Broward County cross-country teams had tried for over a decade to break one of its longest droughts in any sport.
St. Thomas Aquinas’ girls finally brought home some gold Saturday morning from Tallahassee.
Entering the race favored to at least finish as the state runner-up in Class 4A, the Raiders’ girls took it a step further by surging past defending state champion Tampa Plant and winning the team title by a 27-point margin at Apalachee Regional Park.
Led by Alexa Cruz’s individual runner-up finish, St. Thomas became the first Broward girls’ cross-country team since Coral Springs in 1989 to win a team state title. St. Thomas also became the first-ever Broward private school to win a girls’ state cross-country title.
No Broward team boys or girls had won a state title since Boyd Anderson’s boys accomplished the feat in 1998.
Cruz also made history.
Her time of 18:14.79 was enough to equal the best finish by an Aquinas runner ever, matching former Raider runner Claire Orlik’s state runner-up finish in 1990.
Orlando Dr. Phillips’ Bridget Blake won the Class 4A individual title with a time of 17:53.04.
The Raiders placed three runners in the top 15 as Christina Kalis finished 11th, Brianna Rischar placed 13th and Marina Braynon-Moore finished 15th. Megan Schloss and Lily Kloepfer also placed in the top 50.
On the boys’ side, St. Thomas Aquinas was also Broward’s top team in Class 4A, finishing third behind state champion Orlando Colonial and Jacksonville Mandarin.
Colonial’s Andres Arroyo won the individual title in 15:18.95.
Coral Glades’ Anthony Deleva finished eighth, a Broward-best in the race. Alexander Haugen (12th), Matthew Butler (16th) and Antony Cruz (21st) were Aquinas’ top runners.
In Class 3A, Pines Charter’s boys finished 19th and Archbishop McCarthy’s girls finished 22nd.
Westminster Academy’s boys finished 10th in Class 1A.
Class 4A boys’ team scores (Top 3 plus Broward): 1. Colonial 58; 2. Jacksonville Mandarin 108; 3. St. Thomas Aquinas 127; 18. Douglas 454; 24. Coral Springs 608.
Class 4A girls’ team scores (Top 3 plus Broward): 1. St. Thomas Aquinas 59; 2. Tampa Plant 86; 3. Orlando Olympia 108; 18. Cypress Bay 439; 22. Douglas 589.
Class 4A boys’ individual results (Winner plus Broward in top 50): 1. Andres Arroyo (Colonial) 15:18.95; 8. Anthony Deleva (CGlades) 15:55.33; 12. Alexander Haugen (STA) 16:03.11; 16. Matthew Butler (STA) 16:11.47; 21. Antony Cruz (STA) 16:17.59; 32. Joel Lacy (SP) 16:35.00; 36. Tyler Bell (CS) 16:39.55; 42. Bryce Statham (STA) 16:43.00; 48. Avonte Boykins (FL) 16:46.39.
Class 4A girls’ individual results (Winner plus Broward in top 50): 1. Bridget Blake (Dr. Phillips) 17:53.04; 2. Alexa Cruz (STA) 18:14.79; 7. Katherine MacNeal (CB) 18:49.02; 11. Christina Kalis (STA) 18:56.79; 13. Brianna Rischar (STA) 19:00.82; 15. Marina Braynon-Moore (STA) 19:12.13; 18. Megan Schloss (STA) 19:22.58; 29. Lily Kloepfer (STA) 19:42.83; 39. Jade Fungquee (MON) 19:58.13.
Class 3A boys’ team scores (Top 3 plus Broward): 1. Belen 60; 2. Ft. Walton Beach 145; 3. Fort Myers 156; 19. Pines Charter 493; 22. Archbishop McCarthy 560.
Class 3A girls’ team scores (Top 3 plus Broward): 1. Estero 42; 2. Ft. Walton Beach 138; 3. Chiles 159; 21. Archbishop McCarthy 513; 22. Cardinal Gibbons 539.