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North cross-country steps up the pace
November 1, 2017

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Kayla Easterly may have moved on, but the North Fort Myers High School girls track team has done a good job of competing nonetheless.

At last week's District 3A-11 cross-country meet at Veterans Park in Lehigh Acres, the Red Knights placed fourth to advance to this week's regional meet in Estero, for the first time in three years

Christine Castillo, girls head coach, said the team has improved every race, making for a good year.

"Luckily, we had no injuries and our top two took off half a minute in this race alone, so we're looking forward to regionals, and we're really excited," Castillo said. "We lost Kayla, but we ended up with the stronger top five."

While Kayla was usually running in regionals and states alone, this group has been much more consistent and has grouped well as a way to push each other.

That is led by Kayla's younger sister, Ashley, who finished 19th, one spot behind teammate Makenzi Walden, with a time of 22:11.24. Not bad for two girls running cross-country for the first time.

About three minutes behind them were Erica Ducharm, Genesis Rapalo and Mikala Carter, who finished 43rd through 45th respectively. Madison Dominguez and Jasmin Teran were less than a minute behind, with Lu-Huynh Kristalr, Christine Schultz and Michele Cohen, lower runners who usually run JV, also putting up good showings.

"The course was easy, but the hill made it tough on the legs and the backstretch was difficult with the rocks," Walden said. "We had five personal bests today and I think that's why we advanced."

Castillo said the hurricane was a blow to the team, as it was to many. They weren't able to practice, but they may have been able to find some positives out of it.

"It gave some of our kids a forced rest, so they came back stronger and more determined to get back into it," Castillo said.

It was not such a great day for the boys, who finished 11th out of 12 teams and did not make regionals. Garrett Palow was the top Red Knight finisher in 49th place with a time of 20:29.27.

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