Regional editor: Ricky Quintana
Region 2 - Southeast
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5th flrunners.com Invitational
Sep 25, 2004 at Ed Radice Park, Tampa FL
Highlights - Results - Preview - Schedule - the meet's own web site

Jenny Barringer, back from jaw surgery, wins barn burner by 0.32 over Nicole Shappert. SE#5 Winter Park boys, SE#5 Lourdes girls, Justin Harbor win.


by Ricky Quintana, South region editor

Boys recap

4A 3200 meter state track champion, Justin Harbor, of Flagler Palm Coast used a fast finish to claim the boy's individual title and Winter Park used a strong showing from it's top three runners to claim team title in the fifth edition of the flrunners.com V meet. Florida's top rated team, Jesuit sat out the race in preparation for next weeks Great American Cross Country Festival in Cary, NC.
Harbor, just a junior, spotted early leader, Steve Curley of Trinity Prep a five second lead at the mile before taking control at the halfway point.
 At the mile, no one was speeding up and no one was slowing down. Everyone was watching for Bryan Sharkey of Gulliver Prep in Miami because they thought he was going to kill it, Harbor said afterwards.  Once I got to the lead, no one wanted to pass us. I was fine with that. The fastest 3200m runner in the field, Jeremy Criscione of Interlachen surged past Harbor at the two mile mark, but Harbor matched and then passed him.
With about 1,000 yards to go, Harbor pulled away with ease from Criscione and 4A state cross country champion, Coleman Hoover of Winter Park, for the win.
His winning time was 15 minutes 36.74 seconds.
 I knew Jeremy was going to finish first or second.
When he made his move, I just took off, said Harbor who finished xx at last years race.  I was really surprised that I opened up a lead so quickly. We went out so slowly, I thought Jeremy and the others would be able to cover the move. I kept looking back thinking they would catch me.

Girls recap

The girls Race of Champions was the first race for Oviedo senior Jenny Barringer this season. This past summer, she required jaw surgery that kept her from training for nearly a month which in turn pushed back her starting date.
Early on in Saturdays race, it looked as though Barringers missed training time might have affected her fitness. Freshman Emilie Amaro of Cypress Bay raced to an early five meter lead in the first four hundred yards.
 The theme of this whole year has been just patience, said Barringer whose six hour surgery required four steel plates, sixteen screws and two wires. "Normally, I get so freaked out when I'm not leading. It was a really good exercise for me to reel her in and get up to the front pack." By a half mile, Barringer was back in her customary first position, but this time she had company. Nicole Schappert, the defending 2A state cross country champion, ran neck and neck with Barringer for the entire race. Going into the final hundred yard finishing stretch, the outcome was still in doubt.
"I just wanted to win," said Barringer who overtook Schappert with a final burst at the finish line for a thrilling 0.32 second victory. "I/m just very competitive. I was going to do whatever it took to get to that line." Barringers time of 17 minutes 54.81 seconds was off her 17:23 time from last year, but she was happy nonetheless.
"I feel just as good as I ever. Im doing what Im supposed to be doing. It went better than I even wanted it to. Schappert was happy with her second place.
" I thought it went great. I didn't have a specific strategy excpet to stay with Jenny as long as possible. I stayed until the very end which was great," said Schappert afterwards.
" I thought I would be there for a mile. That was my initial goal. We came through the mile and then Jenny took off. Once we got on the backstraight, we were kind of working together trying to pick it up. We pretty much dropped the other girls."
Freshman sensation Emilie Amaro of Cypress Bay did what few have been able to do; take the lead going in the first 400m of the race. But, in the end, Amaro did not have enough and finished third in a time of 18:27.95.
" I thought the race went really good. I just wanted to keep up with them as long as I could," said Amaro who trains 6 to 8 miles each day in the afternoon before attending soccer practices at night." I went out really fats and kind of killed myself. I was dying in the end, but I think I can do better next time."

Boys team recap

Winter Park, winner of the past three 4A state championships, got off to a humbling start two weeks ago when Colonial knocked them off at the Edgewater Invitational in the first meet of the season. It was the first loss to an Orange County school since 1997.
Saturday, Coach Mike Hill reminded his team of the loss by placing the second place trophy in the center of the team warm-up area before the race.
That seemed to do the trick as Winter Park returned to its old self with a thirty point victory over second place Colonial.
 We normally get our first race jitters out at the Astronaut meet and that meet was cancelled because of the hurricane, said Winter Parks Coleman Hoover who finished a team best third in a time of 15:45.77 Saturday.  We just mentally pooped out at Edgewater.
Weve never won this race before so it feels good.  They really felt that they didnt race the way they were capable of two weeks ago, said Winter Park Head Coach Mike Hill.  They ran well today. We wanted to do our best to win this week. It was the second straight week Winter Park has performed well. Last week, they finished third at the prestigious Woodbridge Invite in Irvine, CA. Their performance vaulted them to a number five southeast region ranking on Friday.
We went a lot easier than I anticipated this week, said Hill.  I think the only guy who may have suffered from last weeks race was Donny Anguish, but he was mentally strong enough to hold on and not crumble. Colonial coach, Rene Plascenia was still happy with his teams second place finish.
 It was tough week for our number one runner, Alvin Charles. We could have done a little bit better, said Plasencia afterwards. Entering the season, I wasnt too optimistic about winning the state meet because Winter Park is so strong. After the last three meets and two head to head races with Winter Park, I feel pretty good about our chances of being highly competitive at the state meet against them.

Girls team recap

At a mile and half, Our Lady of Lourdes head coach Ary
Montalvo thought the race was over.
"My fifth, sixth and seventh are going to give me a
heart attack before the season is over. At the mile
and half mark, my fifth runner was 40 places behind
Holy Trinity and Pope John Pauls number seven runner.
I told her  You have to move up honey. She,
Catherine Brown, made up a lot of ground. She didnt
finish that far behind their number five. It was
impressive," he said afterwards.
Even afterwards, the race outcome was still in doubt.
Lourdes fifth was just behind Pope John Paul II's and
Holy Trinity's fifth.The late run by Brown,freshman
Meagan Hoar passing Areson and another solid race by
Alexa Arteaga made the difference.
"We were hoping top three. Maybe second place at most.
I was happy for the girls. Theyve worked hard. We had
two good hard weeks," said an elated Montalvo.
Next week, OLL travels to Texas for the McNeil Invite.
"I know that the Texas teams are very fast, but I
believe that we can hold our own and will make
Florida proud," said Montalvo late Saturday night.



by Jason Byrne

Florida teams have struggled this year. Storm after storm has battered our state, our homes, our schools, and our cross country season. Nearly every cross country meet in a season four weeks old has been canceled along with countless classes and practices. Many teams started their seasons off just last weekend, and others have yet to start. But for almost all of Florida's top teams this weekend the season will officially kick into high gear.


The state pollsters have held off for another week until releasing their first official polls for one reason: nearly every major cross country program in the state will be competing head to head in one meet. The fifth edition of the flrunners.com Invitational will bring together competition from every corner of Florida, along with teams from as far away as Warwick Valley, New York.


Of the eighty top ten teams (four classifications, boys and girls) in last year's state championship meet, sixty-eight will be there. In the 3A Boys division first through seventeenth and 21/24 of the top teams from last year will be in attendance. Warwick Valley, NY, ranked in the Northeast Nike Team National poll is making the trip also. Ranked teams from Georgia (Parkview, Northview, and Westover) are coming in for the weekend.


As far as individuals are concerned, twenty-eight of the thirty top returning girls will compete. On the boys side, twenty-six of the top thirty--the four missing being three from Tampa Jesuit (who will be at the meet, but is planning to rest its A team for Great American) and Tim McLeod (whose former team is coming, but he has since moved to Arizona). Looking at the top individual times in Florida so far this season 46/50 girls will race the meet and 45/50 boys!


The meet will also host a middle school and college divisions, where many of Florida's best teams in those categories will compete. Over 4136 athletes signed up on Direct Athletics for the meet, several dozen more will make the trip who didn't get in on time. No longer a local affair--this is the big time and hopefully will help put Florida cross country on the map. Hopefully next year we will be joined by even more out of state guests, who want to enjoy a classic, love-of-the-sport-driven, grassroots, memorable event--and maybe a little Disney World as well!






Pensacola Washington - School is closed due to Hurricane Ivan. If the school decides NOT to let them compete, their athletes will still make the trip and compete unattached as individuals in the college/open division. If they are allowed to compete in the high school division, Washington will clearly be the team to beat.


Winter Park - They have something to prove at this point. Last week they were able to bounce back somewhat, after a lackluster showing in their opener. They are all healthy this week and could prove back to form in this Prestate meet.


Colonial - This team has surprised a lot of people so far this year. They upset Winter Park at the Edgewater Invitational two weeks ago. Alvin Charles and Alex Wills pack a spectacular 1-2 punch, but if they repeat the full MINUTE gap to their 3-man as they did last week they will be greatly hurt in such a large race.


Flagler Palm Coast - Have been impressive so far this year, and are lead by possible individual champion Juston Harbor.


Others to watch...

Cypress Bay - Coming out of nowhere and are looking like contenders in the 4A.

Satellite - Great top three, but need to find some depth really badly.

Belen Jesuit - 2003 meet champ Eduardo Arguello and a host of others, could be darkhorse.

Holy Trinity - Good pack, if front man Austin Joiner comes back from injury this week could finish in top five.


Individuals: 1) Bryan Sharkey (Gulliver) 2) Justin Harbor (FPC) 3) Jeff Masterson (Wesley Chapel) 4) Alvin Charles (Colonial) 5) Jeremy Criscione (Interlache) 6) Coleman Hoover (Winter Park)




Holy Trinity - Ranked first in the Southeast NTN rankings, they are clearly the top team in Florida right now. Great top three of Kayla Hale (who is the surprise #1 this year), Chelsea Joiner, and Rebecca Zuhlke. They have impressive (young) depth as usual.


Pope John Paul II - Finishing first and second sure helps your case to win meets. PJP has the opportunity to do that every time out with Jackie Areson and Nicole Schappert up front. The two haven't put up anything incredible thus far this year, but they haven't been in a big meet either. They have a good pack relatively close behind and are definitely tough.


Our Lady of Lourdes - On paper did not look to be as good returning this year with graduations and no clear leader. They were helped immensely this summer by several key transfers. Two of these transfers now server as the Lourdes top two: Jillian Gill and Sasha Mera (both from cross-town rival Gulliver Prep). They will have help though from Coach Ary Montavlo's perenially deep squad. Their reputation for being the state's top girls program year after year is well earned. They really could win this thing over their two regionally ranked opponents above.


Others to watch...


Oak Hall - Had some of their varsity runners drop the sport this year, which has hurt, but they have loads of talent.

Wharton - The host school returns a lot of talent this year, and is boosted by transfer Jessica Forrester.

Bishop Kenny - Always so good, have not come with guns blazing yet this season.

Gaither - Local team with good pack.

Sickes - Another local team that has looked excellent this season.

Episcopal - No one has really looked to them as a top team in the state this year (in the shadow of the attention their boys team has gathered), but they might surprise some people!

Parkview, GA - Honestly, I don't know much about Georgia teams but this is one of the top all-classification girls programs in that state.

Cypress Bay - Emilie Amaro is a freshman STUDETTE! Alania Miller gives the team a great 1-2.


Individuals: 1) Jenny Barringer (Oviedo) --easy choice, makes season debut 2) Kelly Parrish (Vanguard) 3) Emilie Amaro (Cypress Bay) 4) Nicole Schappert (PJP) 5) Jackie Areson (PJP) 6) Jillian Gill (Lourdes)




Warwick Valley, NY - The team traveling the furthest has chosen the second tier race, rather than the Race of Champions. Their coach says they are looking good, coming off of their dominant showing in their home meet, but that the team is young. They will absolutely be the favorite in this race and would be a title contender in the ROC.




Lake Brantley - Excellent so far this year, won first two invitationals dominantly. Amanda Hintze and Brittany McCan nice top two, but the 3-5 pack has been the real show and are closing in on the front two.


Oak Ridge - One of the best teams last year, and--of course--one of the best 4x400 relay teams in the country last year. This team has been a little desimated by graduations, transfers, and running retirement; however, they have shown signs of resurgance behind freshman Jamillia Hutto and junior Lindsey Corthell.




Boone - Could not compete in ROC due to scheduling conflicts. Aaron Kindt and Artist Jones are the 1-2 favorits in this race. Very similiar to Colonial in the gap between their 2 and 3 runners. Boone has run very tight with Colonial this year, being edged out narrowly in their first two meets.


Tampa Jesuit B - Jesuit is just so deep even their B team is potentially lethal.


Winter Park B - To a lesser degree this year so far, but ditto with Jesuit B.



Friday, September 24
4:00 – JV Girls (5K)
4:30 – JV Boys (5K)
5:00 – Varsity Open Girls (5K)
5:30 – Varsity Open Boys (5K)
6:00 – College/Adult Women (5K)
6:30 – College/Adult Men (5K)
7:00 – Middle School Girls (2 Miles)
7:25 – Middle School Boys (2 Miles)

Saturday, September 25
7:10 – Small School Girls (5K)
7:45 – Small School Boys (5K)
8:15 – Race of Champions Girls (5K)
8:45 – Race of Champions Boys (5K)
9:15 – Girls Invitational (5K)
9:45 – Boys Invitational (5K)
10:15 – Girls Large School (5K)
10:45 – Boys Large School (5K)

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