Regionals Victory Takes Gables Cross Country to States


Abigail Felan

Runners Catalina Quinteros and Audrey Simon celebrate their achievement at regionals.

Ava Cosgrove and Jasmine Rizo

Although the Coral Gables Senior High School cross country season has finally come to an end, the girls team is still taking their final steps toward victory by heading off to states after successfully making it past regionals.

The team’s achievement of placing fifth at regionals has granted them a chance to compete at a state-level competition with other top schools across Florida. In its final moments, the girls team persists in demonstrating their skill as they work together to maintain their winning streak.

“I’m super proud of the girls for making it so far into the season. I think our goal this year was essential to make it to the State Championship and we really worked hard for that. I think we really pushed ourselves and each other to become physically and mentally stronger. Our hard work really paid off,” junior Ariadna Torras said.

After making it past local competitions, the girls cross country team has plans for states, which will be held in Tallahassee on Friday, Nov. 12. Making top five and having sophomore Catalina Quinteros place tenth overall with a time of 21:31, the team has set a precedent for what is yet to come.

While the sport does focus on the runners’ ability to perform individually, a team effort is required in order to place in competitions, making cross country — somewhat unexpectedly — based on teamwork. The selected winners are never individual members of the team, but rather, the team must collectively receive a top ranking based on the individual placements of each member in order to move onto higher-level events.

Throughout the season, the cross country coaches have been pushing their athletes to the limit while eyeing the potential top seven runners who will participate in states.

Throughout the fall season, the runners have learned to adjust to obstacles and push through the pain by practicing five days a week while alternating between speed and distance workouts. Coaches Scott Nelson and Michel Fotso help the athletes develop better pacing skills and endurance by employing running techniques and being consistent with practice.

The usual practice for the girls cross country team begins with a mile warmup and dynamic stretches. Afterward, the team runs either three “small schools,” laps around the entire school which is about a mile’s distance per each lap, or a series of figure eights, which are laps around the field and track in the shape of, as the name suggests, a figure eight.

When the focus is directed towards speed, Coach Fotso usually takes the lead and sends his athletes to the track to do exercises such as mile or one-kilometer repeats.

“Honestly, I’m going to miss bonding with the team so much after the season ends. The spirit we have created and the way we push each other while also having fun is something I’ve never experienced with a team before and I think my biggest achievement this season is being a part of such a great team with great people and coaches and qualifying with them,” junior Isabella Morales said.

As for boys cross country, despite not making it to states, the team placed ninth out of 16 teams from across the region and pushed themselves harder than ever before with most boys beating their personal records.

Sophomore Anthony Roles-Fotso came in 48 out of 112 runners with a time of 19 minutes flat, beating his past record of 19:36. Close behind in 50th place, senior Gregoire Winston beat his record of 19:11 by five seconds, coming in at 19:06.

“The most important thing about cross country for me was to make sure I was pushing myself to my limit each race, and if it isn’t hurting I’m not going fast enough,” sophomore Anthony Roles-Fotso said.

As the Gables cross country team concludes regionals, the girls varsity team was able to secure a spot at the state competition. While the boys bid farewell, the girls continue to make strides into one of the final competitions remaining this season.

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  • Senior Gregoire Winston while running his last race on the Gables cross country team.

  • Before racing, the girls team exchanges a few words, wishing each other good luck and sending positive messages to one another.

  • The girls varsity team warming up in order to prepare for one of their most important races: regionals.

  • Robert Weckel and Santiago Gonzalez running side by side, a technique that allows them to maintain a fixed pace and motivate each other.

  • Head coach of the girls team, Scott Nelson, gives his athletes a pep talk before the race begins.