The cross country season came to a close on Friday morning with a handful of county runners participating in the FHSAA Finals.
Competing at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee, the Citrus boys team finished 23rd overall in the Class 3A state championship race, posting a team score of 538.
“Today’s performance was very good,” said Citrus boys coach Karen Tyler, noting that prerace projections had the Hurricanes placing 24th. “I’m very pleased with the top three seniors. They performed very well and were excited to end their season on a good note.
“Thomas Tyler led his team all year, he had a 16:38, a good run on a moderately difficult course. There are a lot of hills in Tallahassee. The other seniors didn’t PR, but they ran respectable times.”
Senior Thomas Tyler’s time was good enough to put him in 29th place. Tristan Woods, also a senior, came in 42nd in a time of 16:50.2, and fellow senior Cody Bishir was 106th (17:42.9).
Rounding out the ’Canes were Randall Luke in 204th (19:18.5), Logan Simpson finished 206th (19:21.2), Austin Hooker was 208th (19:23.5) and Logan Shaw placed 215th (19:42.1). The Citrus boys were making their second consecutive trip to states.
“This was our first time in 3A, so it was very competitive,” Coach Tyler said. “They continually kept dropping times and performed well. They continually did better than what they were ranked. I’m pleased with the way the season went overall.”
Lecanto’s Catalina Veldwijk was the only county representative in the 3A girls race, crossing the finish line in 20:12, good for 43rd place.
“I had a lot of fun. It was a great race. I liked the whole experience of it,” Veldwijk said. “It was a tougher course and I wasn’t expecting that. But I still had a great time. … I just gave my best and just ran.”
The sophomore was taking part in the state meet for the first time even though she qualified as a freshman. She ended up having to miss out last year due to COVID-19.
“I was so happy when I qualified at regionals (last week). I was super excited,” Veldwijk said. “It was a really cool event, fun to be a part of and so amazing.
“… It was a good season. I PR’d by 30 seconds. I gained more confidence over the season. I enjoyed it and it was so much fun.”
Seven Rivers Christian eighth-grader Miles Tobin ran in the boys 1A state championship race and finished 69th (17:58).
“I didn’t think I’d do as well as I did,” Tobin said. “I was thinking 18:30, but I got into a good pace and stuck with the right guys, and tried to push as hard as I can.
“… It’s always exhilarating racing against kids you know are really fast. It was a great experience seeing all the fast runners. It’s a good time finishing my eighth-grade year. I want to try to improve every year and end up top in the state senior year.”