Tag Archives: cross country

Student Spotlight: Asher Dobrin

By Tori Kitchens

Senior Arts Conservatory Program (ACP) member and student-athlete Asher Dobrin has been part of the Oak Hall community since the beginning of his academic career. As a lifer*, Dobrin has participated in several extra curriculars, including cross country, soccer, track and field, band, and numerous clubs. “For me, the most important thing and the definition of a student-athlete is probably just being able to incorporate those two parts of my life together, and I like to blend it together and relate my academics and my athletics. I think it makes it more enjoyable,” he said. 

Dobrin began running cross country going into his sixth-grade year. Many athletes do cross country to stay in shape for another sport, and his parents wanted him to run to prepare for soccer. As he kept practicing, Dobrin became of Oak Hall’s strongest runners, and achieved a personal best time of 16:24 for a 5K. Dobrin has been a part of the state runner-up team for the past three cross country seasons. “While this is more of an on-paper accomplishment, I think it’s representative of what I am really proud of the most, which is just being a part of one of the best groups of people I could ask for,” he noted. Out of 227 runners at the state finals this year, Dobrin placed 26.

Soccer has always been one of those sports Asher could always come back to. He began playing soccer around the age of three or four on a community league team and as he reached middle school, Dobrin joined GSA, a travel soccer team. “I’ve played my whole life and [I] am not very good, but it’s nostalgic and comforting,” Dobrin joked. 

Although no one in his immediate family played an instrument, Dobrin was always interested in learning about music and seemed to gravitate toward it. “I thought it was cool and all my friends did it, so now I’m in it,” he pointed out. He began band in sixth grade, but he did not find his instrument, the bass, until eighth grade. Going into his sophomore year, Dobrin made the decision to audition for ACP. “I really wanted to challenge myself, and I put a lot of time into music in 9thgrade,” Dobrin explained. As a senior, Dobrin can play upright bass, electric bass, cello, piano, ukulele, and some guitar, but he has always preferred playing the upright bass. “I also love to dabble around on any instruments I can get my hands on,” Dobrin stated.

Dobrin wants younger student-athletes and ACP students to understand that enjoying what they are doing and not getting too stressed out are the most important things. “Always make sure you’re obviously enjoying it, but you’re putting your full effort into things because if you put more effort into it, you’re going to enjoy it more because you’ll enjoy the outcome more,” Dobrin stated. 

Hoping to attend the University of Georgia or the University of Colorado, Dobrin would like to study music composition or environmental studies. In addition, Dobrin would like to either sign with or walk on to a Division I Cross Country and Track team. 

* A “lifer” is a student that has consecutively attended Oak Hall from Pre-K, Junior Kindergarten, or Kindergarten through senior year.

A – Z with Asher Dobrin

A – Advice you’d give your freshman-self? Do your homework.
B – Best pre-race meal? Apples.
C – Coach’s best words of advice? Run fast, turn left.
D – Favorite dessert? Ice cream.
E – Most entertaining class? Freshman year geometry with Mr. L.
F – Favorite high school moment? I don’t know yet. The lounge freshman year with the carpet!
G – Goals for your senior year? Get into college and get into musical school.
H – Hoping to attend what college? Either University of Georgia or University of Colorado.
I – Interesting thing you do outside of arts and athletics? I volunteer with conservationist agencies. 
J – Favorite joke? What’s — oh I forgot! What’s blue and not very heavy? Light blue. 
K – Key to maintaining homework? Prioritizing assignments. 
L – Least favorite music style to play? Jazz.
M – Music you listen to? Indie, funk, and rock.
N – Netflix or Hulu? Netflix. 
O – What other sport would you like to try? Volleyball. 
P – Preparations for a big meet or performance? I try to sleep, I drink a lot of water, and I eat sushi.
Q – Question you’d ask your future self? Am I still not sleeping enough?
R – Most relaxing part of your day? Going to bed.
S – What would your senior superlative be? Best hair. 
T – Favorite TV show? I don’t watch TV. 
U – Most underrated music genre? Anarbor funk. 
V – Favorite vacation spot? Anywhere with mountains. 
W – What does it mean to you to be an Eagle? A lot.
X – Have you ever had an x-ray? Yes, many. 
Y – What do you want your impact to younger athletes and musicians be? Have fun!
Z – What is your zodiac sign? Cancer. 

Cross Country, Volleyball Teams Head to State

By Tori Kitchens

This past Saturday, Oak Hall athletes brought home three Regional Championship titles. Both the girls and boys cross country teams and the volleyball program added another trophy to the trophy case. 

Girls Cross Country          
Over the last decade, the Oak Hall girls cross country team has been dominant in regional play. Having won eight of the last 10 Regional Championships, this team had high hopes for another victorious race. 

The Lady Eagles were faced with rough conditions on Saturday: lower than 50-degree weather, cold winds, light rain, and a muddy course. Regardless, the team gave it their all. 

Senior Lauren Jones led the race from the very beginning. The start of the race was difficult for her because her body had not warmed up in the cold, but she was quickly able to find her stride. “It was an adjustment, I guess,” Jones said. She continued to look strong throughout the race through the finish. The girls number one runner was able to pull off another regional victory with a time of 19:40. 

All of Oak Hall’s girls finished in the top 15. Junior Sydney Miller and freshman Alivia Dragstedt stuck together for the entire race. They finished third and fourth with times of 20:12.3 and 20:12.7, respectively. Sophomore Mackenzie Klein finished in 12th with a strong time of 21:08. The girls’ two seventh grade runners both stepped up in big ways when the Eagle’s number five runner, sophomore Eli Eisner, got hurt during practice. Valeria Beaver took that five spot to clinch the Eagles a victory placing 13th with a time of 21:09. Lola Murfee came in not too far after Beaver coming in 14th in 21:15. 

The Eagles came out on top with 29 points over Circle Christian’s 81. The Centurions are one of the top contenders for a state title this year. Circle Christian, however, went out slowly during the race to save up for this week’s State Championship Meet. 

Regardless, Oak Hall’s girls team is looking forward to defending its title and become State Champions for the third year in a row and for the fifth time in program history. “I’m looking forward to, I’d say kind of soaking everything in because it is my last one, so I’m just looking forward to really just focusing on running for a team title with the girls,” Jones added. 

Boys Cross Country
Unlike the girls, the Eagles’ boys cross country has not been as dominant at regional meets. The team has only ever won the regionals three times in program history with two being in the last two seasons.

Although the rain had stopped by the time the boys’ race began, the mud and cold was still a big challenge for the Eagles to face, but they appreciated the conditions. “The warmup was horrible, but once we started going, it was really, really nice,” junior Caden Montini said. 

The boys’ race was quite different than the girls’, as the team had a slightly different strategy. Montini went out and stayed behind the leader, St. Francis’s Julian Bautista. Senior Asher Dobrin wasn’t too far behind. Coming out of the woods on the second and final lap, Montini and Dobrin were leading the race with Foundation Academy’s Mehari van der Riet and Bautista fair behind them. As they came across the finish line, Montini finished as the Regional Champion in 16:56 and Dobrin finished as the Regional Runner-Up with a time of 17:06. 

The rest of the team finished in top 30 with the top six Eagles running under 18 minutes. Senior Jake Ciocca moved up in the race to finish sixth with a time of 17:32. Junior Gabe Collante finished as the Eagles’ fourth runner in ninth in 17:38. Freshman Peter Peloso clinched Oak Hall’s team title in 11th with a time of 17:55. Oak Hall’s sixth and seventh runners, senior Ryland Kane and sophomore Quinten Dragstedt, finished in 13th and 30th with times of 17:57 and 18:21, respectively.

Oak Hall came in first with 29 points over Circle Christian’s 85. Once again, Circle Christian is one of the Eagles’ top competitors for the state title, and they took it easy on the boys’ side as well.

Heading into the state meet, Dobrin and Montini are looking ahead. “I’m just excited to have fun because it’s my last state meet, so I just want to enjoy it,” Dobrin explained. Montini is looking forward to getting the first boys cross country state title in the program’s history and breaking the streak of runner-up finishes. 

Oak Hall’s volleyball program was looking to do what no team has done since 2010: win a Regional Championship and make it to the Final Four. The team won the district title for the first time since 2010 in October to continue its impressive post season run. 

Harvest Community School’s girls’ volleyball team traveled to the Eagle’s Oxborough Gym bringing a busload of fans with them. When combined with Oak Hall’s fans, the match was sold out, and the gym was packed full of people there to cheer for their team’s victory. “The student body was our seventh man or seventh woman for this match,” head coach Perry McDonald exclaimed. “They were tremendous and absolutely priceless.”

The Lady Eagles did not have the greatest start to Saturday’s match, as the team was down 19-24 in the first set. They battled all the way back to 23-24 but were not able to take the set. “From that point on, they really played fundamentally sound, intelligent, and aggressive volleyball,” McDonald pointed out. The team was able to take the title in the following three sets with scores of 25-15, 25-15, and 25-16. 

There were several girls that stood out during the match’s four sets. Senior Sophia Aulisio had the most kills on either team with a career high of 25. “I think today was one of my best games, so I’m proud of it,” Aulisio said. Fellow senior Cate Cannon led her team with six blocks. “I did what I needed to do at the net. I got a lot of blocks, so I’m proud of what I was able to contribute overall,” Cannon stated. The Eagles’ success in serving solidified the regional win. Sophomore Sydney Jurecko served nine straight points in the second set and freshman Cassidy McDonald served six straight points with four aces to finish the third. Eighth grader Amelia Chen led the team in serving with 18 total service points and seven aces. Chen finished off the match with five straight service points and clinched the Oak Hall volleyball program its first regional finals win since 2010. 

Being in the Final Four for the first time in 11 years is something the athletes having been working toward. “We’ve spent hours outside of school-oriented practices putting in the work, and I think it’s really paid off,” Cannon declared. The Lady Eagles take on Seacrest Country Day at 2 p.m. Saturday in Naples.

Good luck to our athletes this weekend!

Eagles Begin Play for Postseason Glory

By Tori Kitchens

Swimming and Diving
Oak Hall’s swimming and diving team took to the pool yesterday for its district meet. Seven boys and 14-16 girls participated at the district competition. The athletes competed against Community Christian, Florida High, Maclay, North Bay Haven, St. Francis, PK Yonge, Rocky Bayou Christian, and Pensacola Catholic. Last season, the girls achieved a third-place finish in the district, while the boys placed fifth.

Having several goals this season, head coach Quinn Bohan’s main goal is not to win a title, but for each athlete to grow and have fun. “The mission of our team is to help our athletes fulfill their athletic goals while here at Oak Hall,” he emphasized. 

Oak Hall’s volleyball team began its postseason run on Tuesday at Countryside Christian. As the district’s No. 1 seed, Oak Hall received a bye Monday night and defeated No. 4 seed Countryside Christian. Having beaten Countryside Christian in three sets at their gym, Coach Perry McDonald is confident in his team’s success. “Our hope is that we can win our District Championship because, if we do, we’re going to be able to come through and bring our fans at Oak Hall some really fun playoff volleyball,” he said. 

The volleyball team has not been able to bring home a district title since 2010. The Lady Eagles have a tough task at hand, as most members don’t have much experience in postseason play. “This team is poised to do what no other team in the past probably eight to 10 years has done,” McDonald shared. 

McDonald has high hopes for his team. Besides bringing Oak Hall another district championship, his main goal is to give the girls of the team experience in the post season to grow from in the upcoming years. “We’re very lucky to have three phenomenal seniors – Cate Cannon, Sophia Aulisio, and Emi Scorpio – that are really doing a sensational job on the court guiding this team and helping them be successful,” McDonald noted. 

Both the boys and girls golf teams at Oak Hall have its district tournament at Ocala National Golf Club on Oct. 25 at 9 a.m. This tournament is an all-day 18-hole match that will be hosted by Trenton High School. 

Oak Hall’s boys’ golf team is hoping to place in the top three in order to advance to the regional tournament. The competitors include St. Francis, Eastside, and Trenton to name a few. Boys’ captains Lucas Katz (OHS class of 2024) and Tanmay Chandra (OHS class of 2025) both have a similar goal in mind: a back-to-back district win for the first time since 2011. “We have the best win record, I believe, in close to 15 years, so it’s looking good,” Katz shared.

On the girls’ side, the Lady Eagles must place as one of the top two teams to qualify for regionals, which shouldn’t be difficult considering the team is looking to win its third district championship in a row. Although members of the team have been strong at the district level, none of the athletes have advanced to regional competition before. Senior co-captain Amanda Malnik is hoping the team plays its best in the postseason. “We need to work on our short game and putting in particular as a team,” Malnik noted. 

Cross Country
Oak Hall’s cross country programs are hoping to bring home another district win at Alligator Lake in Lake City on Oct. 26. The girls are set to begin competition at 9 a.m. and the boys at 9:40 a.m. All teams are eligible to compete with up to 10 runners at districts. The top eight teams will qualify to the regional competition. “If we do our own jobs, we worry about ourselves, it’ll take care of itself,” Coach Edwin McTureous said. 

McTureous is confident that he will see multiple Oak Hall runners place in the top 10 in both the girls’ and boys’ competitions. Senior Lauren Jones and junior Caden Montini are currently the top runners for Oak Hall, but McTureous expects that many other of the teams’ runners have a shot at an individual district title. “If one [opponent] has an off-day, I think we have several boys that [have] a chance to win,” McTureous noted. 

After a tough season plagued by injuries, Oak Hall’s football program is getting prepared to begin its playoff run on Oct. 29. Out of 24 teams, the Sunshine State Athletic Conference (SSAC) ranks the top eight teams to continue into the playoffs. “We are guaranteed two games, so if for some reason we lost the first round, we would still be able to play in a consolation game the next week, but then that would be it,” Head Coach RJ Fuhr explained. 

Most of the Eagles’ injured players are set to return before the playoffs. Senior quarterback Georgi El-Semarani re-injured his ankle in his first game back during the regular season. Although El-Semarani does not have a set return date, he is hoping to play in the final regular season game against St. Francis. “[I am] aiming to try and be back fully by playoffs,” he said. Junior Eliah Bacchus is the only player that will not return for the playoffs, as he injured his femur. 

The team’s experience at the State Championship game last year at Bryant Stadium in Lakeland gave the Eagles a beneficial experience that is being utilized during the postseason this year.

Senior Spotlight: Harrison Grooms

In an effort to make this year special for Oak Hall’s senior athletes, we created A-Z questions for them to answer. We hope you enjoy!

Harrison Grooms is a member of Oak Hall’s varsity girls cross country team, and the varsity girls track and field team!

By Sarah Rosenberg

A – Advice you’d give your freshman self?  Chill out and don’t take everything so seriously.
B – Best pre-race meal? Two nights before we love to eat pasta, but the night before is either chicken or fish.
C – Coach’s best words of advice? Run hard and stay relaxed.
D – Favorite dessert? Pazookie.
E – Most entertaining practice? The week before state we always have a day when the boys dress as the girls and the girls dress as the boys.
F – Favorite high school athletic moment? Any race I get to run with my teammates. 
G – Goals for your senior season? I hope to make it a really welcoming atmosphere for the younger runners.
H – Hoping to attend (which college)? I will be attending Davidson College in the fall.
I – Interesting thing about you away from running? I’m obsessed with puzzles. If you come over to my house, I have a million laying out.
J – Favorite joke? How does a sheep get to the hospital? In a lambulance! 
K – Keys to maintaining homework? I try to get as much done as I can during my free periods and my sister is a genius and always keeps me super motivated. 
L – Least favorite practice drill? I’m pretty known for how much I love stretching but we do these high skips and I am not a fan.
M – Music you listen to? All kinds. I love upbeat happy music. 
– Netflix or Hulu? Love them both but probably Netflix. 
O – Outside hobbies (other than your sport)? Walks with my family and cooking. 
P – Preparations for a big meet include? Lots of sleep.
Q – Question you would ask your future self? How are you making the world a better place?
R – Most relaxing part of your day? Probably sitting at dinner and talking about my day with my family.         
S – What would your senior superlative be? “Most likely to say good morning”. 
T – Favorite TV show? The CrownFriends, and This is Us.
U – Most underrated pet? A bunny.
V – Favorite vacation spot? Camden, Maine. 
W – What does it mean to you to be an Eagle? To have a tightknit community that supports you no matter what.
X – Any X-rays? One last year when I dropped a computer charger on my foot. It all ended up being okay.
Y – Your impact to the younger athletes on the team? Hopefully they’ll remember me as the goofy senior who always tried to put a smile on their face.          
Z – Favorite zoo animal? Tigers.

“The Hall Hub”: Regional Sporting Events

Join Kaylee and Jennifer with special guest, cross country district champion Lauren Jones, on this week’s podcast! All three ladies advanced to regionals in their respective sports (Kaylee in diving, Jennifer in swimming, and Lauren in cross country). Hear how Lauren gets pumped for races, her outlook on regionals and state, and the closeness of her and her teammates.