by Grant Mollett, M.Ed., East Ridge High School

Lakeland, Florida (September 29) – was the company and website that brought Florida high school cross country into the Internet age.  It has become the website through which Florida high school cross country teams post, register, and track results for thousands of running events every year.  Nineteen years ago began hosting a large cross-country event titled the Invitational. Over the years, this event has grown to span two days and include seventeen different races. Elementary, middle school, high school, and college races were scheduled for Friday and Saturday for the Invitational 19 this weekend at the beautiful Holloway Park in Lakeland Florida.  The East Ridge High School girls cross country team competed in the Girls High School Invitational Meet at Flrunners on Saturday morning

Girls from 36 different schools throughout Florida competed in the Invitational division at on Saturday morning.  Holloway Park’s running trails included multiple turns, brief inclines, and grassy terrain.  The sun was bright on the early races, but that did not stop runners from showing off their mid-season forms.  The first runner for East Ridge High School to come across the finish line was senior Alexis Hill.  Alexis had a season-best performance again this week, as she placed eighteenth out of a large field of 274 total female runners.  Alexis recorded a finish time of 21:03 – just three seconds shy of her career personal best time.  Junior Reagan Parks was the second team scorer for the Knights.  Reagan placed 36thoverall, and she finished in a time of 21:46.

The third Knight to finish was senior Cassidy Carroll.  Cassidy finished in 81stplace with a finish time of 22:44.  Sophomore Mackenzie Hill was the fourth scorer for the varsity team this morning.  She placed 123rdand came across the line in a time of 23:36. The fifth runner for the Knights was sophomore Olivia Peine.  She placed 152ndand posted a new season-best time of 24:05.  Sophomore Emy Wells was the sixth runner for East Ridge this morning.  Emy placed 169thand finished in a time of 24:29.  Senior Eliya Anderson finished in a time of 24:54 and placed 184thoverall.  The final runner for the Knights was senior Haley Dykstra. Haley finished in a season-best time of 32:19.

East Ridge has one month to prepare themselves for the district meet at the end of October. The Invitational is by far the largest meet that the Knights will participate in this season.  This Saturday’s meet gave the Knights an opportunity to compete against many of the best cross country teams in the state of Florida, and they hope to take what they learn and apply it to their final month of the season.  East Ridge placed thirteenth out of 36 teams. District rival Windermere High School took first overall in the team scores.  The overall winner for the girls varsity race was sophomore Kambry Smith from Fort Walton Beach High School. She finished the race in a time of 19:37.

The girls cross country team will travel to Sebastian to participate in the Sebastian River High School 25thAnnual Sharks Invitational at Sebastian River High School.

For full results from the Invitational 19 visit

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