Recapping the success of the cross country season


Dave Tibbetts

Robert “Joe” Bellamy completes his final stretch of the course in the FHSAA 4A District 2 meet.

With the leadership of Coach Joe Hazera and captains Jonah Fredell, Robert “Joe” Bellamy, Maya Cabal, and Hannah Adamson, the Oviedo Lions’ cross country squad ran like never before.

To begin the year, the Lions traveled to Lakeland to compete in the Jim Ryun FCA Invitational. Excellence was expected as Oviedo was one of two teams in the event with at least five returning runners with a 21-minute or lower 5K run last year. There, the team dominated with the varsity boys and girls, as well as the JV boys finishing first overall.

At the Astronaut Invitational in Titusville, the varsity boys finished eighth, varsity girls seventh, and the JV boys finished fourth.

At the Hagerty Invitational, the Lions entered enemy territory to take on their rivals, Hagerty High, along with many other schools in the Central Florida area. Varsity and the JV boys all finished in the top 3 (G – second, third, and first respectively). The JV girls finished sixth. 

At the Rockledge Raider Cross Country Classic, the varsity boys (third) and girls (fourth) and JV boys (second) had top finishes yet again.

Next, the team competed at the FSU Cross Country Invitational in Tallahassee where amongst the best of the best in the region, the varsity boys and girls placed in the top 25 (ranks 25 and 20). Marc McDonald got the fastest time out of the Lions with a 16:21.4 (69 overall) in the 5K Elite event.

At the HOKA Invitational 23, Yaniel Petrovich (18:30.4 – eleventh) led the Oviedo varsity boys to fourth place in the 5K invitational event.

Up next was the postseason. At the FHSAA 4A District 2 Playoffs, the varsity squad shined with Marc McDonald and Maya Cabal leading the way. Both boys and girls finished in the top seven and advanced to the 4A Regional event in Gainesville. It was there that both teams placed in seventh overall and punched their ticket to the state competition.

At the state championship, girls’ varsity finished 13th while the boys finished 24th overall, capping an incredible year for cross country.