Nearly 800 runners representing 26 middle schools and 14 high schools, participated in the Marco Island Academy (MIA) Cross Country Invitational at Mackle Park. This year’s course faced its own challenge and had to be re-routed due to burrowing owls. Encouragement could be found along the new course as these young athletes dug deep to endure their grueling events.
“Many Saturdays, we have to be up and ready to go by 4:30 AM. It’s nice that we didn’t have to travel today and got to wait ‘til 6:30 AM,” explains MIA mom, Kristina Jones, who has two daughters in Cross Country.
Never realizing that Cross Country required such commitment, conditioning, endurance, patience, and mental toughness, I watched in awe as these kids challenged themselves along the course. Intense focus and pain mark their faces as they are running. Collapse and delirium follow shortly after crossing the finish line. Scenes from “Men of Honor” crossed my mind as I watched these runners struggle. Shaking my head with disbelief as I watched their pain, and coming away impressed with their tenacity, perseverance, and camaraderie.
“Today, we are celebrating, because Wyatt broke his personal best time,” smiles proud mom, Nikki Sylvest, of Everglades City.
“Our boys’ team was missing a couple runners due to SAT testing, so I was happy to take third place with our top three boys placing in the top 15. Johnny Watt, Camden Jones and Damien Tschida each took home individual medals,” remarked MIA Coach Bruce Kretschmer.
In total, six events were held along with an Elementary School Mile Race at the MIA Invitational. The day’s top teams included:
- Girls Varsity 5k: 1st Place-First Baptist Academy, 2nd Place-Palmetto Ridge, 3rd Place Community School of Naples.
- Boys Varsity 5k: 1st Place-Palmetto Ridge, 2nd Place- Community School of Naples, 3rd Place-MIA.
- Boys Middle School 3k: 1st Place-Elite Runner Ft. Myers, 2nd Place-Bonita Springs, 3rd Place-Pine Ridge.
- Girls Middle School 3k: 1st Place-Gulfview, 2nd Place-Elite Runner Ft. Myers, 3rd Place-St. Francis Xavier Catholic.
- Girls JV 5k: 1st Place-Ava Dedio of Community School of Naples.
- Boys JV 5k: 1st Place-Kaleb Chamberlin of MIA.
Upcoming Cross Country events include: the Lely Invitational on 10/13, the Celtic Invitational on 10/19, and the District Meet from 10/22-10/27. Regional and State Meets are set in November.
For more information visit marcoislandacademy.org.