Oak Hall girls rule Region 2-1A cross country meet
Published: Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, November 3, 2013 at 12:18 a.m.
Oak Hall senior Brittney Olinger was definitely focused Saturday for the Region 2-1A Cross Country Championship at Santa Fe College.
Olinger took the early lead and steadily pulled away from the field over the soggy 5K course en route to a winning time of 18:48.40, finishing more than 30 seconds ahead of runner-up Denae Chapman of Orlando Circle Christian (19:21.70).
“It was my last regional, so I wanted to push it out and see what I could do,” Olinger said. “I was very happy with how I finished running mostly alone.”
Olinger's effort paced an impressive performance from the defending state champions, as the Eagles placed six of their seven runners in the top 10, including a sweep of the fourth through seventh spots, to run away with the team title with 23 points.
Orlando First Academy (78) was a distant second, with the top six teams and top 15 individuals advancing to next Saturday's state championships.
“I was really proud of Brittney to come out here and get that regional championship,” Oak Hall coach Edwin McTureous said. “We're really looking forward to next week as a team.”
While the Eagles were the only area girls' squad to advance, freshman Marcella Perez of St. Francis qualified as an individual by finishing 14th (20:36.70).
The Oak Hall boys, led by junior Austin Perry's fifth-place effort (17:27.10), also qualified for state with a sixth-place finish (119 points).
“It's a great feeling for them,” McTureous said. “It's been awhile since the boys have gone to state, so I'm proud to be taking a big bus up there (Tallahassee) with both the boys and girls going.”
They will be joined by the P. K. Yonge boys, who placed third as a team with 96 points behind champion Geneva (72) and Circle Christian (92).
“It was definitely some crazy competition,” said P.K. Yonge senior Joseph Janson, the area's top individual finisher (third, 16:19). “I wasn't completely sure we were going to make it to state as a team, but we ran pretty solid, so I was happy with that.”
Troy Clark of Mount Dora Bible (16:07) was the individual winner.
The Region 2-4A meet was held on the same course earlier, and a loaded field proved too much for Buchholz to overcome.
The BHS girls finished eighth (195 points) and the boys were ninth (202), with junior Sarah Edens (25th, 20:13.70) and senior Andrew Monteau (34th, 16:59.80) leading the efforts.
“They call this the region of death because it's so difficult to get your team in the top six,” Buchholz coach Ron Norris said. “We have probably nine teams that would be ranked in the top 20 at the state championships, but unfortunately for us, we're stuck in this area, so we just have to live with it.”
Winter Park captured the girls' title with 39 points, while Timber Creek (68 points) took the boys'.
Fletcher freshman Kayley Delay (18:54.30) and Timber Creek sophomore Brandon Marquez (15:40.00) were the individual winners.