cit xc

Members of the Citrus girls cross country team after finishing fourth at a regional meet last weekend in Lake City. The Hurricanes make their fourth straight appearance at state Saturday in Tallahassee.

At this point, the Citrus girls cross country team should have a pretty firm grasp of what to expect today at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee.

When the Hurricanes compete in the Class 2A FHSAA State Championships, with the race scheduled to start at 9:35 a.m., it’ll mark the fourth consecutive season they’ve participated in the state meet.

“It’s always an exciting time. It’s exciting to see all the hard work pay off,” Citrus girls coach Roselle Lattin said. “Every team’s goal at the end of the season is to make it to the state meet.

“It means a lot to our program. All the girls I’ve been fortunate enough to coach work so hard. To continue with the tradition we’ve built, to go year after year, it never gets old.”

In 2016, Citrus finished 20th, then improved to 17th in 2017 and slipped only slightly to 18th a year ago.

The ’Canes’ top four runners, Mackenzie Scordato, Taylor Koon, Carleigh Steel and Kendall Gibson, all got a chance to run as freshmen in last year’s state meet. Scordato had the best finish, running a 40th-place 19:52.97.

She figures to place considerably higher this time around, possibly competing for a medal. She comes in seeded 23rd, having won a district championship and then finishing third in the region with a 19:31.79.

“She would love to medal,” Lattin said. “For individually though she’s had her eye on breaking the school record, which is 19:07. She has the right competition, she has the right course and the weather is supposed to be good. If everything goes well, hopefully she’ll be able to do that.”

As for the team, Lattin said she has run a couple virtual meets and on paper Citrus sits 15-16th overall. The Florida Athletic Coaches Association ranks the ’Canes 15th, and Scordato 17th among individuals.

“Our goal going into the state meet is to place in the top 15,” Lattin said “The girls are running really well. We’re peaking at the right time. I believe if the girls run what they’re capable of running we should be in the top 15 if not better.”

Lecanto’s Chase Wilson is the only other county representative running at states, in the boys 3A race at 8:20 a.m.

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Contact Chronicle sports reporter Chris Bernhardt at 352-563-5660, chris.bernhardt@chronicleonline.com or on twitter @cpbernhardtjr.

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