By Grand Mollett, M.ED
East Ridge High School
Winter Garden – For the second year in a row, East Ridge girls cross country team is heading to the regional meet for the second year in a row!
The East Ridge High School girls varsity cross country team participated in the Class 4A District 2 Championships on Saturday morning at West Orange High School. West Orange High School has played host to the district meet for the past three years. Exactly one year ago to the day was last season’s district meet, in which the Knights were the district runner up. This year the girls’ team participated in a more competitive district with more teams. The Knights secured seventh place in the team scoring, and became the sixth team in the school’s eighteen-year history to advance to a regional meet!
Girls from 17 different schools throughout Central Florida competed in the Class 4A District 2 Championships on Saturday morning. Senior Reagan Parks led the Knights as she competed with the other elite runners in Central Florida. In the first mile, Reagan was spotted in seventh place, as she passed the first-mile marker. Round the second mile marker, Reagan’s position fell to ninth. As she passed the third-mile marker, Reagan had fallen to tenth place but had opponents from Spruce Creek and Flagler Palm Coast within striking distance. Reagan made her move on the second to last turn, and out-sprinted her opponents to secure eighth place in a field of 108 runners! She finished in a time of 20:40, which was a ten-second improvement from her performance at the district race last season.
The second Knight through the chute was freshman Bre Peine. Bre finished in 38th place and set a new season personal best almost an entire minute. Bre’s performance at the district meet after coming back from a foot injury was key in the team’s success in qualifying for the regional meet.
Junior Mackenzie Hill was the third Knight to cross the finish line Saturday morning. Mackenzie placed 42nd overall in a finish time of 22:58. The fourth Knight to finish was junior Olivia Peine. Olivia followed her teammate in, placed 43rd overall, and finished in a time of 22:59 – a season personal best time! The fifth runner for the Knights was junior Mia Vogel-Lag. Mia placed 59th and finished in a time of 23:32. Freshman Alanis Melgar was the sixth runner for East Ridge on Saturday morning. Alanis placed 62nd and finished in a time of 23:47 – a new personal best time by one second! Junior Heidy Castillo was the seventh runner in for East Ridge, and she finished in a time of 24:41 and secured the 69th position overall. The eighth runner to finish for the Knights was sophomore Peppa Marin. Peppa set a new career personal best with a finish time of 25:50! Also, sophomore Mansi Patel, who was the ninth runner for East Ridge, set a new career personal best time of 26:31! Mansi finished in 93rd place.
East Ridge placed seventh as a team at the district meet. Oviedo High School took first place in the district by placing four girls in the top twelve. The overall winner for the girls’ varsity race was senior Ariana Jiminez from Apopka High School. Ariana finished the race in a time of 18:58.
The girls will compete in the Class 4A Region 1 meet on Saturday, November 2 at Santa Fe State College in Gainesville. The gun time will be 8:00 am. This will be the second time in the school’s history where the girls’ team qualified for regionals in back-to-back years.
The last time a girls team qualified two consecutive years was in 2007 and 2008.
For full results from the Class 4A District 2 Championships visit http://elitetiming.net/live-results/2019/20191026-4ad2/.