OCALA – With freshman Mei Chiang a top finisher in 14th place, the Fleming Island High girls cross country team showed off some state meet level running with a strong fifth place finish at the …
OCALA – With freshman Mei Chiang a top finisher in 14th place, the Fleming Island High girls cross country team showed off some state meet level running with a strong fifth place finish at the Florida Horse Park Invitational Sept. 8 in Ocala.
The meet, which featured a girls field of state meet runners and teams, was run on the upcoming state meet championship course.
Chiang, one of handful of freshman and sophomore runners who all converged to jump start the Golden Eagles running squad with their junior high prowess, finished 14th with a time of 19 minutes, 52.3 seconds in the strong field that was won by Montverde Academy’s Lily Henne, a fifth place finished in Class 2A last year. Henne won in 18:34.4 just ahead of Elayna Bahr of 4A-Winter Springs, who sprinted in at 18:47.6. Bahr is a state meet finisher finishing 31st in 4A last year as Winter Springs took fourth in team points in 4A.
In team points in Ocala, Montverde took the team title with 88 points with two runners in the top 10; winner and ninth place. Winter Park, the defending Class 4A champions, finished second with 116 points with Citrus Park Christian, third in Class 1A last year, third with 130 points.
Fleming Island scored 182 points to take fifth behind Winter Springs.
Behind Chiang, freshman Grace Adams continued her strong second finisher status with a 20th place finish in 20:32.8 followed by sophomore Emma Millson, 28th in 20:49.8, sophomore Marisa Kortright, 56th in 21:41.4 and Kennedy Williams, 71st in 22:08.9 as the top five for Fleming Island. Also running was Keystone Heights High sophomore Camryn Williams, 52nd in 21:35.5, after a winning run last week at the Bradford County Invitational.
Middleburg High sophomore Emma Mussante ran 22:18 to take 78th leading the Lady Broncos to a 25th in team points.
With the strong showing in Ocala and a team title at the Bob Hans Invitational two weeks ago, Fleming Island, under coach Susan Baker, has a shot at a region to state meet finish after nearly a decade of no-shows at the state championships.
In the boys race, equally filled with state meet candidates, Keystone Heights High’s Alex Guy finished 83rd in 18:08.5 with teammates Tyler Shaw in at 161st in 19:23.3, Jerry Payne in at 192nd in 20:06.4, Jay Payne in at 200th in 20:19, Garrett Stanley in at 201st at 20:19.2 and Joseph Danella in at 260th in 23:29.7. Keystone Heights finished 27th. Bolles won the team title with 32 points led by Charles Hicks’ 15:33.5 time as four runners finished under 16 minutes.