Pine Crest rising freshman Julia Montgomery didn’t know much about Sarah Day, Florida’s No. 2-ranked cross-country runner, entering the Fleet Feet Invitational on Saturday.
Introductions were no longer necessary after Montgomery celebrated her coming out party by knocking off the Melbourne West Shore senior star to win the individual title at South Fork High School.
The race on a rain-soaked 1.5-mile course came down to a test of wills, with Day and Montgomery answering each other’s challenge, before Montgomery made the pivotal move to cross the finish line in a career-best 19:13.
“Sarah Day is definitely strong,’’ said Montgomery, who won the Martin County Invitational two weeks ago. “She pushed me real hard. There were times she tried to make a move on me. I was just trying as hard as I could to stick with her. I was starting to think that maybe second place wasn’t that bad. Then I just said I had to go for it.”
Pine Crest coach Paul Baur said that Montgomery’s performance was all the more impressive considering Ella Wurth, the Panthers’ No. 2 runner, who usually pushes Montgomery, was away on a recruiting trip to Rice University.
“Number one, Julia is just incredibly talented,’’ Pine Crest Coach Paul Baur said. “You just don’t have too many freshmen runners with such poise. Today she really showed us something as coaches. At this point, we feel that Julia can go out there and run with anybody.”
Day finished second in 19:16 with Cardinal Gibbons’ Morgan Rodriguez fourth in 21:05 and Archbishop McCarthy’s Marianne Aguilar 10th in 21:43. Miami Belen Jesuit, behind a 1-2-4-5 finish by Avery Lopez (16:45), Fabian Tomas (17:00), Andres Fernandez (17:13), and Ryan Rodriguez (17:14) coasted to the boys’ team title with 20 points.
Meanwhile, a torrential downpour at the Spanish River Invitational postponed the meet to Monday.
Girls’ individual results (Winner and top 30 Broward finishers): 1. Julia Montgomery (PC) 19:13, 4. Morgan Rodriguez (CG) 21:05, 10. Marianne Aguilar (AM) 21:43, 21. Victoria Vigarino (CG) 22:44, 22. Brittany Morgan (CG) 22:46, 24. Mahlet Yared (PC) 22:55, 26. Catherine Haley (CG) 22:56. Girls’ team scores (winner and Broward teams): 1. South Fork 101, 3. Cardinal Gibbons 122, 6. Pine Crest 163, 7. Archbishop McCarthy 211. Boys’ individual results: (Winner and top 30 Broward finishers): 1. Avery Lopez (BJ) 16:45, 2. Fabian Tomas (17:00), 4. Andres Fernandez (17:13), 5. Ryan Rodriguez (17:14), 24. Matt Hernandez (PC) 18:52, 26. John Decker (PC) 18:55. Boys’ team scores (winner and Broward teams): 1. Miami Belen Jesuit 20, 6. Pine Crest 218, 9. Archbishop McCarthy 277.
THIS AND THAT
• The weather continues to wreak havoc on the young high school season. Nearly all schools have canceled practices. This week several meets were canceled or suspended because of lightning and heavy rain.
• A number of parochial Broward schools will be competing at the Bishop Moore Catholic school invitational over the weekend.
St. Thomas Aquinas and Cardinal Gibbons will be in attendance at the YMCA Aquatic Center in Orlando.
• St. Thomas Aquinas will host the Broward County Championship on Oct. 13. The meet will be at Plantation Aquatic Center in Central Park. The finals begin at 5 p.m.