By Tamas Mondovics

Hundreds of runners including several local talents gathered earlier this month at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee for this year’s cross country state championships all ready to measure up their strength in the 5K race.
Of course, at each race and in each class, there can only be one winner. On the girl’s side this year’s 4A state crown went to Riverview High School sophomore Baile Hertenstein, with a time of 17:32.55, nearly 24 seconds ahead of second place winner Kayley Delay of Duncan U. Fletcher High from Neptune Beach.

Coming into the race, Hertenstein had high expectations with no doubt about finishing on the top as she led the roster winning both district and regional titles. The state crown also helped the young runner to put last year’s disappointing 15th place state run behind her, while looking forward to only getting stronger.

“I felt good today and I am much more confident,” she said following her district win two week’s prior. “I am going to walk away with a medal at state this year for sure.”

Going into the event on the boys side Newsome, Bloomingdale and Plant City all had great prospects and, while as a team, Durant fell short of placing in the top three at districts the school’s individual program had high hopes for one of the best runners in the state; Haftom Fliegelman, who has finished with 16:45.07, and a 45 second lead ahead of Newsome’s junior Cody Caskey.

Ready for state, Fliegelman pushed hard and finished fourth with a 15:54.17. The title went to Sarasota High School senior Adam Bradtmueller with 15:44:83.

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