Class 2A cross country primer
When: Saturday. 2A girls race, 9:35 a.m.; 2A boys race, 10:25 a.m.
Where: Apalachee Regional Park, Tallahassee
Front-runners: The locals to really keep an eye on are the Hillsborough County private schools. Berkeley Prep and Academy of the Holy Names won team district titles and have elite runners that should be in the mix.
Breaking down Class 2A: AHN’s girls were within four points of champion Englewood Lemon Bay at the Class 2A, Region 3 meet. The Jaguars are led by freshman Greta Dieck and sophomore Emma Zazzero.
Dieck, sixth at regionals in 20:30, has not been under 20 minutes this season but has a 19:48.6 from the 2014 state meet. Zazzero, seventh at regionals in 20:38, ran her personal best at the meet. The AHN girls are very strong with their top five, but so is Region 2 with Eastside, Tavares and Lake Highland Prep.
It will be hard for either Dieck or Zazzero to make a dent in the top 15. The Jaguars managed to take fourth last year as a team in 2A and their top five are all under 21:30, but this classification might be even tougher than last year.
Winter Park's Trinity Prep scored a perfect 15 on the boys side at regionals. It's hard to imagine anyone coming close to that mark at state, but there are some intriguing wild cards among the local individuals, Berkeley Prep's Leonel Ochoa and Hernando' Trevor Foley.
Foley ran a blistering 15:34.53 at the UF Mountain Dew Invite in September but hasn't come within 20 seconds of that mark since. He came down with mononucleosis shortly after that meet and has yet to find his groove. He ran a 17:08 at regionals and the Leopards placed third as a team, but his UF mark is still the best in 2A. If Foley can bring it full circle for the state meet, look for him to press the leaders. If he's still in the 17's he'll be out of medal contention.
Ochoa is another interesting question mark. He ran a 16:10 back on Sept. 3 before a leg injury slowed him down. Ochoa looks to be mostly healed as his 18:01 from districts was offset by his 16:35 at regionals. If Ochoa can run a personal best at state, expect him to crack the top 10.
Gulf freshman John Jessup had the best finish of any area boy in Class 2A, Region 2 (17:01.9). Jessup has dipped under 17 minutes once this season and will have to go way under his PR of 16:55 to place. Middleton's Daniel Dean is under 17 minutes, too, having run a 16:50 at regionals.