Vikings' Mutz Finishes 4th in 1A State Meet
Sun. November 20, 2011 at 12:48 a.m. | By Polk Preps Staff
Lakeland Christian's Mallory White fights her way up the hill during the Class 1A girls race.
By SOLANGE REYNER | THE LEDGER
DADE CITY | Mark Mutz's final push up the semi-steep hill at Little Everglades Steeplechase Ranch on Saturday morning was good enough for a fourth-place finish in the Class 1A state cross country meet.
Mutz, a Lakeland Christian senior, completed the 5K in 15:58.46, five seconds shy of the third-place finisher, Holy Trinity's Daniel Moore.
Individually, Mutz placed highest among all Polk County runners at the state meet, which started at 8:30 a.m. at Steeplechase, a typically fast course that starts with a small hike up a rolling green hill. The conditions were near perfect: 68 degrees at around 9 a.m. with the sun peeking out through clouds throughout the day.
"It was a little bit warmer than I expected, but I like the course," said Mutz, who said he would indulge in Reese's Peanut Butter Pie and lots of cookies later in the day.
"My second mile was a little slower but I almost closed in on Daniel in the last 50 meters. He's a great runner. But I'm happy with my time and my season."
Teammate Mallory White finished 22nd in the Class 1A girls race, and Haines City senior Jose Perez, racing in 3A, also placed 22nd, finishing in 16:18.59.
"I got some good hill work done during the week and I got some good sprints and really I think this week was one of the best weeks of training I have had in a while," said Perez, who intends on running in college.
"If I had maybe kept it up during the season I might have done better but I just tried to go through it as best as I could. I still see this season as a success."
McKeel, which made it to the state meet after finishing in second place as a team at the Class 1A, Region 3 meet last Thursday, finished in 10th place. The Wildcats were led by freshman Casey Brady, who posted a 17:32.27.
"Getting here has been a goal this whole year for us," said Brady, who, with teammates, sported a mohawk for the race. "Next year we'll most likely come back stronger because we have seven returning."
Jessica Ortiz had the top time for the Lake Region girls team in 3A, finishing in 20:22.64 for 62nd place. The Thunder finished 18th out of 24 teams.
"I felt pretty sad that it was going to be my last race, knowing that we had a really good team," said Ortiz, who had a rocky start to the season because of a knee injury suffered while playing soccer over the summer.
"But overall I think it went good. The only thing I would have done different in the race is pick up my second mile."
In 2A, Frostproof's boys' team finished in the final spot, with freshman Vernon Bobb leading the Bulldogs with an 18:10.32 to place 86th.