Destin Marlin boys finish first on the trail, girls second

Tina Harbuck | 315-4466 | @DestinLogTina |
Destin Coach Tina Barron circles up the team before hitting the trail in the two-mile cross country event on Tuesday. The Destin girls finished second in the county behind Ruckel Middle School at first. SPECIAL TO THE LOG

Out of nine schools participating, the Destin Marlin boys took top honors while the girls placed second in the Okaloosa County Middle School Cross Country Championships at Northwest Florida State College in Niceville Tuesday.

“Our runners finished strong and solid despite unexpected injuries, illness, status and seed changes,” said Destin Coach Tina Barron.

Coach Demetrius Stevens agreed, noting the teamwork of the athletes.

"Everyone stepped up doing what had to be done for an awesome team win," Stevens said. "They showed the depth of their team spirit and size of their collective heart finishing first on a difficult, hot course at Northwest Florida State College.

“Our boys have truly epitomized the definition of teamwork this year, rotating positions and closing unforeseen gaps as they occurred,” he added.

In the two-mile cross country event Tuesday, the Destin boys team defended their county title from last year with a score of 38, followed by Ruckel Middle of Niceville with a score of 44. Liza Jackson Preparatory of Fort Walton Beach placed third with 76 points.

First in for the Destin boys, who finished the season undefeated, and second overall was Theo Cross with a mark of 12:33. Luke Bilger was second for Destin and fourth overall at 12:48. Third for the Marlins and sixth overall was Michael O’Leary at 13:04.

Other top finishers for Destin were Carson Hickok at 13:14, seventh overall; Dalton Williams, 13:52; 19th; Mason Brundidge, 14:01, 22nd; and Jake Purvis, 14:08, 24th.

As for the Destin girls team, they placed second with a score of 60, behind first place finishers Ruckel of Niceville with 34 points. Liza Jackson came in third with 81 points.

First in for Destin and second overall was Kambry Smith at 13:58. Sophie Kellogg was second for the Marlins and fifth overall at 14:18, while Sara Crews was the third Marlin in at 14:53 and 10th overall.

Other top finishers for the Lady Marlins were Kida Bailey, 15:19, 18th overall; Carsey Phillips, 15:46, 25th; Emily Kellogg, 15:48, 26th; and Abigail Kline, 16:08, 29th.

“Both the boys and girls team progressed well throughout the season, and the unity and commitment they demonstrated was exceptional,” Barron said.

“I’m extremely proud of our teams, particularly since this is the first year of cross country for more than half of our runners. Our girls and boys will only continue to grow and progress in seasons to come," she added.