Girls Win State Title / Boys Finish 18th
Parker and McEwen Finish 2nd and 4th Individually
Saturday morning, under crisp temperatures and clear and sunning skies, the 2017 FHSAA Cross Country State Championships took place with the top 24 teams in 4 classifications racing over 5000 meters (3.1 mile) at the Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee, Florida. In a sport where only 10% of the athletes ever get the chance to run in the State Finals, the Circle boys and girls teams had the privilege to compete through their strong qualifications in District and Regional Championships. And compete they did . . .
In the most exciting race of the day, the Circle girls team captured the Class 1A State Championship. The team won the title in a narrow 2 point win over Citrus Park Christian School from Tampa finishing with 72 points. Last year’s State Champion, Oak hall finished in 3rd place with 120 points. Sinkenesh Parker led the team with a Runner-up finish tying her personal best time of 18:50. Her 2nd place finish was the highest State Meet finish in Circle history breaking her own record from last year when she finished 3rd. Brooke McEwen, running the fastest race of her life would finish close behind Parker in 4th place in a personal best time of 19:05 which improved upon her 7th place finish from 2016. Archike Parker and Mulu Parker worked together throughout the race and had career best performances finishing in 22nd and 23rd place. Archike would cut 40 seconds from per previous best time to run 20:01 while Mulu was right behind in a personal best time of 20:03. Caroline Spivey, competing in her first State Championship, competed strong over the last mile picking up 15 spots to finish in 46th place in a personal best time of 20:43 to be the fifth team scorer. Emily Grandstaff and Grace DeJesus would add additional outstanding performances with both setting personal records. Emily would run 1:08 faster than she ever has before to finish in 67th place with a time of 21:21 while Grace, running in her first State Championship as a 6th grader would finish in 75th place in a time of 21:33.
The boys team, returning to the State Championships after a two-year hiatus made the most of their opportunity with 5 of their 7 athletes running all-time personal bests while helping their team to an 18th place finish. Sophomore Josh Workowski would lead the team with a top finish of 62nd place in a personal record time of 17:44. He was followed close behind by Jack DeJesus who would finish in 77th place in a career best time 18:00 and Sophomore Noah Mitchell finishing in 78th place in a PR time of 18:02. Taylor Hong, with impressive showings throughout the State Series, ran a personal best time of 18:39 to finish in 111th place while the teams only senior, Stephen Graham would close out the team scoring with a 133rd place finish in a time of 19:06. Christopher Haak would add a 144th place finish in 19:26 while Abu Parker, would set a personal best time of 19:44 while placing 158.
This year’s win by the girls was their second State Championship in 3 years to go with their runner-up finish in 2016. Four of the girls, Sinkenesh, Brooke, Archike, and Mulu have been a part of all 3 podium (top 2) finishing teams while this is the second podium finish and first State Championship for Emily. With the team still young, being comprised of student-athletes only in grades 6-10, they will look to continue the trend and progress further together for a few more years, Lord willing. For the boys, this should be the start of something good with 6 members of the team returning and a strong and talented group of additional athletes looking to push for varsity spots next season. This season the teams and coaches have each experienced the faithfulness of God and have been humbled by His goodness. What a week for our Circle Cross Country program and for Circle Christian School Athletics.
Soli Deo Gloria!