Runner of the year: Alex Eaton, Sr., Shorecrest
Why we picked her: During a cross country career that spanned three schools and dated to middle school, Eaton has forever been in front of the pack at races. She has fared well at state meets, placing in the top three last year. This year, the expectations were big. She entered the season ranked No. 2 in Class A by flrunners.com and was the top runner on a team many thought could compete for a state title. Eaton lived up to that lofty status. She was the champion at the St. Petersburg city meet and at Bay Conference. At state, she took second, the first runnerup finish of her career. She also helped the Chargers place fourth overall, the highest finish of any county boys or girls team at state in any classification this year.
Biggest accomplishment: Eaton was fourth at regionals and was not the top-seeded runner from the county heading into state, falling behind Calvary Christian’s Hannah Brookover. But Eaton used strategy and speed to run what she described as the best race of her high school career. Her state time of 18 minutes, 22.68 seconds did not result in a personal record, but it did produce her best finish. The only runner Eaton was unable to catch was Melbourne Holy Trinity’s Julie Wollrath, who won her third straight state title.
Future plans: Eaton plans to run track this spring and will compete in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meters. She still is deciding on where to run in college.
Did you know? Eaton’s father is Dr. Koco Eaton, the orthopaedic surgeon for the Tampa Bay Rays.
Hannah Brookover, So., Calvary Christian: Second-year runner continued her meteoric rise, finishing eighth (18:44.42) at the Class A state meet .
Bobbi Labrant, Jr., Indian Rocks Christian: Produced stellar times in the postseason and just missed out on advancing to state, finishing 16th at the A-3 region meet in 19:47.84.
Sarah Raymond, Sr., Palm Harbor University: County’s best public school runner was a conference champion and placed 19th at the 4A state meet in 19:23.82.
Olivia Rovin, Fr., Shorecrest: Usually stayed with Eaton at the front in races and was 28th at state in 19:41.43.
Sophia Vesely, 6th, Shorecrest: Emerged as one the top-three runners for the Chargers and finished 35th at state (19:54.57).
Savannah Broome, Sr., Shorecrest
Kaley Eisenbrei, Sr., Osceola
Tiffany Kern, Sr., Largo
Olivia Suski, Jr., Seminole
Alexis Stevens, Sr., Boca Ciega
Admiral Farragut: Hailey Dalton, Sara Graves; Boca Ciega: Tara Giordano, Shara Leonard, Tiffany Whitson; Calvary Christian: Emily Curran, Keely Durbak, Stephanie Fries, Brandie Rimer; Canterbury: Emma Jaworski; Clearwater Central Catholic: Katie Gavlic, Julia Ryan; Countryside: Nallah Abernathy; Dunedin: Hannah Langevin, Caitlin Larison; East Lake: Sabrina Siegel; Gibbs: Jerosan Fletcher; Indian Rocks Christian: Jordyn Bench, Mia Gillespie, Lina Tadros; Lakewood: Shandra Gordon, D’asia Hobbs, Selena Serrano; Keswick Christian: Erin Endrulat; Northeast: Haley Brahm, Caroline Condon; Northside Christian: Mara Lameyer; Osceola: Tamara Boskovic, Hannah Gonsalves, Madeleine Repka, Fatima Abu-Rumman; Palm Harbor University: Anna Hamilton, Sarah Harley, Brianna Paczynski, Sarah Swallow, Julia Withrow; St. Petersburg: Megan Fitzgerald; St. Petersburg Catholic: Kelli Deja, Julie Dunn; Shorecrest: Kai Greenlees; Seminole: Miranda Gale, Eliza Long, Maddie Stubbs
Coach of the year
Darryl Southard, Palm Harbor University. Despite battling through injuries and obligations in other sports, the Hurricanes remained the county’s top public school program thanks to the guidance of Southard, who led PHU to a conference team title.
Runner of the year: Andrew Llewellyn, Sr. Countryside
Why we picked him: A former baseball player, Llewellyn started running distance last year in track. He became one of Countryside’s strongest runners and burst onto the county scene in his first season in cross country, winning nearly every major meet, including conference and district titles. At the Class 4A meet, he finished 23rd in 16 minutes, 23.42 seconds, the best time among any county boys runner at state this season.
Most impressive accomplishment: Baseball conditioning got Llewellyn running. But when he was stuck on the bench as a pitcher, he decided to take up the sport. Under the guidance of coach Eileen Givens, Llewellyn not only became Countryside’s No. 1 runner but was at the front of the pack in every race. His emergence is reminiscent of last year’s county runner of the year, Paul McKenna, who had a late start in the sport but has gone on to become one of Embry-Riddle’s top runners.
What’s next: Llewellyn plans to run the 1,600 and 3,200 in track. He said he already has some offers from small schools but is hoping to get noticed even more during track season.
Did you know? Llewellyn weighed more than 150 pounds when he played baseball, but has dropped 22 pounds because of his rigorous training as a distance runner.
Hunter McCann, So., Osceola: Came on strong with several wins at the start of the season and was the county’s highest place-winner in a tough 3A-3 region (26th, 17:30.40).
Luke Peterson, So., Shorecrest: County’s top private-school runner finished ninth at the Class A meet in 16:29.89.
Ross Porter, Sr., Shorecrest: Battled Peterson for the top spot in most meets and finished 11th at state in 16:33.11.
Trevor Quandt, Sr., Indian Rocks Christian: Stayed with the elite private school runners during the season and was 18th at state in 16:48.07.
Elliott Traxler, Sr., St. Petersburg: Consistent all year — his fourth-place district finish was highest in the county — and he was a state qualifier in 4A.
A.J. Jimenez, So., Osceola
Nicholas Spring, Sr., Northeast
Phillip Mackie, Sr., Palm Harbor University
Patrick McNamara, Sr., Admiral Farragut
Trent Small-Towns, Sr., St. Petersburg
Admiral Farragut: Nima Beheshti, Adam Burrell; Calvary Christian: Mitchell Pantelides, Chris Robin; Canterbury: Ched Milic; Clearwater Central Catholic: William Freeman, Tommy Green, Daniel James, Timothy Warner; Countryside: Robert Davis; Dixie Hollins: Hamza Noukhal; Dunedin: Sean MacLean; Gibbs: Artiz Flowers; Indian Rocks Christian: Luke Boeche, Michael Cavonis, Drew Street, Zach Trador, Sam Weller; Lakewood: Devontae Persha, Amire Smith; Largo: Christian Kondor; Northeast: Justin Burns, Dylan Jones, Stephen Rudderham, Matthew Stenger, Jordan Whitten; Osceola: Reggie Cape, Jared McFadden, Ryan Van Middlesworth, Trey Smith; Northside Christian: Justin Nunamaker; Palm Harbor University: Adam Fahey; St. Petersburg: Declan Abernathy; St. Petersburg Catholic: Pasqual Artise, Manuel Carmona, Drew Cusson, Emilio Ycaza; Seminole: Jared Hayduke, Paul Leclair, Lorenzo Long, Iain Marsh; Shorecrest: Casey Cureton, Josh Miles, Justin Scoby
Coach of the year
Jeff Raab, Shorecrest. The girls team he coaches was dominant from the beginning of the season, but Raab helped the boys emerge from their shadow. At the Class A state meet, Shorecrest’s boys finished third overall, the highest of any boys or girls team at any level.