The Sun's 2002 All-Area Cross Country Team


Oak Hall's Danielle Abbey and Buchholz's Patrick Troy are the Gainesville Sun's Runners of the year.

CYNTHIA WALLACE/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Tuesday, January 21, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 21, 2003 at 1:57 a.m.

Boys Runner of the Year

Patrick Troy, Buchholz

Buchholz junior Patrick Troy may come from a swimming background, but there was never any pressure for him to get in the pool.

Instead, he began running road races in Jacksonville, and with intense summer training and the knowledge of Bobcats coach Ron Norris, Troy has developed into one of the area's top distance runners.

Though he divides his time between running and soccer, Troy, and the rest of the Bobcats' top five runners (D.J. Keller, Dylan Stringer, Brandon Dahlem and Matt Garvin), who are all juniors, will spend the offseason and much of the summer dedicated to cross country and improving on this year's fifth-place state finish.

Norris has planned for the group to run close to 500 total miles this summer, including a week or two spent at running camp at Brevard College in the North Carolina mountains.

"Patrick can definitely have a breakout year if he puts in some serious miles over the summer," Norris said. "He did a fantastic job this year, and he's always been the type of runner who progressed to the top. He's got the ability to run up there with the big guys, and I look forward to the opportunity to see him run."

Troy attributes a lot of his success to the nucleus of Bobcats who have progressed through the program together and pushed each other along the way.

"All five of us being together has kept us out there over the years," Troy said. "Our team has gotten a lot closer, and we really ran well together this year."

Girls Runner of the Year

Danielle Abbey, Oak Hall

When the cross country season began, a lot of the attention was on Oak Hall eighth-grader Stevie Uribe, who was fresh off a track state title in the 3200, but it was fellow eighth-grader Danielle Abbey who ended up having the breakout season.

Abbey was also on the Oak Hall track team, following up a regional championship with a sixth-place finish in the mile at the Class A state meet, but she had never run cross country, and didn't know what to expect on the unfamiliar terrain.

After a summer running through the hills of Ohio, following the same regimen her soon-to-be teammates were using in Florida, Abbey burst onto a scene already dominated by talented youngsters.

By the end of the season, Abbey had the squad's best individual time (19:53), second in the area to Buchholz freshman Crystal Miner (19:23).

Abbey was also the area's most consistent runner in the postseason, finishing second in District 2-A, fifth in Region 1-A and an area-best sixth at the Class A state meet, as she helped the Eagles to a third-place finish.

"This year we wanted to get a state title for the seniors, and we worked really hard for that," Abbey said. "Even if we didn't get it this year, we still have four years, although it would have been nice."

Although Abbey first joined the cross country squad to have a chance to run with her friends, she has also logged hundreds of miles to prepare for the track season, which the Eagles began practicing for Monday.

"When she made the decision to come out for cross country, we had high expectations for her, we just didn't know how high," Oak Hall coach Edwin McTureous said. "She was a leader out there by showing what hard work can do, and hopefully that momentum will carry over to track."

Co-coach of the Year

Ron Norris, Buchholz

Ron Norris's coaching career began at Buchholz in 1976 when he led the Bobcats squad to a regional title.

After two seasons and a district title at P.K. Yonge, and 22 seasons and 15 district titles at Newberry, Norris brought his aptitude and success back to Buchholz for the 2001 season.

In 2002, Norris led the boys and girls teams to wins at the Bobcat Cross Country Classic on their home course at Santa Fe Community College, and then returned a month later to claim dual victories at the District 1-4A meet.

Norris then guided his girls to the regional title and a fourth-consecutive top-five (4th) finish at state, while the boys earned runner-up honors at the regional meet, and finished fifth at the state competition.

"When they put 16 weeks of training together in those final weeks, it is so fulfilling as a coach to know that you contributed to that," Norris said. "It's also rewarding to see all of the hard work pay off as they accomplish the goals that you set."

All of the Bobcats' top five boys are scheduled to return next season, including 2002 Sun Runner of the Year Patrick Troy. The girls only graduate one senior, so Norris's expectations are higher than ever.

"For us to jump ahead of the teams that beat us this year, we are going to have to out work them and avoid injuries," Norris said. "I am definitely looking forward to the challenge, and I certainly hope they are too."

Co-coach of the Year

Edwin McTureous, Oak Hall

After earning Sun track and field coach of the year honors for leading the Oak Hall girls track team to a fourth consecutive district title and second straight regional title, Edwin McTureous returned in the fall with similar success in cross country.

With the help of the 2002 Sun runner of the year Danielle Abbey, McTureous led the Eagles to their first cross country district title, before storming into Tallahassee and defeating defending state champion Maclay on its home course to earn the Region 1-A title, another first.

"We set high expectations from the beginning of the season all the way to the end," McTureous said. "The girls were a little disappointed, but anytime you set your expectations to win it, there's going to be upset."

Though the girls finished third at state for the second consecutive year, and the boys settled for 17th, the Eagles are young.

"Overall it was a good season, and we accomplished a lot of the goals we set out for," McTureous said. "We are very young, and hopefully we'll have some new runners come out next year. Cross country is a complete team thing, and we're going to have to train harder in the offseason, and everything's going to have to come together."

BOYS FIRST TEAM

Name School Yr. Best time/Credentials

Patrick Troy Buchholz Jr. 16:29; Dist. champ., 8th region, 24th at state.

Dylan Stringer Buchholz Jr. 16:42; 6th at district.

Jeremy Crisiaone Interlachen 16:44; 7th in region; 23rd at state meet.

Brandon Dalhem Buchholz Jr. 16:50; 11th in district; 18th in region.

Marcus Marshall Columbia Sr. 16:55; 12th in region; 38th at state.

Matt Bonnett Buchholz Sr. 17:11; 16th in district.

Al Matheny Oak Hall Jr. 17:13; 12th in district; 7th region; 29th at state.

BOYS SECOND TEAM

Matt Garvin Buchholz Jr. 17:21; 13th in district.

Scott Richards Eastside So. 17:30.

Mark Droll Buchholz Sr. 17:33; 15th in district.

Tim Waldon Eastside Sr. 17:35; 9th in district

David Lane P.K. Yonge So. 18:01; 19th in district; 27th in region.

Miles Harris Oak Hall 8th 18:03; 24th at districts; 22nd at regionals.

Ryan Harris Oak Hall 7th 18:09; 26th at districts; 29th at regionals.

HONORABLE MENTION: Cedar Key - David Cousins, Jr.; Eastside - Joe Brew, Jr.; Gainesville - Alphonso Johnson, Fr.; Levi Colson, Jr.; Wes Brooker, Sr.; P.K. Yonge - Bryan Liciaga, Sr.; Rashaad Robinson, 8th; Santa Fe - Evan McCoy, Fr.; Mark Swick, Fr.; Daniel Turlington, Sr.; Cory Vjrasha, Fr.; Kyle Vjrasha, Fr.

GIRLS FIRST TEAM

Crystal Miner Buchholz Fr. 19:23; 5th in district; 8th region; 27th at state.

Danielle Abbey Oak Hall 8th 19:53; District r/u; 5th regional; 6th at state.

Amanda Hahn Gainesville Jr. 20:08; 7th at regional; 12th at state.

Caroline Payne Buchholz Jr. 20:08; 3rd in district; 7th regional; 25th at state.

Kate Fisher Oak Hall Sr. 20:19; 7th in district; 8th regional; 10th at state.

Heather Griffith Buchholz Sr. 20:34; 6th at district; 15th in region.

Lacey Huddleston Bronson 7th 20:32; 5th at district; 7th region; 16th at state.

GIRLS SECOND TEAM

Stevie Uribe Oak Hall 8th 20:38; 4th in district; 6th region; 21st at state.

Jackie Hirneise Buchholz So. 20:48; 17th in district; 24th at regional.

Arden Mitchell Buchholz Jr. 8th in district; 25th at regional.

Stephanie Butts Buchholz So. 20:52; 19th at district meet; 35th at regional.

Holly Hofer Eastside Jr. 20:52; 12th at regional.

Juliana Hughes P.K. Yonge 7th 21:04; 9th at district meet; 17th in region.

Ja'Kya Sheppard P.K. Yonge 6th 10th in district; 16th in region.

HONORABLE MENTION: Buchholz - Kelli Lane, So.; Cedar Key - Rita Borelli, Jr.; Eastside - Sheila Rowe, So.; Kecia Johnson, Sr.; Gainesville - Rosanna Bell, Fr.; Interlachen - Talisa Bishop, Jr.; Keystone Heights - Leanne Harris, So.; Oak Hall - Caitlin Lowery, Fr.; Palatka - Emily Dedunato; Tracey Driggers; P.K. Yonge - Jenae Todd, 7th; Santa Fe - Mia Robinson, So.; Jessica Snyder, Fr.; Kristina Viniar, So.; Haley Wise, Sr.

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