Pine Crest’s Julia Montgomery got her Class 2A state title defense off to a rousing start with a runaway victory at the District 15-2A championships Thursday.
The biggest difference this season is Montgomery might pull the F.A.C.A No. 2 ranked Panthers to the top of the state podium with her.
Pine Crest swept the top five spots at Mills Pond Park and earned a rare perfect 15 score behind Montgomery, who finished in 19:09, ahead of Katherine Jovanovic (19:34), standout sixth-graders Tsion Yared (20:12) and Amanda Schwartz (20:18), and Katarina Stevanovich (20:32).
“Just based on what we did [Thursday], it is just awesome to see what we will be able to do at states,” Montgomery said. “That is pretty much what I am focused on right now. Our sixth-graders are improving their times. It is so awesome to have my teammates pushing me. They just motivate you. Having them there is a great feeling.”
Yared opted to run beside her sister, Mahlet, for the first two miles but surged to third place when she realized the Panthers had a shot at securing the top five spots.
The top 15 finishers and top four teams advance to the Region 4-2A championships.
In contrast to Montgomery’s wire-to-wire victory, the boys’ race was competitive through the first 1 3/4 miles before Calvary Christian’s Joel Lacy kicked it into a second gear that North Broward’s Jack Klumpp and Pine Crest’s Ryan Welch couldn’t answer.
After going off course for a brief time, Lacy unleashed a deadly kick that brought him across the finish line in 16:29.
“I love these type of races where you have good competition and a challenging race,” Lacy said.
Klumpp finished second in 16:47 and was followed by Welch (17:00) and Pine Crest’s Michael Kennedy (17:11).
For Klumpp, finishing a distant second after winning the district title by a 39-second margin last season, left him soul searching.
“I’m probably going to try to get my mind off it this week,” Klumpp said. “This was kind of devastating. I won by 39 seconds. To come back and lose as a senior is devastating. I will come back at regionals and attack the field. I will not go out so slow.”
•District 16-5A Championship: Cardinal Gibbons d. Pompano 24-26, 25-22, 25-23, 25-22:
Kassie Akouri-Tejedor 20 assists, 12 points, 5 aces, 11 digs. CG 20-7.
University School at Bradenton Manatee, 7:30
Miramar at Cypress Bay, 7
South Plantation vs. Monarch (Deerfield Beach), 7
Plantation at Northeast, 7
Hollywood Hills at St. Thomas Aquinas, 7
Blanche Ely at Cardinal Gibbons, 7
West Broward at Flanagan, 7
Stranahan at Hallandale, 7
Deerfield Beach at Coral Glades, 7
Piper at Coral Springs, 7
Suncoast at Dillard, 7
McArthur at Western, 7
Cardinal Newman at North Broward Prep, 7
Chaminade at Riviera Beach Inlet Grove, 7
Coconut Creek at Boynton Beach, 7
Coral Springs Christian at Dade Christian, 7:30
District 14-4A final at Chaminade: 7
District 14-3A final at Lake Worth Christian: 7
District 15-3A final at Sagemont: 7
District 12-4A at Tradewinds Park – Girls: 9 a.m.; Boys: 9:40 a.m.
District 15-3A at Archbishop McCarthy – Girls: 4; Boys: 4:35.
SWIMMING AND DIVING
District 11-2A at Pompano Aquatic Center: noon
District 11-1A at Nova Southeastern University: 11 a.m.