. After stuffing five runners among the first 12 to the finish at McKethan, the Sharks still amazingly lost to Citrus High by 10 points.

The biggest reason? The Golden Hurricanes closed the race with its top three runners finishing 1-2-3.

Eric Milholland

“Yeah, I’m not okay with what happened,” addressed Milholland. “Citrus has (Mackenzie) Scordato, but their No. 2 and No. 3 girls beat our No. 1. They (Citrus) ran great. We had some PRs (personal records), but we’ve got problems this week.”

In forecasting the race, “Everyone has to run well. Even if we run close to our potential, we might not be going (to states),” shared Milholland. “For us to go, we all have to have a good day and everyone has to be on.”

Leah Marville

NCT is led by the county’s fastest runner, senior Leah Marville at 20:21.23 while 3-5 slots include seniors Keira Barbee and Aliyah DiPalma and sophomore Isabel Dahmer.

Keira Barbee

The county’s ninth-fastest runner, NCT freshman Mackenzie Bell, may hold the key to Sharks advancing or not.

WWHS’ Newhall enters as the county’s seventh-fastest despite competing on her home course.

Newhall finished 24th during the fifth Weeki Wachee Invitational five weeks ago.

Sixth-year Hornets mentor Patrick Skipper revealed that Newhall is predicted to finish anywhere between 40-50.

Patrick Skipper

“This year, the girls seem to be overall stronger than the boys,” noted Skipper. “This race will give Eva some big-race experience. We’re still getting over the fact that our mainly freshmen team lost by one point on advancing to our home course (as a team).”

Eva Newhall

On Newhall’s chances, “She works hard,” noted Skipper. “She’s a team player. I just wish we had a team around her. It’ll be lonely competing by herself.”

On the inclement weather heading to Hernando Beach on Friday, “If the rain comes like it its supposed to, it’ll be wet and slippery for the runners on Saturday. It’s been brutally hot, but it’s supposed to be a lot less humid and really nice on Saturday morning.”

2A-7 Boys: NCT seeded eighth

In the boys’ race at Hernando Beach, NCT is searching for its ninth representation at states.

In his eighth season at the controls, Milholland indicated that the Sharks face a steeper slope to return to states.

Orlando-Lake Highland Prep is expected to win the meet in dominating fashion over Orlando-Bishop Moore, 70-152.

Always-tough Winter-Park-Trinity Prep is expected to finish third (152 points) followed by New Port Richey-Gulf (170), Port Orange (224), Gainesville-Eastside (242), The Villages (279) and NCT (280).

Frank Tirado

NCT is led by senior Frank Tirado. The track and field specialist is into distance running for the first time, and is ranked third-fastest in the county at 17:27.00.

“Frank (Tirado) was the one who ran really well last week,” mentioned Milholland. “I’m not surprised, he works very hard in practice.”

Meanwhile, Yeatesh and Jaiden Raghunandan of Weeki Wachee, are currently seeded fourth and sixth respectively in the county honor roll.

The brothers finished 14th and 20th respectively during the Sept. 29 WW Invite.

“The brothers have to run PRs,” projected Coach Skipper. “Its not out of the question that they would advance if they run a 17-minute race. Walking in, those two guys are on the bubble as far as advancing.

“Hopefully, us knowing the course a little better than the others should help,” said Skipper. “This is a big meet. We’re hosting it to get our name out there and putting on a good meet.”

3A-7 Meet: Lady Eagles are long shots

Ross Stalcup

At Lecanto, Springstead’s Kader is neck-and-neck against defending Runner of the Year, Ross Stalcup of Hernando, for this year’s MVP.

Rayaan Kader

Kader enters five seconds slower than Stalcup’s seasonal best time of 17:07.54, ranked second overall.

The first-year distance phenom is returning to Citrus County after opening the season placing 27th overall at the Lecanto Invite in 18:02.

Kader would like nothing more than to become the first Eagle since 2015 when Hernando County Runner of the Year Allen Keister blazed a path to states.

On the girls’ side, SHS is not expected to advance.

Its best runner, sophomore Kyle Kanaar, enters as the second-fastest runner this season from Hernando County in 21:01.50.

But the field is stacked. Kanaar’s fastest time seeds her 21st entering LHS.

Joel Myers

“It’s hard to say how we’ll do,“ described ninth-year Eagles’ mentor Joey Myers. “It’ll be interesting. I was pretty pleased with our girls last week. We had six PRs.”

On what Myers wants to see in Citrus County “I’d like our girls to just run our best. All of our best times are based on flat courses. Well, Lecanto is not a PR course. I don’t know how we’ll respond. We’ll see what happens.”

On competing at LHS, “The course isn’t difficult. I don’t want our girls to change their tactics. At Lecanto, we’ll have chances to pass people. We’ve just got to go out there and run.

“… As far as Kylie (Kanaar), she could make it out (individually). She’s gotta slow down during that first mile.”

AT A GLANCE

WHAT Class 2A, Region II Boys Cross Country Meet.

Weeki Wachee Hornets

WHO Hernando High’s Ross Stalcup, Weeki Wachee’s Yeatesh and Jaiden Raghunandan along with Nature Coast Technical‘s entire team.

WHERE Weeki Wachee Preserve, Hernando Beach.

WHEN Saturday, Nov. 3, 9:05 a.m..

AT STAKE Top six teams, top 15 individuals advance to Saturday, Nov. 10’s 72nd FHSAA State Finals at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee.

AT A GLANCE

WHAT Class 2A, Region II Girls Cross Country Meet.

    Weeki Wachee Hornets

WHO Weeki Wachee’s Eva Newhall along with the entire teams from Hernando and Nature Coast Technical.

WHERE Weeki Wachee Preserve, Hernando Beach.

WHEN Saturday, Nov. 3, 8:30 a.m.

AT STAKE Top six teams, top 15 individuals advance to Saturday, Nov. 10’s 45th FHSAA State Finals at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee.

2017 Final Class 2A, Region II

Boys Team Results

 

PL.

 

TEAM

 

PTS

1.

Winter Park-Trinity Prep

34

2.

Orlando-Lake Highland Prep

67

3.

Tavares

92

4.

Port Orange-Atlantic

124

 

5.

 

Brooksville-Nature Coast Technical

 

164

6.

Inverness-Citrus

207

7.

Alachua-Santa Fe

219

8.

New Port Richey-Ridgewood

227

9.

Crystal River

255

10.

Gainesville-Eastside

261

11.

Pierson-Taylor County

286

12.

New Port Richey-Gulf

299

13.

Dunnellon

343

14.

Keystone Heights

349

15.

Citra-North Marion

356

2017 Final Top 10 Boys Results

 

PL.

 

NAME

 

YR

 

SCHOOL

 

TIME

1.

Turbyfill, Trent

12

Trinity Prep

15:55.00

2.

Woodruff, Richard

12

Trinity Prep

15:58.40

3.

Jessup, John

11

Gulf

16:07.50

4.

Hensley, Jacob

11

Citrus

16:46.00

5.

Wilhelm, Christopher

11

Trinity Prep

16:50.90

6.

Laboy, Gabriel

11

Tavares

16:51.00

7.

Valiquette, Ryder

12

Montverde

16:52.20

8.

Alejo, Jacob

11

Taylor County

16:57.10

9.

Gottschalk, Jonah

12

Lake Highland Prep

16:58.90

10.

Laboy, Fernando

12

Tavares

16:59.50

NATURE COAST (164) – 25. Harrison Ryczek 17:46.30, 33. Lenny Iacopelli 17:57.00, 8:15.30, 34. Ian Escamilla 17:58.40, 35. Christian Lindo 18:05.50, 60. Gage Sugg 19:06.30, 67. Mason Orellana 19:38.40.

WEEKI WACHEE (NTS) – 41. Anand Raghunandan 18:13.60, 42. Brandon Boggs 18:19.50, 49. Jaiden Raghunandan 18:35.70.

HERNANDO (NTS) – 32. Ross Stalcup 17:56.50.

2017 Final Class 2A, Region II

Girls Team Results

Montverde Academy Eagles
 

PL.

 

TEAM

 

PTS

1.

Montverde Academy

31

2.

Orlando-Trinity Prep

50

3.

Tavares

90

4.

Inverness-Citrus

127

 

5.

 

Brooksville-Nature Coast Technical

 

131

6.

The Villages

162

7.

Gainesville-Eastside

176

8.

Crystal River

223

9.

Alachua-Santa Fe

229

 

10.

 

Brooksville-Hernando

 

279

11.

Pierson-Taylor

281

12.

Fort White

331

13.

Crescent City

349

2017 Final Top 10 Girls Results

 

PL.

 

NAME

 

YR

 

SCHOOL

 

TIME

1.

Cardwell, Kendyl

9

Montverde Academy

18:39.00

2.

Henne, Lily

8

Montverde Academy

18:45.10

3.

Clark, Rebecca

11

The Villages

19:17.50

4.

Felton, Jillian

12

Citrus

19:33.60

4.

Henne, Lily

7

Montverde Academy

18:45.10

5.

McNally, Audrey

10

Trinity Prep

19:35.28

6.

Pisello, Alaina

9

Trinity Prep

19:43.70

7.

Meers, Nicole

11

Montverde Academy

19:47.10

8.

Sperry, Ryleigh

8

Montverde Academy

19:47.48

9.

Cisneros, Alexandra

11

Lake Highland Prep

19:50.40

10.

Tovkach, Anna

12

Eastside

19:57.70

NATURE COAST (131) – 21. Mia DeRonda 20:53.20, 25. Aliyah Dipalma 21:32.20, 28. Keira Barbee 21:54.80, 30. Emily Escamilla 22:08.10, 44. Isabel Dahmer 23:04.10, 90. Abigail Ball 30:31.80.

HERNANDO (279) – 39. Megan McDowell 22:33.00, 51. Brooke Pantley 23:38.70, 61. Kara Wilson 24:31.30, 86. Savannah Foley 29:33.60, 95. Catherine Cornell 32:59.20, 96. Anna Babione 34:24.20.

CENTRAL (NTS) – 72. Rayna King 25:56.20.

WEEKI WACHEE (NTS) – 49. Caitlin Lewandowski 23:15.30.

AT A GLANCE

Lecanto Panthers

WHAT Class 3A, Region II Boys Cross Country Meet.

WHO Springstead sophomore Rayaan Kader.

WHERE Lecanto High School, 3810 W. Educational Path., Lecanto.

WHEN Saturday, Nov. 3, 8:35 a.m..

AT STAKE Top six teams, top 15 individuals advance to Saturday, Nov. 10’s 72nd FHSAA State Finals at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee.

 

 

AT A GLANCE

Lecanto Panthers

WHAT Class 3A, Region II Girls Cross Country Meet.

WHO Springstead’s entire team..

WHERE Lecanto High School, 3810 W. Educational Path., Lecanto.

WHEN Saturday, Nov. 3, 8:00 a.m..

AT STAKE Top six teams, top 15 individuals advance to Saturday, Nov. 10’s 45th FHSAA State Finals at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee.

 

 

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