The Lake Minneola High School XC Team also celebrated their seven senior HAWKS. The seniors include (from the left) Jackson Crossley, Christopher Teodoru, Aiden Eaton, Ana Heskin, Sophia Reed, Kiera Davidson and Hayley Wong. The HAWKS are so proud of you all! (Photo by Tasha Keller)

by Donna Wong, XC parent
   photos by Donna Wong & Tasha Keller, XC parents

It was a gorgeous morning for a 5K race this past Saturday and the HAWKS Last Chance Open brought the excitement! More than 17 teams participated so competition was fierce. The HAWKS were up to the challenge as both boys and girls put up some impressive numbers! The home turf and mild weather helped all the runners excel Saturday morning.

Head Coach Corey Isom said, “It was great to be able to run at home. A familiar course put our kids in a good place to set some late-season PRs.”

A PR is the runner’s Personal Record for the race distance of 5K or 3.1 miles and the HAWKS had 15 PRs!

Sophomore Reagan Krepcho had another sub-20-minute race, placing 9th overall in the HAWKS Last Chance Open. (Photo by Donna Wong)

The Girls Varsity squad came out strong. Down two runners on their home turf, the girls still came out fighting and finished 4th overall out of 11 teams and placed two runners – sophomores Ashlyn LeViner (18:59.70) and Raegan Krepcho (19:59.90) – in the top 10 individually. LeViner and five other girls also posted PRs for the HAWKS which figured into the overall scoring.

Senior Sophia Reed PR’d and finished ahead of several runners in a pack. Her finish helped the HAWKS Girls Varsity finish 4th. (Photo by Tasha Keller)

Senior Sophia Reed’s PR (21:02.90) put her at the front of a pack of nine runners who were all within 15 seconds. Sophomore Haley Samuel’s PR (22:16.50) put her in a pack of six runners all within seven seconds of one another. Both of their scores had huge impacts on the HAWKS team score.

Our HAWKS are all smiles before their varsity race.
(Photo by Tasha Keller)

Other HAWKS posting PRs included junior Kristin Czymek (22:50.90), senior Kiera Davidson (22:59.60) and sophomore Lily Keller (26:01.00).

The Boys Varsity squad also posted six PRs Saturday morning. As the race started, temperatures started to warm up making the race a little more challenging.

Freshman Dayton Nasser and Senior Jackson Crossley lead a pack of runner at Saturday’s HAWKS Last Chance Open meet at Lake Minneola High School. Both runners finished with PRs! (Photo by Donna Wong)

The HAWKS remained focused and rose to the challenge! Senior Jackson Crossley led the boys (18:39.00) with freshman Dayton Nasser (18:39.77) hot on his tail. They finished 33rd and 34th respectively, both posting PRs.

Other boys nabbing PRs included freshmen Drew Sasson (18:58.96) and Mathias Perez (19:09.64), and sophomores Nate Cooke (22:33.39) and Reese Davidson (22:42.37).

Freshman Quentin Thompson en route to a new PR and a sub-18-minute time!
(Photo by Tasha Keller)

In the JV race, three boys posted PRs. Freshman Quentin Thompson was 1st overall (17:53.68), finishing below 18 minutes for the first time this season. In addition, freshmen Mark Myers (27:16.53) and Giorgio Ciccocelli (30:11.43) also posted PRs.

Freshman Giorgio Ciccocelli works hard towards his PR in the JV race. (Photo by Donna Wong)

Coach Isom added, “The kids did great across the board! Extremely proud of where we are at this point of the season. I saw some kids grow up today!”

The boys are a really young squad and their improvement this season has been exciting to watch. They will only get better in the coming seasons!

Coach David Pautienus found that four girls and six boys also “ran faster through their two-mile split today than they did in middle school when they raced the 2-mile.” This means they had a faster pace running a longer distance, showing their growth as runners.

Parents are also seeing this team’s growth! XC Mom Mandy Cooke said, “I just love seeing the athletes continue to improve week after week! Their hard work is paying off!”

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