By Shailey Klein
On Oct. 12, the Oak Hall Boys and Girls Varsity Cross Country teams traveled to Tallahassee to take on a tough field of competition at the FSU Invitational (Pre-State). Pre-State provides Florida teams the opportunity to compete against the best runners in the state, in preparation for the State Championship Meet next month.
For the boys, junior Austin Montini posted a personal best time of 15:36, placing 8th in the Elite Boys Race. This time was also a school record, lowered from his own record set at 15:52 last week at the Bobcat Classic. “Going out fast at the Bobcat Classic and winning gave me a lot of confidence going into Pre-State,” Montini said. “I knew that Pre-State would give me the opportunity to run in some cooler weather with stronger competition,” he continued. Looking ahead toward post-season, Montini said that he still needs to “fine tune his race strategy in order to maximize his performance”. The rest of the boys varsity team gave a strong showing in the boys select race as well.
On the girls side, sophomore Lauren Jones led the way for the Eagles in the Girls Elite Race, placing 28th and posting a time of 18:55. Following Jones for the Eagles, came freshman Sydney Miller and junior Ally Means, with times of 19:52 and 19:55, respectively. The girls team finished 11th overall against the best competition in the state. Jones stated, “It was nice running against other girls in different classifications so I could see where I stand overall”. She also added that she likes having tough competition in races to push her.
With three of the top five varsity runners going sub-19 minutes and the entire team competing well against larger classifications, there is an exciting future ahead for the Eagles going into post-season. “It’s a good confidence booster for our girls team going into post season to know that we can beat these really good schools in other classifications,” Jones said.
Looking ahead, both teams are preparing for the District Meet on Oct. 26, hosted locally at Santa Fe College. This is the same course as the Bobcat Classic, a course familiar to the Eagles runners. The girls team is looking to win its 10th straight district championship, while the boys team is within reach of winning its fourth district championship in the last five years.
Photos by Jackson Ryan