Local schools set to compete in Bobcat Classic

Published: Friday, October 12, 2012 at 7:50 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, October 12, 2012 at 7:50 p.m.

The Oak Hall girls cross country team is the favorite to win its third straight title at this morning's Bobcat Classic at Santa Fe College.

The Eagles, FHSAA Class 1A state runners-up each of the last two years, will have to do it without Brittney Olinger.

The Sun's four-time reigning girls cross country runner of the year was originally scheduled to run in today's 12th annual event, but Eagles coach Edwin McTureous said Olinger needs a break.

“If we had to run her this weekend, if it was the postseason, she would be running,” McTureous said. “In order to be ready for the postseason, the coaches felt that it was in her best interest to take this weekend off.”

Oak Hall is still in good shape, although Olinger won't get the chance to try and win the 5K race for the third consecutive year.

“She definitely would like the opportunity to run in it again, she was upset,” McTureous said. “She is listening to her body and as an older, mature runner, she is getting the big picture as well.

“I like the depth of my team and we'll have a great opportunity to show to that. We still have a great opportunity to win this race.”

Oak Hall eighth-grader Lauren Perry enters the meet with area's fastest time (18:47.10), with seventh-grader Grace Blair, eighth-grader Talia Carlson, sophomore Katie Ringdahl and eighth-grader Jennifer Cott all expected to finish in the top 10-15 spots. The Eagles are Class 1A's No. 1 team according to the latest FACA/flrunners.com rankings.

Freshmen Emma Tucker and Samantha Zeigus of Columbia should be amongst the top finishers as well.

A total of 20 teams, including area clubs Bradford, Eastside, Fort White, Gainesville, Newberry, P.K. Yonge, Santa Fe, St. Francis and Suwannee are expected to be in action today. The boys race is scheduled to start at 8 a.m., with the girls to follow at 8:30 a.m.

On the boys side, P.K. Yonge's Garrett Westlake, ranked No. 3 in 1A and second at last year's race, comes in as the favorite. His teammate Joseph Janson and Eastside's Carsten Thue-Bludworth should be towards the top of the individual finishers as well.

The Santa Fe College course is also the site for next month's Class 4A, Region 1 and Class 1A, Region 2 meets.

“I think it is going to be a competitive race on both sides,” said Buchholz coach Ron Norris, who will be hosting a cross country invitational in this area for the 32nd year. “I have always enjoyed putting on a meet, I think the kids enjoy it.”

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