Destin runners lead the pack in cross country meet

Tina Harbuck | 315-4466 | @DestinLogTina |
Destin's Kambry Smith was first overall in a cross country meet at Destin Middle School on Wednesday. She completed the two-mile event in 12:40. TINA HARBUCK/THE LOG

Once again, the Destin Marlins led the pack in cross country with both the boys and girls team taking first place honors in a middle school meet with Liza Jackson, Davidson and Bruner.

“I think both teams did very well,” said Destin Coach Demetrius Stevens. “This was one of our best team performances this season. We’ve had better team scores, but we had a good result against strong competition, which strengthens the team’s confidence.”

The Destin boys were led by Austin Paugh, 11:48, and Theo Cross, 11:56, who were first and second overall, followed by Michael O’Leary, 12:18, who finished fourth overall. Destin’s Jake Purvis came in at 12:29, and Dalton Williams, 12:55.

Destin edged out Liza Jackson by five points, despite missing varsity runners Luke Bilger, who suffered an unexpected asthma attack early in the race, and Carson Hickok who was out with an injury.

“The boys again impressed me,” Stevens said. “With one of our top runners sitting out resting an injury, we knew we needed to run well to maintain momentum.”

And when the top runners noticed that Bilger went down 600 meters into the race, the number two and three runners stepped it up.

“That shows a high level of race savvy and leadership,” Stevens said.

As for the girls, Destin was again led by Kambry Smith, who finished the two-mile run in at 12:40. Joey Shonk of Liza Jackson followed behind Smith at 13:02, barely edging out Destin’s Sophie Kellogg who finished at 13:03.

Destin’s Sara Crews finished fifth overall at 13:54.

“The girls continued their roll and look strong going into next weeks county championships,” Stevens said.

The county championships are scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Oct. 19. Place to be announced.