The MIA girls placed third overall, with Olivia Watt coming in first, winning by more than a minute over the rest of the field. Watt’s performance, along with strong finishes by the rest of the team, was enough to advance the girls to the regional championships for the second year in a row.
But it was the boys who were the biggest surprise. For the past four years, they have been languishing in the shadow of the often flashier girls team. Not this year. After years of conditioning by fourth year Head Coach Bruce Kretschmer, and an infusion of talented freshmen, the boys exploded to the top of the district with a gutsy performance by the entire team. Freshmen Jonathan Watt (6th place) and Kevin Barry (12th place) along with sophomore, Camden Jones (9th place), all received individual medals for finishing in the top 15. The rest of the team also finished strongly, helping to propel the Rays to the podium. “It was consistency that won it for our boys,” said Kretschmer, “This is what we’ve been working toward all year. I am immensely proud of them.”Kretschmer holds both his girls and boys to the same practice regimen; they practice six days a week. “These kids work hard,” he says, “They have run literally hundreds of miles preparing for this. An easy practice would be five or six miles.” The days of longer runs go out to 12 miles. The Class 1A Regional Championships took place on Friday, November 3 at Lakeland, Florida. The MIA boys finished 9th (out of 18 teams) and came within three places of moving on to States. Only the top six teams move on. The girls finished 12th (out of 16), but Olivia Watt, with a time of 20.13 finished 7th, which qualifies her to run in States at Tallahassee on November 11. Only the top 15 finishers move on. “All of our runners ran great races,” said Coach Bruce Kretschmer, “The boys team was disappointed they didn’t qualify for the state meet, but with all of our varsity boys returning next year, they will have another shot at it.”