The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


Cross Country Attends their Season Opener at MAST Academy

Linus Boettcher
Sophomore Avril Donner opens her stride as she finishes the last stretch of the race. She placed first in the race, leading the rest of her team.

Until the suffering begins, runners visualize their times with an anxious mind. The starting gun cracks; nerves are released only to be replaced by heaving breathing and long strides. Enduring their pre-season training with the recent extreme heat in Miami, the Coral Gables Senior High cross country team triumphed in their first meet of the season.

The will to win is precisely what drives this year’s team. On Aug. 31, Gables met with Miami Senior High School and Maritime and Science Technology Academy’s varsity runners to kick of the 2023-2024 season on the MAST Academy course. 

Rotating between long distance runs and speed workouts, Gables cross country practiced six days a week leading up to their opening race. The balance of training was designed for athletes to avoid unwanted consequences such as injuries and fatigue.

The girls cross country team relaxes and let go of their nerves after they had finished their season opening race. (Linus Boettcher)

“As I see it, speed workouts are some of the hardest practices, but also one of the most important. It’s really important to build speed and in order to do that you need to work hard for it. My take on practice overall is that it’s fun. I like to push myself and it is a great way to get to bond with the team,” junior Lauren Hernandez said.

At their debut meet, the cross country team ran a 5 kilometer race, pushing themselves to quality times.

The team of eight girls and 10 boys left the school at 12:30 p.m., dressed in crimson tees and bottoms, what they had received the day before. Arriving closer to 1:00 p.m., the sentiment was anxious and focused. Prior to warm up drills, each runner was given a debrief on the course and obstacles to expect.

While the temperature in Key Biscayne reached 96.8 degrees Fahrenheit, the girls set their personal goals for the race of the day. At 2:30 p.m., the clock started and runners took off; Gables runners led the pack with a strong pace.

Exhausted through the first, second and third mile, the first seven girls were all Cavaliers.  Leading the way, sophomore Avril Donner ended with a time of 21 minutes and 15 seconds. Close behind, senior and captain Catalina Quinteros achieved a time of 22 minutes and 30 seconds.

“Even though the meet wasn’t as competitive as other meets, it gave us a wake up call that we were going to have a strong start and that all our efforts are just starting to be seen. I am very excited to see where the team is going to be at in the next couple of weeks and I am expecting a noticeable change,” senior Catalina Quinteros said.

Following their teammates, the boys varsity race was scheduled at 3 p.m. Gables warmed up and faced the brutal sun like the girls. Before accelerating into action, they gave each other fist bumps, excited for their first race.

The first pack was led by senior and captain Anthony Roles Fotso. Trailing their leader, each Gables runner maintained a fixed pace throughout the course. The Cavaliers started off focused and comfortable but experiencing 5 kilometers of heat and sudden rain, they finished exhausted and soaked. Before lightning struck and the meet ended, the boys stretched in gusts of rain to kick off their season.

“I thought it was a great meet, it was designed to make sure we could plan it out, more logistical. I think the results were absolutely amazing and I’m very impressed with both the boys and the girls team,” Coach Nelson said.

“My hopes for the team this year is that we can be able to push each other to the point where we all end up superior than ourselves. The main goal is to make it to States in Tallahassee for the third consecutive year. I know that this team has talent, dedication and a lot of discipline,” senior Quinteros said.

Gables diligently works in their weekly practices and stamina testing workouts. Planning for a successful year, the cross country team intends to return to States with their matching chicken legs shorts and show off their Cavalier pride once more.

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About the Contributor
Yara Korse
Yara Korse, CavsConnect Staff Writer
Yara Korse is trying her best to cruise through her second year of high school in the International Baccalaureate program. Even with all the activities she does in school, she still finds a way to keep up her 4.0 Grade Point Average. She is part of the cross country, track and field and tennis team. She is part of a few clubs in school including the International Baccalaureate Honor Society and Gables Wellness. Her solution to getting through high school is to listen to music whenever she can. She also loves to read fiction books; her favorite book series is "Percy Jackson". She wants to leave Florida when she gets out of high school and live in the Netherlands at one point in her life. When she is not drowning in the large amount of work that her amazing school gives to her, she is doing puzzles or annoying her little brother.
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