On a beautiful sunny day, hundreds of runners attacked the cross country course at Mackle Park on Marco Island on Saturday, October 3.
A cross country junkie would have loved the event, hosted by Marco Island Charter Middle School and Marco Island Academy. Races were competed in high school and middle school.
Added to those were fun races, including a Lely Invitational for Lely runners and graduates, and more than 200 participated in a high school race for those who weren’t among each school’s top seven runners.
In the high school race, with each school featuring their top seven runners, Lely breezed to the title, taking the top three spots and two more in the top 10.
Lely’s RobertGarcia, Anthony Alvarez and Cody Demalavez raced 1-2-3, with all breaking the 18-minute mark. Garett Southerland raced to 7th and Mickey Poling was 10th, for a low team point total of 23 points. Teammates Eric Martinez, 13th, and Ian Rivera-Garcia, 17th, finished out the top seven runners for Lely.
For Garcia, a senior, it was his first meet win. “I thought we could have at least the top two finishers,” he said. “Anthony Alvarez did a great job and is just a freshman.”
Marco Island Academy was led by Carmen Zuck in 35th place. Marco Distel came in 61st and Carson Esi, 64th. The team finished eighth.
In the high school girls’ event, Lely High School also won easily.
Marco runnerswere 1-2. Lely’s Rosie Poling won and Marco Island Academy’s Olivia Watt raced to second. In all, six Lely runners made the top 10. Following Poling were Wadline Thermy, 4th, Bailey Greaves 6th, Ella Kirschmer 8th, Kaitlin Schiller 9th and Emma Fernandez 10th. Lely’s Dina Vera came in 15th.
For Poling, “I had no expectations before the race, I just wanted a good time. I am looking to take baby steps, expecting to peak at the end of the season.”
For Marco Island Academy, Anna Chamberlain ran to 13th, followed by Teagan Havemeier 20th, Elizabeth Schultheis, 24th, Julia Wagner, 35th and Danya Zarate, 37th.
Gulfview swept the middle school girls and boys races. Marco Island girls just missed the win,finishing in second at 59 points, just eight behind the winners.
Ryenn Hart led Marco, racing to second, losing to Jillian Dempsey of East Naples. “I’m determined to beat her,” Hart said of Dempsey. “I am training to get my time under 12 minutes” for the 3K distance of 1.86 miles.
Marco’s Ellie Poling was 6th, Susan Lynn, 14th, Dayna Dorestin, 15th, Sara Namath, 22nd, Kasey Hart, 45th and Peighton Grucci, 68th.
Jonathan Watt led the Marco Charter Middle School boys to a fourth-place finish as he raced to eighth. Michael Mertens was 15th, Kevin Barry, 17th, Luis Gonzalez, 18th and Enrique Vizcaya, 24th.
This year, an elementary school level Fun Run was held after the cross country event. The run was a success with nearly 100 entrants.