Gables Cross Country Shines at States


Avril Donner

The Cavalier cross-country team smiles for one last time at the 2022 FHSAA State Championships.

Concluding their action-packed 2022 season, the Coral Gables Senior High cross country team delivered once again at the Florida High School Athletic Association State Finals in Tallahassee, Fla.

After months of hard work, including practices six days a week and meets almost every week, the Gables cross country team’s success at regionals qualified them for the state championships. Records were broken in regional competition with the Lady Cavaliers placing second and boys placing fourth, allowing the boys and girls teams to advance to states simultaneously for the first time in Gables cross country’s history.

On Nov. 4, the day before the state competition, the athletes met at Gables at 5 a.m., before setting out on a nine-hour car ride north to Apalachee Regional Park, where the race would be held. The Cavaliers breezed through fairytale-like trees on a course dubbed “a cross country runner’s playground”, memorizing the hilly terrain for race day.

“This race was by far the most fulfilling one of my cross country experience. It was the race that signified a successful season. My ultimate goal of the race was to savor the feeling of leading and running for my teammates. Meeting these two goals was the most fulfilled I’ve ever felt in my time playing sports,” senior Marcos Algeciras said.

Following their final practice of 2022, the team settled in at the Red Roof Inn, to enjoy a pasta dinner and mentally prepare themselves for the challenge ahead.

Upon arrival at the race grounds at 7 a.m., both squads gazed at the scenery and took a moment to reflect on every step leading up to that point. The Lady Cavaliers ran first, warming up and hydrating before trotting to the starting line for The Class 4A girls varsity race, which began at 9:55 a.m. Inspired by the words of Coach Nelson and Coach Fotso, runners were fired up to make their last race of the season worthwhile.

The adrenaline was flowing with the sound of the gun as runners leaped into their last race of the year. A quick start to finish left the girls all under 24 minutes with an average time of 21:57 for 5000 meters for a 24th-place finish overall.

“This race meant a lot to me because it was my last ever high school race, and it was at one of the biggest meets ever for cross country. This season has been unreal. It has been a lot more competitive, and I’ve had to put in a lot more work to ensure that I made it to states,” senior Audrey Simon said.

The boys’ race kicked off next at 10:45 a.m., with runners navigating through rocky terrain and steep hills toward the finish line. Freshman Luis Rodriguez posted a time of 17:55, just shy of his personal record. With an average time of 18:45 and 813 points, the boys team placed 30th in the 4A class division.

The team closed the event and their season with group photos and tear-filled hugs to the five seniors: Isabella Morales, Audrey Simon, Ariadna Torras, Marcos Algeciras and Robert Weckel.

“I honestly could not ask for more and I am sad to see my last cross country season come to an end, but I am extremely grateful for this team and I would not change the past four seasons for anything,” senior Ariadna Torras said.

Although cross country will resume next fall, the 2022 season will not be forgotten. The FHSAA State Finals was the ultimate challenge for the Cavaliers as runners will keep recruiting and hopefully grow in prowess for the season to come.

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  • Gables runners sport their matching outfits at the FHSAA state championships.

  • Varsity girls pose with confidence entering their last race of the season.

  • Each male runner wore matching banana shorts and sunglasses to cap off their 2022 journey.

  • Junior Anthony Fotso (left) advancing through the Apalachee state course.

  • All-time Gables record holder for the 5000 meters race senior Isabella Morales chases her opponent with persistence.

  • Senior Robert Weckel (left) nearing the second portion of the race.

  • Junior Veronica Montalvo (leftmost) paces with seniors Adriana Torras (middle) and Audrey Simon (rightmost) at the FHSAA 4A race.

  • The varsity girls team huddles around their joyful seniors.

  • Sophomore Priscilla Scullin cheers on freshman Luis Rodriguez as he makes the dash to the finish line.

  • Coach Fotso gives an emotional goodbye to senior Isabella Morales at her last race.

  • Coach Nelson and Coach Fotso proudly stand by their Class of 2023 seniors.