• Palatka’s Peyton Snyder finished ninth Tuesday at the District 5-2A meet to advance to next week's Region 2-2A meet at Winter Park Trinity Prep. (CHRIS DeVITTO / Palatka Daily News)

District cross country: IHS girls finish third

The last time the Interlachen High School girls cross country team had this kind of feeling was 13 years ago when senior Talisa Bishop was skip-running back to her teammates after looking at a computer printout that was in head coach Dwayne Cox’s hands to let her teammates know they had qualified for the regional meet by finishing fifth at Whispering Pines Park in Inverness.

“That’s why I got into coaching,” said Cox on that late October afternoon in 2003, just 10 months before his sudden passing. “To see that kind of reaction from kids after doing something good.”

For the first time since that day in 2003, the Interlachen High girls cross country advanced to the regional meet by taking third at the District 5-2A meet held at the Oaks Equestrian Horse Park in Lake City on Tuesday.

It was a good day for not only Interlachen’s girls team, but for individuals as well. Palatka’s Peyton Snyder and Ethan Mills, first and second at least week’s All-Putnam County championship race, qualified for the Region 2-2A meet at Winter Park Trinity Prep on Oct. 29 by placing ninth and 11th, respectively. Interlachen’s Kolby Fleming finished 15th to qualify for the region meet.

Also qualifying from Interlachen’s girls team individually was Amanda Quinby, who took 15th in 27:19. Interlachen’s contingent saw Tionna McClain miss out on the region meet individually by placing 16th in 28:49 and teammate Rose Clark take 17th in 29:07. Emily Lunder was 21st in 30:03, followed by Adalia Calero in 23rd in 30:07 and Esmeralda Santiago in 24th in 30:14. Cory Lloyd was 33rd (35:01), Maggie Ricks was 38th (38:12) an Skyler Quinby took 39th (38:16) to round out the Rams’ lineup on the day.

The Ram girls finished with 77 points, third behind dominant Gainesville Eastside (17) and Fort White (65).

Fleming came in 15th in 21:06, while teammates Edwin Sanchez was 18th (21:29), Dustin Higgins was 23rd (22:04), Jonathan Olade was 31st (23:01), Jason Clubb took 37th (24:34), Nico Calero finished 38th (24:47) and Jaden Beck was 40th (25:07). The Rams finished fifth out of six teams with 109 points as Eastside dominated with 21 points.

Snyder was ninth overall in 20:27, while Mills came in behind him in 11th in 20:53.

“Peyton was the one I expected to do well and he did,” said Winston Fletcher, Palatka’s first-year coach and husband of the aforementioned Talisa Bishop. “Ethan was the one I was unsure of. He’s been running pretty good all year, but I wasn’t sure how he would do at the district meet. Eastside had a really good team. There were a lot of good runners. He was in 14th or 15th place after two miles, and he picked up the pace in the last mile to get to 11th.

“The thing we have to do in the next (10) days is to keep the intensity high until the region meet.” Fletcher added. “We’ll probably do a workout (today) and then probably another strong one leading up to the race. We’ll probably have three decent workouts between now and then.”

Palatka’s Blaine Snyder finished 30th on the boys side in 22:44, while girls runner Cameryn Tucker started the race, but did not finish.

Palatka Daily News

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