Destin Marlins place second on the trail

Tina Harbuck

Although a Destin Marlin was the first to cross the finish line in both the girls' and boys' competitions, the Marlins as a team placed second overall in a middle school cross country meet Wednesday afternoon in Destin.

The Destin girls' team came in second with 38 points, behind Ruckel of Niceville who finished with 26 points. In the boy’s competition, Ruckel again took top honors with 25 points, while Destin came in second at 44.

The Davidson Panthers of Crestview finished third in both events.

“Considering two of our top seven girls (Sophie and Emily Kellogg) were absent from the meet, another two were fighting illness (Abigail Kline and Kida Bailey), I think our teams performed remarkably well,” said Destin Coach Tina Barron. “We lost by a narrow margin and most of our boys and girls met or surpassed their designated goal times.”

One of those runners surpassing her goal was Nia Madrigal, who was first across the line in the girls' competition with a time of 13:38.

“Nia Madrigal had an exceptional meet, with an impressive finish and a personal record,” Barron said.

Second in for Destin was Sara Crews at 13:59, and third was Abigail Kline at 14:09. The fourth Destin girl was Katie Gilbert at 14:45 and Amelia Kline finished in fifth at 14:51.

In the boys' competition, Destin’s Michael O’Leary and Luke Bilger ran neck and neck until the last 50 or 60 yards when O’Leary kicked it in to finish in first place overall with a mark of 12:04. Bilger came in second overall at 12:14.

Third in for the Destin boys was Jack Purvis at 13:13, while Mason Brundidge was fourth in for Destin at 13:14, and LJ Figueroa fifth at 13:31.

“Ruckel came poised with their A game, and ran very consistently despite the heat and humidity,” Barron said. “We definitely have some work to do, but I feel confident our athletes will continue pushing themselves to improve. I am proud of our athletes for meeting their goals, and excited to see our teams progress as the season moves forward.”

Up next for Destin is a 4 p.m. meet on Wednesday at Bruner Middle School in Fort Walton Beach. Destin will compete against Bruner and Liza Jackson.