Upstarts and veterans alike took home hardware from Williston's cross country meet, featuring teams from Williston, Chiefland, Cedar Key, Bradford and Fort White. Chiefland varsity girls, in only their second year as a team, took home the girls' crown. Amie Biehl, who paced off Allie Wheeler last year (Wheeler has since transferred), grabbed a new pacer in JaRobyn Rome and won the girls' race in 26:06. Rome had 26:58 as her final; April Geiger was third with 28:31 and Mariah Mather was fifth with 29:11.
Williston boys, bolstered by a few speedy basketball players, took the team prize for boys. Top Williston finishers Norman Hussey and Alex Travis came in at 21:10 and 21:16, respectively.
Cedar Key boys finished second as a team and boasted the first local finisher, with Joe Bishop coming in second overall at 20:30. He was just behind overall winner Andy Merrill of Bradford, who set a blistering pace of 19:20. Frankie Beckham finished eighth at 22:21.
Middle schoolers brought their game up a notch as well, with Cedar Key's Megan Stuber finishing second among JV girls at 27:39 - good enough for fourth among all girls. Bradford's Tiana Sheffield won the JV girls' race at 26:29.
Austin Pope of Cedar Key, winner for JV boys, ran an incredible 22:18, an improvement of 10 minutes off his time trial.
Chiefland girls were the biggest winners of the day, capturing four of the top five slots in the varsity girls race and missing a perfect score only by the imposition of Cedar Key's Zo Stuber (28:36) in the number four slot.
Zo's sister Megan and fellow middle school Shark Caitlin Goss, along with Erin Hoopaugh of Williston Middle, were among the local youngsters who finished high enough (29:10 and 28:15, respectively) to crack the varsity top 10; they'll be the future of their respective high school squads.
For JV boys, Pope's race-day speed will stand him in good stead when he's ready to move up.
Biehl, who loved drafting on Wheeler, says she's thrilled to have Rome as a race partner.
"JaRobyn kept me going the whole time," she said. "Finally I started to pick 'em off, one after another."
Zo Stuber says she knows she can do better.
"Sometimes I worry about burning too much too early," she said. "I think I have to come out harder."
Bishop was running on a rolled ankle suffered in a basketball game.
"I had a pretty good race, though," he said. "I was chasing (Merrill) the whole way."
Hussey was chasing Bishop, he said, and felt good the whole race.
"This is the first time I've run cross country," he said. "I'm sure I'll get better."
Varsity girls' finish
1 Amy Biehl, Ch, 26:06
2 JaRobyn Rome, Ch, 26:58
3 April Geiger, Ch, 28:31
4 Zoe Stuber, CK, 28:36
5 Mariah Mather, Ch, 29:11
6 Skyler Horne, Ch, 29:28
7 Kayla Garlow, Br, 29:35
8 Christina Jordan, Br, 29:36
9 Camiel Lance, FW, 29:49
10 Hannah Ricker, Br, 30:01
Middle school girls' finish
1 Tiana Sheffield, Br, 26:29
2 Megan Stuber, CK, 27:39
3 Amanda Hall, Br, time not recorded
4 Erin Hoopaugh, Wil, 28:15
5 Caitlin Goss, CK, 29:10
6 Shannan Harden, Br, time not recorded
7 DeAnna Jordan, Br, time not recorded
8 Lauren Bartholomy, CK, 30:35
9 Makayla Milton, Wil, 31:31
10 Dessie Taylor, Br, 32:28
Varsity boys' finish
1 Andy Merrill, Br, 19:20
2 Joseph Bishop, CK, 20:30
3 Matthew Waddington, FW, 20:39
4 Norman Hussey, Wil, 21:10
5 Alex Travis, Wil, 21:16
6 Justin Clem, Br, 21:26
7 Moore, Wil, 21:44
8 Coram, Wil, 22:00
9 Frankie Beckham, CK, 22:21
10 Francisco, Wil, 22:33
JV boys' finish
1 Austin Pope, CK, 22:18
2 Anthony Gonzalez, FW, 23:45
3 Maurice Nelson, FW, time not recorded
4 Josh Berger, CK, 24:08
5 Kevin Hillary, Wil, 25:09
6 Marcus Thompson, Br, 25:00
7 John Fradella, CK, time not recorded
8 John Wesley Gilianwater, Br, 27:05
9 Frank Medorian, Wil, 27:09
10 Tyler Greenbay, Br, time not recorded
Varsity girls: Chiefland, 17 points
Varsity boys: Williston, 34; Cedar Key, 47; Bradford, 65
JV girls: Bradford, 27
JV boys: Williston Middle, 53; Bradford Middle, 59
*Not all schools brought enough runners in each category to constitute a team (five runners)