Broward High Schools

Pine Crest’s Yared, Calvary Christian’s Lacy claim state cross-country titles

BY FABIAN LYON

Pine Crest’s Tsion Yared and Calvary Christian’s Joel Lacy led a changing of the guard Saturday at the state cross-country finals at Apalachee Regional Park.

Yared, a seventh grade phenom, was never challenged in succeeding teammate Julia Montgomery as the Class 2A state girls’ champion, while Lacy won the 2A boys’ state title in a stunning rally.

Yared, ranked No. 7 in Florida, joined her Pine Crest teammates in a dance to Taylor Swift’s Shake it off at the starting line before separating from the pack at the two-mile mark and pulling away to win in 18:18. It marked the fifth time Yared has run under 18:20. She also added a FHSAA state title to go along with the FLYRA middle school state title she won in a state record 10:39.00 on Nov. 1.

“Our team was having a dance party before the race,” Yared said. “We were screaming out the lyrics, having fun and other teams were just staring at us. The dancing helped me take my mind off the race. When the gun went off I just wanted to do my best.”

In contrast to Yared’s comfortable victory, Lacy found himself staring at a third-place finish with a half-mile left before running down Wolfon’s David Vaughn and Trinity Prep’s Trenton Mandato to claim Calvary’s first cross-country state title.

“I was just thankful that I had enough energy to pick it up at the end,” Lacy said. “I kept telling myself all season that no one in 2A is faster than me. I know I can beat them. Without the kick at the end I would have gotten second or third.”

Calvary coach Scott Sherrod attributed Lacy’s milestone victory to his transformation from a perennial early front-runner to one who has learned better restraint in the late stages of the race.

“I knew Joel was the fastest guy in the race,” Sherrod said. “I knew if he came out at the top of the hill, shoulder-to-shoulder with the top guys that no one was going to out-run him to the finish line. Last year he had a tendency to go out and lead. This time he just stayed back and waited for his turn.”

Ransom Everglades’ Gabriel Correa came in as the favorite after beating Lacy by six seconds at the Region 4-2A championships, but finished third on Saturday.

In Class 4A, St. Thomas Aquinas was knocked off as boys’ and girls’ team champions. Winter Park freshman sensation Rafaella Gibbons, the state’s No. 1-ranked runner, ended Aquinas’ Alexa Cruz’s reign as girls’ individual state champion and the Raiders’ two-year run as team champion.

Gibbons won in 18:05 to spark Winter Park’s 41-56 victory and Cruz, who led a 3-5-12 finish with Margaret Schloss and Brianna Rischar, finished third in 18:19.

“Our girls put in a great effort,” said Raiders coach Trish Butler. “They came in and gave it their all. Winter Park was supposed to win by 60 or 70 points. Winter Park had four girls under 18:38. They are that good.”

Yared led a 1-8-13 finish with Montgomery and Mahdere Tared, a sixth grade standout and Tsion’s sister, but it wasn’t enough to dethrone Jacksonville Bolles, which beat the Panthers 46-56.

But the Panthers’ boys team, like their girls’ counterparts, showed they are closing the gap on the traditional powerhouses with a second-place finish. Michael Kennedy , a cornerstone for the Panthers the next two seasons, finished ninth in a school-record 16:21.

“Everybody sees Pine Crest on our jerseys and knows what it means now,” Kennedy said. “With a second place finish we showed that we are one of the best in the state. From one through five we can be up there with the best of them. We only graduate one senior and next year we can be up there again.”

GIRLS’ RESULTS

Class 1A—10. Westminster Academy 346, 15. South Florida HEAT 420: 20. Baker (WA)19:57, 46. 190 Shields (SFH) 20:43, 61. Oman (WA) 21:16, 90. Bridges (SFH) 21:59, 99. Jacaty (WA) 22:12, 100. Hamilton (WA) 22:16, 102. A. Williams (WA) 22:20.

Class 2A — 1. Bolles 46, 2. Pine Crest 56, 21. Cardinal Gibbons 500: Tsion Yared (PC) 18:18, 8. Montgomery (PC)18:52, 13. Mahdere Yared (PC) 19:35, 26. Jovanovic (PC) 20:02, 29. Vreeland (PC) 20:09, 35. Mahlet Yared (PC) 20:27, 38. Pinnell (NBP) 20:29, 48. Schwartz (PC) 20:49, 62. Opalinski (CG) 21:05, 82. Morgan (CG) 21:29.

Class 4A — 2. St. Thomas Aquinas 54, 16. Douglas 386, 23. Cooper City 637: 3. Alexa Cruz (STA)18:19, 5. Schloss (STA) 18:21, 12. Rischar (STA) 18:55, 21. Kloepfer (STA) 19:20, 32. De Brigard (STA) 19:42, 35. Mursten (Doug) 19:49, 47. Dalal (CB) 20:01, 90. Thom (Doug) 20:40, 100. Lugo (Doug) 20:54, 105. Sumkin (CCity) 20:56.

BOYS’ RESULTS

Class 1A —1. Holy Trinity 33, 7. Westminster Academy 256: 10. McCracken (WA) 16:26, 22. Szklany (HC) 16:55, 33. Sastre (WA) 17:20, 56. Deangulo (WA) 17:49, 96. Wood (WA) 18:38.

Class 2A—2. Pine Crest 149, 8. Calvary Christian 258, 19. Cardinal Gibbons 450: 1. Joel Lacy (CalvChr) 15:48, 9. Kennedy (PC) 16:21, 14. Ferro (CalvChr) 16:28, 28. Gilbert (PC) 16:46, 32. Welch (PC) 16:51, 49. Caldwell (PC) 17:02, 67. Lasher (CG) 17:16, 71. B. Williams (CM) 17:24, 77. Knezevich (PC) 17:30, 81. Roberts (CG) 17:32, 91. Still (CalvChr) 17:40.

Class 3A—9. Pines Charter 286, 24. Archbishop McCarthy 547: 12. Gimenz-Beron (PPC) 15:53, C. Penaranda (PPC) 16:23, 56. Shine (AM) 16:41, 57. D. Penaranda (PPC) 16:43, 66. Farrell (AM) 16:50, 94. McNair (PPC) 17:15.

Class 4A— 3. St. Thomas Aquinas 141,9. Douglas 249, 22. Cypress Bay 560: 6. Statham (STA) 15:52, 15. Margetts (Doug) 16:10, 25. Ramcharran (Doug) 16:22, 38. Breslin (STA) 16:33, 40. Adriano (STA) 16:35, 43. Statham (STA) 16:39, 50. McCulloch (STA) 16:49, 58. Penalver (CCity) 16:56, 67. McCutchen (Doug) 17:00, 74. Rischar (STA) 17:06, 76. Dominguez (STA) 17:06, 82. Morin (CB) 17:09, 87. Rubin (Doug) 17:11, 98. Clark (Doug) 17:21.

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