Marlins finish strong in cross country meet

Tina Harbuck
With no one in sight, Destin's Cason Larocque was the first to cross the finish line in the middle school cross country meet on Wednesday at Destin Middle School. He finished with a time of 11:35, a personal record. [TINA HARBUCK/THE LOG]

Out of three schools participating, the Destin Marlins finished second in a cross country event at Destin Middle School Wednesday afternoon.

The Liza Jackson Lions took first in both boys and girls, while Destin came in second. St. Mary’s came in third.

“We faced some stiff competition from Liza Jackson. So I’m really happy the way they stepped up,” said Destin Coach Demetris Stevens. “We also had a lot of people who came out and PR’d today. We had some fast times since this is our home course. I wasn’t disappointed with the outcome."

One of the Marlins setting a personal record was Cason Larocque, who finished first for the Marlins and first overall with a mark of 11:35.

“It was fun out there … those Liza kids like to push,” Larocque said.

In the first half-mile of the race, the pack was tight. But then Larocque made a move.

“At the mile mark, (a Liza Jackson runner) started to slow down, so I passed him and just kept pushing it through the whole race,” he said, making his best mark of the season.

Finishing second for Destin and eighth overall was Connor Rising with a finish of 12:36. Third for the Marlins and 11th overall was Dominic Witt at 13:10. Fourth was Andrew Atkins at 13:17, 12th overall; and Eli Scharf, fifth, at 13:23 and 13th overall.

The Destin boys finished with 45 points. Liza Jackson came with 20 points and five runners in the top six. St. Mary’s scored 95.

In the girl’s competition, Liza Jackson won with 20 points, while Destin came in second with 39 points. St. Mary’s scored 105.

Tops for the Destin girls and setting a personal record was MJ Toth with a mark of 14:25. Toth finished third overall.

Toth was pleased with her time and said it was good a good run.

Second for Destin and sixth overall was Kaeden Stilla with a finish of 14:48. Chloe Lambrou came in third and seventh overall, 15:09. Lilly Scalise was fourth for the Marlins and ninth overall at 15:25; and Marianna Gunter, was fifth and 14th overall at 15:58.

“We’ve got a couple of weeks left in the season and I’m really looking forward to seeing how we end up at county,” Stevens said.

Up next for the Marlins is a 4:30 p.m. race in Crestview next Wednesday.