MARATHON — Just making the 1A FHSAA State finals was not enough for the Marathon High School cross country teams; they wanted to compete, and that they did.
The Dolphin boys placed 12th overall and the Lady Fins 13th, while Jonathan Pitchford became Monroe County’s first three-time state medalist by running to a six-place finish at the Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee.
The Marathon boys total team time was just nine minutes behind state champion Seffner Christian as the Dolphins averaged 18 minutes and 25 seconds as a team across the 5K course,.
The team was led by Pitchford, who crossed the finish line after 16 minutes and 21 seconds for a sixth-place medal, while the state title was claimed by Oak Hall’s Austin Montini, who raced to a 15:48.
Also on the course for Marathon, Owen Pitchford, Jonathan’s twin brother, placed in 51st in 17:44, Pedro Zapada was 77 in 18:36, Jose Escobar took 91st in 18:37 and Mason Buxton was 93rd out of 117 runners.
The Lady Fins were also led by their senior twins, as Sarah Paskeiwicz was 68th in 22:43 and sister Alison Paskiewicz was 80th in 23:17. Rain Banks crossed in 84th, Mikkel Ross in 91st, Hailey Buxton in 96th, Riley McDonald in 110th and Hannah Davis in 112th out of 119.
While the Dolphins did not win any titles, after claiming hardware at the regional and districts meets, they were ranked in the final standings — only 15 of the 30 teams in attendance had that honor.