Cross Country Team Takes Runner-Up at States


[ot-caption title=”The boys’ Cross Country team celebrates its successful performance at the State Championship meet. (via Jacob Nachlas, Junior)” url=””]

What sets this year apart is that this team is focused on what they want to accomplish and have worked really hard starting in June to get to this point.–Coach Baur[/blockquote]

Coach Paul Baur was very excited about the Florida High School Athletic Association Class 2A State Championship this season, and his runners were just as eager to prove their hard work to the rest of Florida. The team (both boys’ and girls’) placed second overall with spectacular individual performances by 7th grader Tsion Yared (1st), junior Julia Montgomery (8th), and on the boys’ side, sophomore Michael Kennedy (9th).

The Men’s Cross Country team celebrates its first ever runner-up finish at States (Trinity Prep took 1st), its previous best finish being 6th place last year. There is no doubt that these runners put in all of their effort to earn their spot on the podium, and their dedication certainly paid off. They also placed second in the Regional Championship for the first time in school history, with three finalists who finished in the top 15, Michael Kennedy (3), Ryan Welch (7), and Jake Gilbert (12).

The Women’s team had an equally successful state championship, finishing second to Bolles High School. The girls were looking for a State title, but instead had to settle for second. However, 7th grader, Tsion Yared  did finish as the individual 2A state champion with an incredible time of 18:18.

Yared had an especially impressive race, outrunning Beatriz Ruan of Ransom Everglades by eleven seconds. The favorite to win entering the race, Yared struggled with cramps during Regionals, but pulled through to win both the Regional and the State title. It is clear that her name is one to remember in High School Women’s Cross Country, and it is even more impressive that she has yet to enter high school. Her sisters, 6th grader Mahdere and Senior Mahlet placed 13th and 35th respectively at States, helping the girls secure their second place finish. Julia Montgomery also had a great performance, placing 8th in the state out of 179 runners with a time of 18:52. In the men’s race, Michael Kennedy was the top individual performer for the Panthers, placing 9th with a time of 16:21.00. Juniors, Jake Gilbert and Ryan Welch also ran impressive races, placing 28th and 32nd respectively.

The Cross Country team went into the championship with very high expectations. “We hope to… come home with a trophy,” said a confident Coach Baur a few days before leaving for Tallahassee, the home of the state meet for the past 3 years. Having achieved this goal, the Cross Country team can now set its sights on doing just as well and perhaps even better in next year’s State Championships.