The 2020 fall sports season was off and running earlier this month with the Seffner Christian Cross Country Invitational on Sept. 5 and the Tohopekaliga Invitational on Sept. 7.
Celebration High won the six-team boys varsity race at the Tohopekaliga Invite with 43 points, three ahead of runner-up Tohopekaliga and eight better than Lake Minneola on the Austin Tindall Park course. Senior Sebastian Edwards paced the Storm with a winning time of 16 minutes, 7.96 seconds and junior teammate Jared Falchook ran second in 16:08.97; while sophomore Cooper James (10th, 17:33.27), senior Michael Eiken (15th, 17:51.13) and junior Zachary Zelmanski (18th, 18:27.92) all finished among the overall top 20.
The Celebration girls helped complete the sweep, as they posted a winning total of 36 points in a five-team varsity field. Storm senior Gabriella Macedo crossed in fourth place overall with a time of 21:09.60, sophomore Catalina Edwards followed in seventh at 22:54.08, senior Camille Barrios came in eighth at 22:57.14, sophomore Olivia Fabbiani finished 11th at 23:19.42 and sophomore Eran Dhillon (25:26.48) and senior Jaden Teow (25:27.96) were 17th and 18th, respectively.
East Ridge High’s boys team placed eighth (221 points) in the Elite Division at the Seffner Christian Invitational as junior Caleb Melendez led the Knights with a 21st-place time of 18:14.08. Hansel Lugo, a junior, crossed 31st overall in 18:29.56 and sophomore Connor Carroll was 35th in 18:39.81.
In the Elite Girls Division, East Ridge placed 11th with 245 points. Senior Mackenzie Hill was the Knights’ top finisher with a time of 22:54.12 and she was followed by senior teammate Heidy Castillo (25:09.27) and sophomore Breanna Peine (26:20.83).
According to the FHSAA plan, the cross country regular season officially ends Oct. 24 with district (Oct. 26-31) and regional (Nov. 2-7) meets to follow. The state finals are scheduled for Nov. 13-14 at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee.
Cross country teams are still permitted to compete upon elimination from the state series through Nov. 14, as long as they do not exceed the regular-season contest limitations as outlined by FHSAA policy. The FHSAA will also consider restructuring the district complexes from eight to 16 per classification based on the number of schools that commit to the state series and, in the process, advance the top three teams to the regional meet.