Cross Country places in top 10 in state meet

Macy McClintock, Sports Editor

After falsely qualifying for the FHSAA 3A Cross Country State Championship Meet in 2016, the girls cross country team was able to claim redemption this year and head off to Tallahassee with the boys team on Nov. 10 for the 2018 State Championship Meet. The boys placed eighth overall, with the girls finishing just behind them in ninth place.

“Thinking we made it was pretty upsetting two years ago” Sarah Dann (’19) said. “But it just makes making it this year even greater especially [me] being a senior.”

Dann led the girls team by finishing in 55th place with an overall time of 20:26. Shea Dingle (’21) was right behind Dann with a time of 20:36, taking 62nd place.

“Coach [Altimari, who is labeled the boys head coach but heavily coaches both teams] was expecting them to go somewhere between 10th and 15th place and they finished ninth, so I would say they exceeded expectations, ” Girls Head Coach Melissa Mousseau said. “They were focused and ran well.”

On the boys team, Ethan Geiger (’20), who was recently named the fastest cross country runner in Hillsborough County, took home a medal with a sixth place finish and a time of 15:57. Richard Bennett (’20) finished not far behind with a time of 16:36, placing 24th.

“I don’t see it [Geiger’s running success] being so much ‘dominant’ but rather just me focusing on doing my best,” Geiger said. “My coaches have definitely played a crucial rule in making me the athlete I am today, they teach me to keep digging deeper.”

Both the boys and girls teams will graduate three seniors this year but keep key returners like Shea for the girls and Geiger and Bennett for the boys.

“We still have some really strong runners coming back next year,” Dann said.