Natalie Varela of Gulliver Prep and Josh Collins of Belen Jesuit won individual titles at the King of the Hill Cross Country Invitational Friday at Tropical Park.
Varela won in 18:29, the fastest time of the top three finishers, all freshmen. Varela finished ahead of Tsion Yared of Pine Crest in their first meeting of the season. Valarie Lastra of Mater Academy was runner-up in 18:49.
Yared, one of four Pine Crest runners in the Top 10, finished third in 18:57 and led Pine Crest to the team title with 33 points with a team average of 19:49.
Yared was joined by teammates Simone Vreeland, fourth, 19:42; Mahdere Yared, sixth, 19:53; Maya Beleznay, ninth, 20:11; and Emily Faulhaber, 13th in 20:23.
Collins won in 16:11 and was one of three Belen Jesuit runners in the Top 10 to enable the Wolverines to win with 51 points. Pine Crest was runner-up.
The top three finishers were all juniors. Deshay Fernandes of Columbus was second in 16:32 and Danny Ferro of Calvary Christian was third in 16:44.
Other top Belen Jesuit finishers were: Sebastian Roa, ninth, 17:10; Lucas de la Hoz, 10th, 17:11; Juan San Martin, 12th, 17:15; and Christopher Garcia, 19th, 17:45.
Defending state girls’ 2A champion Archbishop McCarthy finished fourth in the seventh annual Antigua National High School Invitational (Sept. 9-10) at McCormick Ranch Club in Scottsdale, Ariz. The Mavericks totaled 310-314 (624) among a field of 39 teams from nine states and two countries in the invitation-only tournament.
The team’s top finisher was Julia Matzat, tying for sixth place with rounds of 73 and 77. Also in the Top 20 were Natalia Jimenez (77-75) and Georgette Garcia (78-77).
The Mavericks boys’ top finisher was senior Anthony Wells tied for 15th (74-73).
“We had a pretty decent tournament against a lot of top teams,” said Mavericks coach Carl Phillips. “We threw a lot of putts away and made a lot of doubles.”
American Heritage won the 18th annual Invitational at Lago Mar Golf Course with a 10-stroke advantage over St. Thomas Aquinas, 304-314. Patriots’ No. 1 golfer Alberto Martinez won medalist honors with a 2-over par 74.
Pine Crest girls and boys teams remained undefeated at 5-0 after sweeping Westminster Academy. The girls’ team won 231-69 and boys’ team, 211-94.
Freshman Andrea Santander, a Gulliver Prep transfer, was a double winner for Pine Crest, capturing the 50-yard freestyle in 24.66 and 500-yard freestyle in 5:08.38.
Defending state champion Jessica Nava of Westminster Academy also won two events, 100-yard butterfly in 57.94 and 100-yard backstroke in 58.90.
Pine Crest All-American state champion Marta Ciesla did not compete. She was on one of her four college visits to Texas, USC, Georgia and Tennessee.
Pine Crest won every boys event including all three relays, led by double winners Matt Petreski in the 100-yard butterfly (55.73) and 100-yard breaststroke (1:03) and Christian Soderberg in the 100-yard freestyle (49.30) and 100-yard backstroke (56.17).
Pine Crest will host defending state 2A champion American Heritage on Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 4:15 p.m.
In the battle of state champions, Class 7A champion St. Thomas Aquinas had no problem dispatching Class 4A champion Cardinal Gibbons in straight sets, 25-14, 25-5, 25-21 to remain unbeaten at 7-0. The Raiders have not dropped a set in seven games.
Allison Marble had 10 kills, 6 digs and 6 points. Pepperdine commit Brook Bauer had 9 kills, 6 digs and 10 points. The Chiefs dropped to 2-3.
St. Thomas Aquinas is ranked in the nation’s Top 20 in USA Today’s Super 25 rankings for the first time this season. The Raiders are No. 20.
South Broward’s Racquel Jimenez has committed to LaSalle University and will compete for the Explorers’ first-year collegiate program. The sport had been club status.