The Estero cross country programs dominated at the District 3A-12 championship at Palmetto Ridge High School on Thursday, generating two first-place finishes and a record breaking performance from senior Arye Beck.
Beck blazed through the newly redesigned course in 15:44.90, which set a new course record and also was his first foray under the 16 minute mark. It gave him the fifth fastest time in Class 3A, too.
Plus, it was his second straight win at districts, and his third win of his career following a victory at the LCAC championships.
Estero teammate Hugh Brittenham was second in 16:30.18, Naples senior Austin Peel finished third at 16:44.76 and Estero’s Evan Williams (16:48.82) and Matthew Ellard (16:49.83) were the next to follow. The Wildcats fifth runner, Dean Gamblin, scored the team’s final points in 16th place and finished in 17:15.
“I came in this race telling myself that I need to win this,” Beck said. “Not necessarily that I’m going to win this, but I need to.”
Beck broke Lely runner Josh Wagner’s course record of 16:09.30 from last week’s Collier County Athletic Conference championship.
“After seeing Josh Wagner’s finish last week, I knew I go under 16 here,” Beck said, “I just needed to push extra hard. I felt like this year I was able to push harder and run faster.”
The Estero boys claimed the District 3A-12 championship while the girls finished second despite two top 5 finishes.
Estero junior Alayna Goll took home first place, clocking a 19:32.96, which was just five seconds short of her personal record. The win was also her first in a varsity race.
“It’s super exciting,” Goll said. “It’s kind of shocking, cause I’ve never won before, but I’m just really excited and glad that I was able to finish first.”
The Naples girls finished with five runners in the top 15, including Kelsey Mahoney (20:15.59) in fourth and Zoe Dantonio (20:21.32) in fifth, to earn the District 3A-12 title with 31 points.
Naples freshman Jillian Dempsey, who won the CCAC championship in 19:29.13 on the same course, finished second on Thursday in 19:46.09.
“I was hoping to do better at this race,” said Dempsey, who commented that she has struggled with knots in her legs since last week’s CCAC race. “But I’m looking forward to doing well in regionals. It’s a really tough course so I’m hoping to stay under 21.”
The East Lee County girls finished seventh with 201 points and top runner Alexis Simpson was 34th overall with a time of 24:42.39. The East Lee boys also finished seventh, with Gustavo Sandoval finishing up front in 30th place with a time of 18:17.93.
Estero, Naples, Gulf Coast, and Barron Collier qualified for the Region 3A-3 championship next week at Estero Community Park.
District 3A-12 cross country championships
at Palmetto Ridge
Estero 28, Naples 41, Gulf Coast 76, Barron Collier 115, Palmetto Ridge 144, Golden Gate 174, East Lee County 200.
1. Ayre Beck (Est), 15:44.90; 2. Hugh Brittenham (Est), 16:30.18; 3. Austin Peel (N), 16:44.76; 4. Evan Williams (Est), 16:48.82; 5. Matthew Ellard (Est), 16:49.83; 6. Jordan Russo (BC), 16:50.27; 7. Brady Gibson (N), 16:52.08; 8. Christopher Davis (N), 16:53.10; 9. Cooper Back (GC), 16:55.92; 10. Jack Matute (PR), 17:01.25.
Naples 31, Estero 53, Gulf Coast 84, Palmetto Ridge 91, Barron Collier 106, Golden Gate 166, East Lee County 201.
1. Alayna Goll (Est), 19:32.96; 2. Jillian Dempsey (N), 19:46.09; 3. Megan Giovanniello (Est), 20:03.07; 4. Kelsey Mahoney (N), 20:15.59; 5. Zoe Dantonio (N), 20:21.32; 6. Adrian Pascotto (BC), 20:34.99; 7. Monet Burkett (PR), 20:37.71; 8. Sarina Francis (GC), 21:00.51; 9. Rebecca Shakour (N), 21:06.30; 10. Sophia Richardt (BC), 21:08.87.