Marlins take first in cross country

Tina Harbuck

Both the Destin Middle School girls and boys cross country teams won in a meet on Wednesday at Lewis Middle School in Valparaiso.

The Destin girls had a near perfect score of 16, while the Destin Marlin boys won with a score of 20. Other teams participating were Lewis, Baker and Freeport.

“Our runners had an exceptional meet,” said Destin Coach Tina Barron. “Their stamina and pacing have improved since the beginning of the season, and their ability to run as a pack truly gelled, which was exciting to see.

“We have a younger team this year, but the athletes have worked incredibly hard to make gains and personal records each week,” she added.

Destin runners Sophie Kellogg and Cason Larocque once again led their teammates, coming in first and second overall in their respective races.

Kellogg completed the two-mile course at Lewis in 13:12, while Larocque finished in 12:17.

Lewis’ Kaeden Levings ran a superb race, edging out Cason in 11:15, Barron said.

Levings previously came in just behind former Marlin Michael O'Leary during both the 2017-18 cross country and track seasons, and is the No. 1 seed in Okaloosa County this year.

Additional female standout performances for the Destin Marlins were turned in by Sara Crews, Emily Kellogg, MJ Toth, Chloe Lambrou, and Caroline Stanford. Also, newcomers Addie Smith and Kaeden Stilla, along with alum Amelia Kline, finished in the top 10.

Twins Andrey and Alex Lukin continue to earn points for the boys, followed by Dominic Witt, Daniil Baturyn, Nelson Burke, Caleb Reeder, and Alex Ruiz.

“Most of our athletes set personal records at Lewis, and their commitment to improving as a team is what earned their victories,” Barron said. “We are excited to see how the season ends, and how well we run at the County Championship.”

Up next for Destin is a 4 p.m. meet on Oct.10 at home. They will host Liza Jackson, Meigs and Ruckel middle schools.