The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School

CavsConnect

The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School

CavsConnect

The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School

CavsConnect

They’ve Done it: Gables Cross Country Reaches the End

Both the boys and girls squad has been chasing states since July. It was a dream that became a reality.
The+boys+cross+country+team+poses+with+Coach+Michel+Fotso+to+one+day+remember+the+success+of+the+2023+season.+
Lucia Ruiz
The boys cross country team poses with Coach Michel Fotso to one day remember the success of the 2023 season.

The Coral Gables Senior High School cross country team has finally made it to their end destination: the Florida High School Athletic Association State Finals. Huddling up in Apalachee Regional Park, preparing for their final race of the season, the Cavaliers were ready to bring their best against teams from across the state.

On Nov. 17, both the girls and boys team waited at their starting line at 7:20 a.m. and 8:10 a.m. respectively. After enduring a whole season full of record-breaking heat, injuries and losses, they  wanted to leave their mark all the way through the final run.

These runners started practicing on July 31. Some hard-working athletes had been training throughout the summer, anxiously for their opportunity to return to states. After four months of practicing six days a week, alas, the cross country was ready for the state finals.

“I think the team has changed from year to year, and I’m aways happy to see how they get to the end at states and how they come together to perform. I would say there’s no question that this is the hardest working team ever for both boys and girls. The preparation they did throughout the year was just amazing,” Coach Nelson said.

The girls cross country pose the day before the race in their matching outfits. (Avril Donner)

Previously, the team raced at the FHSAA  4A Regional 4 race on Nov. 8, the right of passage to states. Every team awaited their results, hoping to be among the top eight teams so they could advance to the state finals. After discovering that the girls placed fourth and the boys placed fifth, Gables was moving on to  Tallahassee, Fl.  

On Nov. 16, Gables met at 5:30 a.m. in front of the school, awaiting their eight hour car ride to the state capital. They were scheduled to arrive to Apalachee Regional Park around 2:00 p.m. for a pre-race jog.

Admiring the view, the Cavaliers who were unfamiliar with the course were stunned by the clean-cut grass and oak tress in the vicinity that comprised the course. However, these runners examined the hills, especially the infamous “Wall ” that lied on the course.

“The atmosphere was unbelievable, because you have a lot of the best teams in Florida, and you can tell they’re all there to win it. It’s a really serious meet, and it’s unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced,” sophomore Adrian Perez said.

After a brief practice, the teams checked in to the Red Roof Inn where they spent the night. Munching on a pasta dinner together, the boys and girls connected with each other before the big race.

Savoring all the moments leading up to the race, Gables was about to fulfill their dream. Reminded by their coaches to enjoy the beautiful course, they sped into the distance.

“States was really fun especially the drive and the hotel, but it was also stressful. I had high expectations and goals for myself and I know other people shared those expectations from me too,and I felt a lot of pressure from that,” sophomore Avril Donner said.

Seniors Anthony Roles-Fotso and Catalina Quinteros hug Coach Nelson and Fotso. Nov. 17 marked their last high school cross country race ever. (Yara Korse)

The gun sounded and the girls team started as the boys team cheered them on. Placing 29th place out of 32 teams, Gables posted an average time of 22 minutes and 35 seconds, as four girls hit their personal records.

While the girls team raced, the boys warmed up and watched two other races before theirs. By running strides and stretching, they released their nerves. Both coaches conveyed their message to the Gables boys, telling them to enjoy their race and to show the other teams how much they has earned this right.

“I think cross country has made me realize how every little thing can benefit you. It’s taught me the morals of discipline and positive attitude. The team is a huge family and being a part of it is so meaningful and going through the same challenges with the other girls feels really supportive,” senior Catalina Quinteros said.

The boys waited for the gun and at 8:10 a.m. their race commenced. The girls team shouted their way after finishing their own race. The boys finished at an impressive 16th place out of 32 teams, with an average time of 16 minutes and 57 seconds. Four of the boys also broke their personal record.

The girls pose in their matching state hoodies after their race. (Lucia Ruiz)

Post-race, the runners let go of a few tears as seniors Catalina Quinteros and Anthony Roles-Fotso were celebrated for their last cross country race ever. The seniors each hugged it out.

This was a huge milestone for Gables as it would be the second time both boys and girls go to states in Gables’ cross country history, the first time being the 2022 season. Most of the runners anticipate the track season but the 2023 cross country season will be one to remember.

About the Contributors
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.
Avril Donner, CavsConnect Staff Writer
Avril Donner, a freshman in the International Baccalaureate program, is pumped to start her first year in CavsConnect as a staff writer. She strives to be a student athlete involved in many sports while maintaining a 4.0 grade point average. She plans to stay involved by joining the National Honor Society, International Baccalaureate Honor Society, student council and Gables Earth. As for athletics, Avril’s goal is to make the varsity girls cross country team, the girls soccer team and the girls track team. While she is not studying vigorously or running around, Avril has the unique responsibility of exercising and training her horse, Forrest. She spends countless hours and entire weekends at the barn riding, preparing for competitions, and taking care of her horse. Some other things she loves are math, grapes and definitely chocolate.
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