On the same course two weeks ago the Key West and Marathon High boys cross country teams swept the podium at Monsignor Pace in Miami Gardens. In the regular-season finale on Tuesday, it was nearly a similar finish as the Dolphins’ Jonathan and Owen Pitchford raced to the top two spots, but missing was the Conchs No. 1 runner Thor Eriksson, due to an illness, leaving the Monroe County just shy of a second consecutive sweep.

Instead, it would be a Monsignor Pace harrier that completed the podium, while Marathon’s Pedro Zapata was fourth overall, in a time of 18 minutes and 19 seconds. The Pitchfords turned in a 16:45 and 17:47 and Mason Buxton a 20:28, good for 15th overall, but Marathon was missing one of their starters which left them edged out on depth to Doctors Charter, 46-53.

The Lady ’Fins were also the runner ups of the day, holding off Mater Academy, 80-93, while Immaculata-LaSalle ran away to the victory, scoring a 31. Rain Banks turned in the top time for Marathon, with a 24:12.66, less than a tenth of a second in front of Key West’s Isabella Deras Lopez, 24:12.71, crossing the finish line in 11th and 12th overall.

Sarah Paskiewicz was the next to complete the 5K in 24:23 while Lady ’Fins classmate and twin sister Allison Paskiewicz was 18th overall at 25:27. Riley McDonald (25:47) and Katerina Nikiforova (26:15) completed the scoring five for Marathon.

Key West was also without Catarina Cassidy, its No. 1 runner from a year ago, due to an injury, along with two other seniors, still, a majority of the Conchs were able to improve by a minute or more. The biggest mover was Key West freshman Dylan Demeza, setting his own personal record by two minutes and 38 seconds.

It was the final tune-up for the county teams, as next Tuesday Marathon will compete in the District 16-1A Finals, which will be held at Palmer Trinity, and Key West will follow the next day in the District 16-2A finals, at Larry and Penny Thompson Park in Miami. Typically the Conchs and Dolphins race several times on those courses, but this year have not due to the coronavirus crisis truncating the season.

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