Sophomore Haley Samuel and Junior Kristin Czymek both set new PRs (photo courtesy of Natasha Keller)

By Donna Wong, LMHS XC Parent

The Lake Minneola XC team showed some grit among a tough field of competitors at the Tohopekliga XC Invitational this past weekend in Kissimmee. The girls were down two runners and finished seventh in a field of 21 teams. Five varsity boys tallied PRs but the tough competition had the boys finishing 15th in a field of 23 teams.

Freshman Mathias Perez sets new PR with a time of 19:59.31

Before the race, Coach Corey Isom talked about how tough this meet would be. “On the girls side, we’re two down with the top two runners out. I’m looking forward to today’s meet to see the younger runners.”

Isom added, “I’m looking forward to a couple of younger runners getting PRs because they know they have to run harder today. They have to get points for their team. As much as it is about individual times, today will show how XC is truly a team sport.”

Freshman Quentin Thompson catches up to Sophomore Grant Pautienus at the end of the Boys’ Varsity race. Thompson edged Pautienus by just over 1 second.

Freshman Alejandra Rodriguez finished in 6th place overall with a time of 19:51.48. Sophomore Raegan Krepcho followed in 10th place, finishing at 20:15.30. In addition three other Varsity girls had PRs, including sophomore Haley Samuel (23:33.24), junior Kristin Czymek (23:57.65) and senior Ana Heskin (24:39.14). Czymek shaved nearly two minutes off her time while Samuel and Heskin each took over half of a minute from their previous personal records.

The boys were really challenged and showed how good they are going to be in the next few years.

Senior Sophia Reed holds off the competition
(photo courtesy of Natasha Keller)

Before the race, coach Christopher Harris said, “I’m excited to see what our boys are gonna do! With so many people here, I’m hoping it pulls our boys out to run faster.

The number of runners and teams did just that as the boys team had a total of nine PRs between the Varsity and Junior Varsity races. The boys are improving week after week and are so exciting to watch. This young team continues to grow and improve and will be a force in years to come.

Freshman Alejandra Rodriguez is the LMHS top finisher with a time of 19:51.48

In the Varsity Boys race, sophomore Grant Pautienus tallied a PR with a time of 18:27.58 and was just over a second behind Lake Minneola’s leader, freshman Quentin Thompson (18:26.48). Freshmen Dayton Nasser (19:36.02), Mathias Perez (19:59.31), Mason Robertson (20:18.29) and Junior Matthew McCullough (22:00.34) each had PRs in the Varsity race. These boys continue to improve each week and are exciting to watch.

Senior Ana Heskin earns a new PR with a time of 24:39.14

The excitement continued in JV as we were treated to a tight race between two LMHS runners as sophomore Reese Davidson (22:59.03) edged sophomore Nate Cooke (23:01.89) by less than three seconds! Both boys also tallied PRs.

After the race, Coach Corey Isom said, “I was extremely happy with all of our athletes this weekend. We even had a few with new PR’s on a course that was a little longer than normal.”

Senior Hayley Wong finishes strong

Isom added, “It just allows the coaches and athletes to see that this year has been a really strong year for the kids and it is showing by their performances. As a head coach, it is great to see everyone excelling at their responsibilities from athletes to coaches. The culture that we are creating is reverberating through the program.” The Hawks travel to Tallahassee this weekend September 29-30 for a preview of what they might expect at the state meet in November. Go HAWKS!! 

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