Boys and Girls Cross Country Previews
Sun. September 09, 2012 at 11:50 p.m. | By Polk Preps Staff
Landon Schneider, left, from George Jenkins and Mallory White, right, from Lakeland Christian are two of the top runners in Polk County. (Photo by Ledger file photos)
A look at the top five individual runners and the top five teams to watch in Polk County this fall in boys and girls cross country:
BOYS RUNNERS TO WATCH
■ LANDON SCHNEIDER, GEORGE JENKINS, JR.: Finished 7th overall at the Lecanto Invitational Saturday busting loose with a (17:29) effort. He had a 16:57 best-time last year.
■ CASEY BRADY, MCKEEL ACADEMY, SO.: Ran a 17:17 at districts and 17:32 at the Class 1A state meet last year.
■ VERNON BOBB, FROSTPROOF, SO.: Placed 86th in the state at the Class 2A meet as a freshman last year with an 18:10 run at Little Everglades Steeplechase Ranch. He finished 4th at the District 8 meet.
■ CHAD KIRKMAN, LAKELAND, SR.: Finished third in the county and 74th overall at the Class 3A state meet last year (16:58).
■ DUSTIN WHITE, MCKEEL ACADEMY, JR.: All-County honorable mention last year is running in the mid 17s right now on a very fast team that will push him even faster.
BOYS TEAMS TO WATCH
■ MCKEEL ACADEMY: Flrunners. com ranks the Wildcats No. 5 in Class 1A and for good reason. McKeel has five runners crossing the finish line in the 17-minute range including: sophomore Casey Brady (17:32 state last year), junior Dustin White and sophomores Leif Henrikson, Duncan Lippincott and Dakota Jones.
■ GEORGE JENKINS: Two years ago only one runner qualified for regionals and last year Jenkins qualified as a team. The Eagles placed 7th overall out of 28 teams with an average time of 18:40 at the Lecanto Invitational Saturday. Landon Schneider finished 7th overall in the 173 runner field at 17:29. Daniel Bostrom reeled off an 18:23. Victor Amador, Daniel Wolf, Zach Rhoden, Ryan Codd and Brandon Baker hit the shoot in the 19s.
■ FROSTPROOF: The Bulldogs return a state qualifying team lineup that came on stronger at the end of the season than any Polk County team last year. Sophomore Vernon Bobb (18:10 state) is one of the county’s elite. He is projected to possibly run in the 16s while senior Estevan Rivera is projected in the high 17s. Sophomore Ean Ormsby moves from swimmer to runner and is capable of 17s.
■ LAKELAND CHRISTIAN: A young team finished 11th overall at the Seffner Christian Kickoff Classic on Saturday with an average team time of 20:57. Sophomore Chase Tuberville (18:56) led the charge finishing 22nd. Junior Kurt Reinsch, sophomore Matt Agosti, freshman Tyler Allen and eighthgraders Brandon Kaye and Reece Batterton should make this squad tough to beat in the postseason.
■ LAKE GIBSON: The Braves finished 14th at the Seffner Christian Kickoff Classic Saturday with freshman Stephen Kretzer (19:02) surprising many leading the Lake Gibson charge.
GIRLS RUNNERS TO WATCH
■ MALLORY WHITE, LAKELAND CHRISTIAN, SR.: Finished 22nd in the state last year with a 20:06 run. She started off this season finishing 6th overall at the Seffner Christian Kickoff Classic (21:08).
■ RUBY LEWIS, GEORGE JENKINS, SO.: Finished with a 22:29 at the Lecanto Invitational Saturday and has been clocked at 21:30.
■ THERESA TRENTHAM, GEORGE JENKINS, SR.; Finished 8th overall at the Lecanto Invitational last week with a 21:11 effort.
■ PHOEBE FERGUSON, LAKELAND, SR.; Finished 4th (21:19) at the Class 3A, Region 2 meet last year.
■ HANNAH WARREN, LAKELAND CHRISTIAN, SR.; Finished 10th in the county last year (22:16) and 7th at districts (21:37).
GIRLS TEAMS TO WATCH
■ LAKELAND CHRISTIAN: Defending county champion Mallory White returns for her senior year. The Vikings finished 4th overall at the Seffner Christian Kickoff Classic on Saturday with White (21:08) crossing line 6th out of 115 runners. The team has serious depth with Hannah Warren, Mary Lanzino, Jessica Fuller and Breanna Skladanek.
■ GEORGE JENKINS: The Eagles made big an impression Saturday finishing 2nd at the Lecanto Invitational with a team-average 22:16 run. Theresa Trentham (21:09) led the pack. Ruby Lewis is projected to be the team’s impact runner this season. Sophomores Heather Meskimen and Avory Baker join freshman Casey Johnson give the team plenty of depth.
■ LAKELAND: Coach Rebecca Kimble said team time trials were in the 22s last week. Freshman Victoria Jung placed first and maybe the fastest on the team. Senior Pheobe Ferguson returns after finishing 7th at county meet last year. Senior Aliyah Saulter returns and freshman Kaylee Cashman is expected to make an impact.
■ LAKE REGION: George Whitmire may have lost several runners to graduation but his teams are always in the mix when the postseason arrives. The Thunder surprised even Whitmire Saturday finishing 8th overall at the Newsome Wolves Invitational with an average time of 23:48. Leah Jostes (22:14) and Roxanna Caballero (22:45) will anchor the squad.
■ HAINES CITY: Brittany Stewart (21:44) is back after qualifying for regionals last year and will be joined by three members of the Hornets’ regional-qualifying 4x800 relay team: Angie Simon, Tori Green and Destiny Pierre-Louis.
■ COUNTY MEET: Oct. 27 at Lake Region High School.
■ DISTRICT MEETS: Oct. 29 – Nov. 3
■ REGIONAL MEETS: Nov. 8-10
■ FHSAA FINALS:Nov. 17