Roundup: Pine Crest & Belen Open XC Season With Wins

Sharon BlockSFHSSports: Twitter | Facebook

On wet, muddy courses Pine Crest girls and Belen Jesuit boys opened the first week of the 2016 high school cross country season on a winning note.

Pine Crest won its’ season-opener and Belen Jesuit its’ second meet Saturday at the fourth annual DDD Sommer Invitational at Estero Community Park. The water-soaked course featured mud, sand pits and hills.

Pine Crest, making its meet debut, captured the girls’ team title with 23 points. The Panthers had seven runners in the top 19 including its first five in the top 8. Fort Myers was runner-up with 84.

Pine Crest freshman Tsion Yared, looking strong and healthy in her first race after having her season cut short last year with a stress fracture, won the girls’ individual title in 20:26 on the rain-soaked course. Yared won by nearly a half minute.

Yared was joined by teammates senior Simone Vreeland third in 20:57 and two-time All-American steeplechaser who seemed to enjoy the course; eighth grader Mahdere Yared fifth in 20:59; freshman Maya Beleznay seventh in 21:13; freshman Amanda Schwartz eighth in 21:14; freshman Emily Faulhaber 12th in 21:58; and senior Samantha Meade 19th in 22:37.

The team’s top five runners finished in 1:14, averaging 21.03.

Belen Jesuit won its’ second consecutive meet of the season capturing the boys’ team title with 39 points. Pine Crest was runner-up with 95.

The Wolverines had five runners in the top 19 including the 1-2 finish of junior Josh Collins in 17:05 and sophomore Sebastian Roa in 17:54.

Collins, the Wolverines’ No. 1 runner, defended his individual title and led from wire-to-wire.

“It was pretty challenging, the mud was up to my knees,” Collins said.

Other Wolverine finishers were: sophomore Lucas de la Hoz sixth in 18:23; senior Juan San Martin 11th in 18:42; junior Christopher Garcia 19th in 18:51; sophomore Henrique Souza 25th in 19:05; and freshman Vicente Sanchez 33rd in 19:11.

Pine Crest had five runners in the top 30. They were senior Michael Kennedy sixth in 18:18; senior Michael Cabral 11th in 18:40; senior Matt Stein 22nd in 18:55; senior Ron Knezevich 32nd in 19:08 and senior Alex Gugel 33rd in 19:09.

The meet attracted more than 30 teams and 400 runners from around the state.

The Estero 3D Invitational was renamed the 3D Sommer Invitational this year in honor of former Estero athletic director and cross country and track coach Jeff Sommer who died last summer during a track meet at age 58. DDD is Sommer’s core principles—Discipline, Desire, Dedication. On Friday night, the football stadium was renamed the Jeff Sommer Stadium.

It was Belen Jesuit’s second team title. Earlier in the week, they captured the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair High School Championship.


Belen Jesuit opened the season with a team victory at the annual Youth Fair Championship at Larry & Penny Thompson Park.

With solid pack running, the Wolverines won with 31 points and five runners in the top eleven and sixth and seventh runners in 12th and 13th.

Belen’s top finishers were: junior Josh Collins, second in 16:45; senior Juan San Martin, third in 16:59; junior Sebastian Duenas, sixth in 17:22; sophomore Henrique Souza ninth in 17:59 and sophomore Lucas de la Hoz 11th in 18:08.

Columbus was second with 94 points edging Ferguson with 99. Columbus junior Deshay Fernandes won the boys’ individual title in 16:25.17.

Ferguson, with five girls in the top 18, won the girls’ team title with 49 points, a 30-point cushion ahead of Our Lady of Lourdes with 79 points. St. Brendan was third with 111.

Miami Southridge freshman Rahyah Andressohn won the girls individual title in 20:04. Mater Academy eighth grader Jinah Mickens-Malik was runner-up in 20:20. Ferguson senior Jazmyn Martinez was third in 20:35.

Ferguson’s other top finishers were: freshman Lisa Adjouadi sixth in 20:47; senior Kaylee Alfaro 12th in 21:40; freshman Bianca Banato 16th in 21:57 and senior Gabriela Crespi 20th in 22:12.

The field featured 38 teams, including 28 full teams, from Dade County.


Highland Christian Academy junior Ryan Szklany won the boys’ individual title in 16:30, nine seconds ahead of Spanish River senior Jake Noonan in 16:39 at South County Regional Park. Archbishop McCarthy senior William Shine was third in 16:42. Coral Springs, led by the junior Khiro Hoilett’s fifth place in 17:23, was second among 22 boys’ teams with 106. Spanish River won with 41 points. Boca Raton won the girls’ team title with 68 points. Spanish River freshman Rylee Pustilnik won the girls race in 18:43. South Florida HEAT sophomore Hayley Simpson was third in 21:34 and eighth-grade teammate Megan Kelley was fourth in 21:41.


St. Thomas Aquinas cross country coach Trish Butler finished ninth in her first collegiate race since 1983. Butler was among top finishers at the Sept. 2 Florida Atlantic University Cross Country Invitational at South County Regional Park in 19:45 for 5K, finishing ahead of more than 30 collegiate runners. West Broward alum Chloe Sell was Florida Atlantic’s top finisher placing fourth in 19:11, her first meet back after a redshirt season.

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