by Grant Mollett, M.Ed., East Ridge High School
Titusville (September 8) On Saturday morning the East Ridge High School girls cross country team traveled to the Space Coast to compete in the 46thannual Astronaut Invitational at the Chain of Lakes Park in Titusville, Florida. The athletic fields, which are situated in some preserved Florida wetlands, made for great terrain for a cross country meet. Throughout the morning, some of the course took a beating, as hundreds of runners slogged through some muddy spots. Lost shoes, dirty socks, and a bright September sun reminded the runners that summer is still hanging around.
Girls from 31 different schools throughout Central Florida participated in this morning’s meet. Sunrise in Titusville was 7:05, and the starter’s pistol went off at 7:30 signifying the start of the girl’s race. East Ridge’s first runner across the finish line was junior Reagan Parks. The last time the Knights participated in the Astronaut Invitational was in 2016 – when Reagan was a freshman. That year her finish time was 29:08, and her place was 243rdout of 286 female runners. This year, Reagan showed off her improvement from her freshman year by finishing in 21:40 and placing 33rdout of a field of 254 female runners. Reagan’s near eight-minute improvement from two years ago set her new 2018 season’s best time. Senior Alexis Hill came through the finish chute second for the Knights. Alexis improved immensely from her 2016 Astronaut Invitational finish time as well. She finished in a time of 21:47, which was a near four-minute improvement from her sophomore performance. Alexis finished in 41stplace this morning.
The third Knight to finish was senior Cassidy Carroll. Cassidy finished in 77thplace and posted a new career personal best time of 22:37. Cassidy’s performance was more than a two-minute improvement from her first meet of the season. Sophomore Mackenzie Hill was the fourth scorer for the varsity team this morning. She placed 79thand came across the line in a time of 22:41 – her new current season’s best time. The fifth runner for the Knights was sophomore Emy Wells. She placed 126thand posted her season’s best time of 24:03. Senior Eliya Anderson was the sixth runner for East Ridge this morning. Eliya placed 142ndand finished in a time of 24:29, as she swiftly set a new career personal best. Sophomore Olivia Peine was the seventh Knight to finish the race, and she placed 146thoverall in a new career personal best time of 24:35. Senior Haley Dykstra was the eighth Knight to finish the race, and she placed 244thin a time of 33:30 – her new current season-best time.
As a team, the East Ridge girls placed tenth out of 31 schools that fielded complete teams. East Ridge was able to edge out district rival Olympia High School, who placed eleventh overall. Trinity Prep took first overall in the team scores by placing three girls in the top ten. The overall winner for the girls’ varsity race was freshman Amber Schulz from Timber Creek High School. She finished the race in a speedy time of 19:09.
The girls cross country team will participate in the Early Hawk Invitational on Saturday, September 15 at Lake Minneola High School.
For full results from the 46thAnnual Astronaut Invitational visit, RESULTS