Boys' and Girls' Teams after District Meet

Submitted by Grant Mollett, M.ED.
East Ridge High School

Winter Garden (October 26) – The East Ridge High School girls varsity cross country team participated in the Class 4A District 3 Championships on Friday morning at West Orange High School. West Orange High School has played host to the district meet for the past two years.  Almost one year ago to the day was last season’s district meet, which for East Ridge resulted in a disappointing fifth-place finish, and only one runner advancing to the regional meet.  This year the girls’ team excelled at the district meet, and when the results were in, East Ridge’s girls would be runner-up and become just the fifth team in the school’s history to advance to a regional meet!

Girls’ Team After District Race

Girls from 10 different schools throughout Central Florida competed in the Class 4A District 3 Championships on Friday morning.  Senior Alexis Hill led the Knights as she enacted a little personal revenge on her time from last year’s district meet. In 2017 Alexis posted a 21:32 and missed qualifying for regionals with a disappointing eighteenth place finish, but this time around she posted a 20:20 finish time and secured fourth place (of a field of 53 female runners) in the district!  The second Knight through the chute was junior Reagan Parks.  Reagan finished in eighth place and set a new season personal best by ten seconds. Reagan was East Ridge’s lone regional qualifier last season, and she will be returning to regionals this season with the rest of her teammates! Senior Cassidy Carroll was the third Knight to cross the finish line Friday morning.  Cassidy was sidelined for the majority of her junior year and was unable to participate in the district meet last season. This time around, she had something to prove to herself and her teammates.  Placing eleventh overall, Cassidy finished in a time of 21:36, which is a new career personal best by four seconds!

Top fifteen finishers at Districts with Cassidy Carroll, Reagan Parks, and Alexis Hill

The fourth Knight to finish was sophomore Mackenzie Hill.  Mackenzie placed eighteenth overall and finished in a time of 22:21.  The fifth runner for the Knights was sophomore Emy Wells.  She placed 29thand finished in a time of 24:03.  Senior Eliya Anderson was the sixth runner for East Ridge on Friday morning.  Eliya placed 31stand finished in a time of 24:06.  Sophomore Olivia Peine was the seventh runner in for East Ridge, and she finished in a time of 24:12 and secured the 34thposition overall. The eighth runner to finish for the Knights was senior Haley Dykstra.  Haley set a new career personal best with a finish time of 28:45!

East Ridge secured second place as a team by placing three girls in the top fifteen.  Windermere High School took first place in the district by placing four girls in the top fifteen. The overall winner for the girls’ varsity race was senior Cadi Rowe from Lake Minneola High School. Cadi finished the race in a time of 18:53.

Top fifteen finishers at districts with John Turner and Caleb Melendez and Eli Wolsefer

For the third time in four years, the East Ridge Knights boys cross country team will be moving on to the Class 4A Region 1 Race, or as some call the region, “The Region of Death” due to the number of top-level teams that run in that region. On Friday, October 26th the Knights competed with ten other schools around Central Florida, including top teams like Windermere, West Orange, and Olympia High Schools out of Orange County. The Knights finished third as a team, just behind Windermere (1st place) and West Orange (2nd place). This race marked the first time in school history that both the boys and girls teams from East Ridge moved on to regionals together, in the same year. The girls finished runner-up, which is also a first in school history.

The Knights were led once again by Eli Wolsefer, who finished 9th overall and a blistering time of 17:17. The biggest pleasant surprise of the day was Freshman Caleb Melendez who finished 11th overall with a time of 17:22. Caleb was the top freshman runner in the district for the 2018 season. Just behind Caleb was steady Senior John Turner who turned in a time of 17:24. Rounding out the top five was Sophomore Charles Moore (17:32) and Freshman Hansel Lugo Ramos (17:55). The Knights put a school record three runners in the top 15 and five runners ran under 18 minutes. It was a record-setting day for the East Ridge Cross Country program.

East Ridge’s cross country teams will compete in the Class 4A Region 1 meet on Friday, November 2 at Santa Fe College in Gainesville.  The gun time for the girls’ race will be 8:00 am and the boys’ race will follow at 8:30 am.  The last time the girls’ team made it to regionals was in 2013, and the last time the boys’ team made it to regionals was in 2016.

For full results from the Class 4A District 3 Championships visit elite timing.

Photos courtesy of Girls’ Coach Grant Mollett and Boy’s Coach Tim Ferrell.

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