Riverview's Bailey Hertenstein nabs region cross country title
LAKELAND — Hillsborough county teams came within arm’s reach of team cross country titles at Holloway Park on Friday morning. The Newsome girls and Steinbrenner boys both were second in Class 4A.
With Seffner Christian’s Noah Perkins in a walking boot, all hopes of a Hillsborough County individual title fell on Riverview sophomore Bailey “Hurricane” Hertenstein — and she did not disappoint.
Harassed early by a pair of Lakeland George Jenkins runners, Hertenstein charged up the hill after the 1-mile mark and by the time she emerged from the trail at 3 miles, there were no more challenges. Still, in signature fashion, Hurricane Hertenstein sprinted out the finish in 18:43.15, more than 50 seconds ahead of the field.
“I noticed I started to separate at about the 1.5-mile mark, then I charged down this hill and they (Jenkins girls) didn’t stay with me,” Hertenstein said. “As soon as I got that gap, I tried to push the pace. I like to feel like when I finish the race, I did all I could, used every drop of energy.”
Hertenstein’s 18:43 was way off her scorching 18:02 from the Flrunners meet in Titusville, but it was more than 15 seconds better than her 18:59.7 from the Seffner Christian Invite on the same course, back in September.
Newsome’s top runner Maria Somrah took sixth in 20:22.74, leading the way for the Newsome girls to pile up 104 points to clip Wharton with 112. The Plant girls were fifth with 131, and the Steinbrenner girls grabbed the final qualifying spot with 136.
Sarasota, a likely team favorite for the 4A state title, comfortably took first (65 points).
“We knew this was going to be a tough competition,” Newsome coach Orlando Greene said. “But this is what we train for all year. We were thinking that if we do things right, we could get Plant and be close to (county champ) Wharton and we got both of them today — we’ll take that.”
The Wolves were region runners-up for the third time in the past four years.
For the 4A boys, Sarasota’s Adam Bradtmueller across in first (16:24.87) but a duel for second erupted between Sickles’ Paris Williams and Durant’s Haftom Fliegelman. Fliegelman pounded out the final straightaway for second in 16:33.69. Williams was not far behind at 16:36.17.
“I was telling (Williams), ‘Let’s catch Bradtmueller’ and that helped push us out there,” Fliegelman said. “That last 100 meters, I knew I had more energy left (than Williams). He got me at county and since he beat me before, I wanted to get him back — I knew I would do well today.”
Plant’s Rob Leverone took fifth in 16:58.48. Wiregrass Ranch’s lone Joey Salerno was sixth (16:58.98). Plant’s Quasan Markowski, battling back issues, took eighth (17:06.21).
The Steinbrenner boys took second in front of Newsome 115-125. The Warriors were led by Ian Campbell’s ninth-place (17:09.81) finish.
“We had a plan all year to pack two or three in the top 20 and just keep it together,” Steinbrenner assistant coach Brandon Lingerfelt said. “We just wanted to make it (to states). We didn’t care about what place but getting a trophy is great — it was a good day.”
The Warriors got a big boost from freshman Davis Bly, who was the No. 7 runner most of the season and was called in to score for the Warriors at regionals. Bloomingdale (fourth, 127) and Plant boys (fifth, 138) passed through to states. Wiregrass Ranch missed the sixth spot by seven points.
In Class A, Seffner Christian’s boys without Perkins managed to qualify as a team, taking fourth with 155.
Individually, CDS’ Jack Pironti was fourth (17:19.64) and Tampa Prep’s Jordan Payne sixth (17:42.42).
For the girls, Tampa Prep freshman Josie Garba took fourth in the same regional race on the girls side.
In Class 3A, Chamberlain’s Maggie Parrish was third (19:34.58) — topping all area runners in the race.
“I tried to stay with (champ Kristlin Gear of Fort Myers) through the first mile but she dropped me on that first hill,” Parrish said. “I just tried to keep pace and make sure no one else passed me.”
Also in 3A, King’s Micaela Torres grabbed ninth (20:08.13), but the district champion Lion girls fell two points shy of qualifying for state as a team.
For the boys, Jesuit’s John Robbins placed fifth in 17:07.68 and Robinson’s Dannys Marrero took 10th in (17:19.05).