Gables Cross Country Breaks Records at Regionals


Avril Donner

Proud athletes and coaches get their picture taken after learning they would advance to states.

At the most pivotal race of the season, the Coral Gables Senior High cross country team shocked many with their record-breaking finish, breaking all-time bests and countless personal records. The Florida High School Athletic Association’s 4A Region Four 2022 meet, held at South County Regional Park on Oct. 28, was the final qualifier that decided if the top seven runners on both the boys and girls teams would advance to the state championship.

Filing into two vans at 6 a.m. on race day, the teams were driven one long hour north to Boca Raton, Fla. by Coach Fotso and Coach Nelson. Arriving at 7 a.m., the team immediately began preparing by lacing bib numbers into their shoes. 

With the girls’ race starting at 8:30 a.m., they were the first to warm up and take pictures before making their way to the starting line, where Coach Nelson gave them a heartfelt pep talk. As soon as the gun shot, the girls took off, setting a quick pace set very early in the race. All seven runners finished in under 24 minutes, setting the team’s average time at 21:48. One runner, senior Isabella Morales, beat the all-time best for girls cross country at Gables, destroying her personal record and going under 20 minutes for a time of 19:59:30, safely below the previous record of 20:23.

It feels awesome knowing that I was able to accomplish beating the record. I knew that regionals was the race to do it and I think being pushed by my team has been one of the biggest factors in getting me to where I am this season. There was such a buildup when the announcer was stating where each team placed and once we were certain that we got second, every ounce of pain that I felt in that race just left my body,

— senior Isabella Morales.


Anxious but ready, the boys marched to the starting line at 9:30 a.m., prepared to run against the odds. The sound of the gun could not compare to the roar of the crowd of teammates and coaches. As usual, the leading four runners on the team, Anthony Fotso, Luis Rodriguez, Linus Boettcher and Jason Norona stayed close until the midway point, when some runners had to move up to try to reduce the number of points earned. The top six runners finished in under 20 minutes, putting the boys team’s average time at 18:02.

Shortly after, the awards ceremony was held, where the teams would find out who advanced to states. Medals were given to the top 15 finishers, with Gables winning sixth and 13th place. Then the girls team’s scores were called. As the result of an extremely close tiebreaker for second place, the Gables girls cross country team was named the Region Runner-Up, with just one point propelling them ahead of Coral Reef High School in third place. 

“We were really excited on beating Coral park but they also made it to states so we still have to beat them one more time. I think the friendly rivalry between us is really great and creates competition that makes us push even harder in the races,” freshman Jason Norona said.

Then it was time to find out if the boys had joined the girls in advancing to states. In nail-biting anticipation, the team huddled as they awaited the results. The Gables boys cross country team advanced to states, placing fourth out of 16 other schools and crushing many of their rivals.

“When the girls were announced as second for regionals, I was in shock because it hadn’t really hit me how good our team is. If it weren’t for every girl on the team, we wouldn’t be where we are today, so I am so grateful for each runner. We have everyone to thank for this accomplishment because everyone came to practice as much as they could and put all their effort into these practices with intense heat. Everyone’s persistence and dedication helped us get to States,” sophomore Priscilla Scullin said.

For the first time in Gables history, both the boys and girls qualified for states. In just one week, the team will make the eight-hour drive up to Tallahassee to conclude the cross-country season at the state championship. With nearly every runner setting personal records and all-time school records crushed, these Cavaliers made history on Oct. 28, bringing pride to coaches, teachers and Gables as a whole.

“This is the first year I have ever not been worried that at least one of my teams would make it to states,” Coach Nelson said.