McKeel Academy Improves Three Spots From Last Year
Sun. November 18, 2012 at 5:05 a.m. | By Polk Preps Staff
By BRIAN MILLER | LEDGER CORRESPONDENT
TALLAHASSEE | There were no real expectations for the McKeel Academy boys' cross country team Saturday as it took to Apalachee Regional Park for Saturday morning's Class 1A state final.
The Wildcats finished 10th last year at Miami-Dade County, in large part because of its top five runners being underclassmen.
This time out, McKeel improved to seventh. And the outlook is still quite rosy for the next two years.
"We are all excited to get out here and try this course," said sophomore Casey Brady, who finished 49th in 17 minutes, 19 seconds. "We'd heard it was a good course and we knew it wasn't the fastest, but we were ready to lay down some fast times."
Brady's junior teammate Dustin White crossed the finish first for the Wildcats, in 45th.
"It hurt," White said. "That's the hardest I've ever pushed. I've never hurt this much."
And that is the truest test of what McKeel learned— what it takes to operate at a high intensity, race after high-quality race, in order to ascend to where it really hopes to be.
"I feel like we have to put a lot more miles in," White said. "It gave me more confidence. I didn't ever think I could do this."
Added Brady: "I think it's something to build off of for next year. We return all seven of our varsity guys."
McKeel sophomores Duncan Lippincott (67th, 17:41), Dylan Sadowsky (68th, 17:42) and Leif Heinrikson (94th, 18:11) rounded out the Wildcats' scorers.
Lakeland Christian's Mallory White crossed in 24th as her team's top 1A finisher, with the Vikings earning an 11th-place result out of 24 teams.
In 3A, George Jenkins came in 20th, led by Theresa Trentham in 97th.
It took a little getting used to, but most found the newest state course to be to their liking.
"It was a real cross country course," Brady said. " ‘The Wall,' that's what they call it, didn't look like much at first, but the second time around it was challenging. With all the turns, you definitely have to strategize what you want to do."