Destin overcomes adversity for cross-country win

Tina Harbuck

Neither hot weather, nor sick stomachs, lost athletes or rolled ankles could stop the Destin Marlins this week.

For the second meet in a row, both the Destin girls' and boys' cross country teams have won on the trail. Destin Middle School teams finished in front of Shoal River and Pryor in Crestview on Wednesday.

“This was one of our toughest meets, weather and course wise,” said Destin Coach Tina Barron. “Our athletes managed to remain competitive and close the necessary gaps to win, despite hilly terrain and high humidity. Goal times were compromised as a result of the conditions, but the team ran hard and pulled together for the win.”

Destin’s Nia Madrigal and Sara Crews pushed to the front after Sophie Kellogg got lost on the course.

Nevertheless, Kellogg managed to finish in the Marlins' top five.

Making the top five for Destin were Madrigal at 13:43; Emily Kellogg, 14:00; Crews, 14:23; Sophie Kellogg, 14:30; and Kida Bailey, 14:44.

As for the boys, Michael O’Leary came in first overall with a mark of 11:59. Second in for Destin was Luke Bilger at 12:33. Others rounding out the top five for the Marlins were Carson Larocque, 12:44; Reed Phillips, 13:16; and Mason Brundidge, 13:29. LJ Figueroa misstepped and rolled his ankle during the race.

“Caleb Reeder and Tobias Thompson sprinted following LJ Figueroa’s unexpected setback in the woods,” Barron said. “The last few weeks have really demonstrated the team’s commitment to each other and our program. I am extremely proud to coach these athletes and watch them grow each season and look forward to an exciting county meet on Tuesday.”

The Marlins will compete in the Okaloosa County Cross Country Championships at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday at Northwest Florida State College in Niceville.