High School Sports

Calvary Christian’s Danny Ferro hopes to take the next step in running cross-country

Calvary Christian junior Danny Ferro gets ready for cross-country practice on Monday, Aug. 30, 2016. Ferro is making a push for a state title this season after an impressive sixth-place finish as a sophomore.
Calvary Christian junior Danny Ferro gets ready for cross-country practice on Monday, Aug. 30, 2016. Ferro is making a push for a state title this season after an impressive sixth-place finish as a sophomore. mocner@miamiherald.com

All the data suggests Calvary Christian’s Danny Ferro will be an even bigger problem than last season when he finished sixth at the Class 2A state finals.

The No. 13 returning time (15:59) in the state. A patented kick with which he hasn’t given up a late lead in two seasons. The serious approach to training.

It all adds up to Ferro, a junior, making a serious run at the state title.

“I definitely don’t see myself as a favorite but I’m not the biggest underdog either,” Ferry said. “It’s going to be tough but I think it will come down to who is having a better day and runs a more tactical race. I think my foot speed is my biggest advantage. I am never caught at the end of the race.”

Ferro was named Broward Runner of the Year following a breakout sophomore season. The campaign included winning District 15-2A, finishing third in Region 4-2A and clocking a Broward-best 16:16 at the state finals.

But Ferro’s coming-out party came at the Foot Locker South event in North Carolina. Competing against some of the nation’s top runners, Ferro won the junior class race in a career-best and school-record 15:59.

Calvary Christian coach Scott Sherrod, not one to toss superlatives around, said Ferro’s businesslike approach has accelerated his success.

“Danny has a depth of understanding and maturity about him,” Sherrod said. “He has educated himself so much. I can talk to him like I can with another coach. He wants to know how things work. He has that ability to process things at a higher level than most teenage boys. He doesn’t lose his focus.”

Ferro, one of only four sophomores to break 16 minutes last season, will need to maximize all those attributes against what is regarded as the toughest classification in the state.

In star-studded Region 4-2A alone, Ferro finds himself ranked fourth behind Satellite’s Trevor Kattenberg (15:51), Lincoln Park’s Caleb Pottorff (15:52) and Titusville’s Mason Jones (15:54). Pine Crest’s Michael Kennedy is another runner to watch.

Sherrod, who believes in quality training or quantity, revamped Ferro’s summer training routine to include more sprint work but fewer miles. The hope is Ferro will have the fresh legs needed to follow his former teammate Joel Lacy as the next state champion in school history.

“Training can only get you so far,” Ferro said. “It will come down to who can hold back the most and then push it out the last mile. It will definitely take a smart race to win this year. Now I know it all comes down to who [has] more guts and who is stronger on the inside. I believe I run more tactical races. I try to outsmart the other runners and play my cards right.”

Ferro credits the mental strength of his running to a daunting academic curriculum of honors English, math, science, engineering, Spanish and AP history. Engineering, in particular, poses similar challenges Ferro said he encounters on the course.

“Engineering and running have a lot of similarities,” Ferro said. “It’s a lot of mental work involved. There is no better feeling than figuring out a tough problem in engineering; the same in cross-country. It’s like having a bad race and coming back to win it.”

Broward cross-country | Season outlook

DEFENDING STATE CHAMPIONS

Class 4A: St. Thomas Aquinas (boys), Winter Park (girls); Class 3A: Creekside (boys), Lawton Chiles (girls).

Class 2A: Trinity Prep (boys), Bolles (girls); Class 1A: Father Lopez (boys), Circle Christian (girls).

KEY DATES

Aug. 26: Martin County Under the Lights (Halptiokee Park); Aug. 27: Fleet Feet Invitational (Stuart); Sep. 2: Mobile Cross Country Challenge of Champions (Mobile, AL); Sep. 17: Spanish River Invitational; Sep. 22: Pine Crest Invitational (Mills Pond Park); Sep. 24: Mountain Dew UF Invitational (Gainesville); Sep. 29: Westminster Christian Invitational (Palmetto Bay); Sep. 30-Oct. 1:flrunners.com Invitational (Chain of Lakes Park, Titusville); Oct. 7-8: Disney Classic (Kissimmee); Oct. 8: FSU Invitational (Pre-State) Apalachee Regional Park; Oct. 13: BCAA championships (Markham Park); Oct. 17-22: District meets; Oct. 27-29: Region meets; Nov. 5: FHSAA State Finals (Apalachee Regional Park, Tallahassee).

Girls’ team rankings

1. Pine Crest; 2. St. Thomas Aquinas; 3. Westminster Academy; 4. North Broward; 5. Douglas; 6. Monarch; 7. Cardinal Gibbons; 8. Cooper City; 9. Cypress Bay; 10. South Florida HEAT.

Top 10 returning girls’ times

1. Tsion Yared, Pine Crest, Fr. 18:17; 2. Jasmine Hincapie, Westminster Academy, Fr. 19:11; 3. Simone Vreeland, Pine Crest, Sr. 19:30; 4. Katie Pinnell, North Broward, Jr. 19:39; 5. Mahdere Yared, Pine Crest, 8th 19:50; 6. Amanda Schwartz, Pine Crest, Fr. 19:51; Nicole McConnell, Monarch, Jr. 19:55; 7. Daishon Spann, Boyd Anderson, So. 20:13; 8. Halie Murphy, Douglas, So. 20:22; 9. Nicole Taggart, Calvary Christian Academy, Sr. 20:28; 10. Aimee Becker, Cooper City, Jr. 20:38

Other girls to watch

South Florida HEAT: Carolyn Shields, Megan Kelley; Westminster Academy: Ragan Jacaty, Ashley Willliams; Chaminade: Alyssa Mendez; Northeast: Valencia Powell, Takiyah Johnson, Bertine Eugene; North Broward: Katie Bishop, Gianna Milan, Dana Hernandez; Sagemont: Tiana Artis; Calvary Christian: Crystal Cassinelli; Archbishop McCarthy: Victoria Carvajal-Romeu; Cardinal Gibbons: Gillian Gulley, Courtney May, Mya Fitzpatrick, Nicole Limperis; American Heritage: Sammie Goldberg, Emersyn Zintsmaster, Olivia Lloyd; Douglas: Emilia Thom, Annika Mursten; St. Thomas Aquinas: Veronica Slubowski, Sophia Savaglio, Alexis Rosa; Boyd Anderson: Nikyia Wooten; Fort Lauderdale: Marcela Cote Carpio.

Boys’ team rankings

1. St. Thomas Aquinas; 2. Pine Crest; 3. Westminster Academy; 4. Highlands Christian; 5. Calvary Christian; 6. Cypress Bay; 7. Cooper City; 8. Coral Springs; 9. Coral Glades; 10. Monarch.

Top 10 returning boys’ times

1. Danny Ferro, Calvary Christian, Jr. 15:59; 2. Ryan Szklany, Highlands Christian, Jr. 16:13; 3. Michael Kennedy, Pine Crest, Sr. 16:13.80; 4. Pierce Statham, St. Thomas Aquinas, Jr. 16:15; 5. Sean Breslin, St. Thomas Aquinas, Sr. 16:22.41; 6. Nicholas Rischar, St. Thomas Aquinas, Jr. 16:22.70; 7. Giovanni McPhee, McArthur, Jr. 16:23.71; 8. Ivan Donaher, St. Thomas Aquinas, Sr. 16:29.89; 9. William Shine, Archbishop McCarthy, Sr. 16:35.30; 10. Antonio Martinez, St. Thomas Aquinas, Sr. 16:37.

Other boys to watch

Somerset: Vinnie Blasucci, Jordan Nelson, Raul Olivera; Cardinal Gibbons: Cal Depenbrock, Garrett Tiernan, Chris Castaneda, Alex Gonzalez; American Heritage: Jose Penalver, Andrew Bass, Matthew Bermudez; Pine Crest: Michael Cabral, Matthew Stein; Chaminade: Michael Robinson; Northeast: Josue Fils Aime, Christopher Nobles, Tyree Simeon; Westminster Academy: Saahr Eduoard, Patrick Sastre, Joshua Deangulo, Benjamin Deangulo, North Broward: Alec Gordon, Alex Carroll, Ben Altschuler; Dillard: John Sellars; Monarch: Brandon Flagler; Coral Springs: Khiro Hoilett; Taravella: Michel Normil; Blanche Ely: Sueil Foucha; Boyd Anderson: Kendarius Coward; Coral Glades: Joseph Closs; Calvary Christian: Brett Herbert, David Hernandez, Ariel Saravia, Kedan Sauder; West Broward: Charlie Eaton.

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