TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (October 25, 2019) - Pasco-Hernando State College claimed its fourth straight NJCAA Region 8/FCSAA State Championship in women's cross country while Seminole State College's men hoisted the championship trophy for the first time at Friday's championship event, held at Apalachee Regional Park.
An event that didn't exist four years ago showed even more growth on Friday. With first-time runners from Pensacola State College (women) and Lake-Sumter State College (men and women), Friday's championship boasted 122 runners compared to 2016's inaugural run which featured four women's teams and a total of 31 participants.
A familiar script played out on Friday, as Pasco-Hernando State College won its fourth straight state championships. The Bobcats are still the only school to claim the women's title since the event first ran in 2016. And for the third time in four years, Pasco-Hernando State took home the top individual honors as well.
Sophomore Olivia D'Angelo won her second straight state championship, finishing in 19:52.9. Teammate Isabel Oliveto was second in 20:11.8. Behind the duo, the Bobcats tallied 35 points in team scoring, comfortably ahead of second-place Daytona State College (50 points) and third-place Seminole State College (66 points). Florida State College at Jacksonville, Tallahassee Community College, Florida Gateway College and Chipola College finished fourth through seventh, to complete team scoring.
South Florida State College, Pensacola State College and Lake-Sumter State College participated but did not have a team score.
By finishing first, D'Angelo was named FCSAA Female Runner of the Year and headlined the all-state team, comprised of the top five finishers. She was joined by Oliveto, Tallahassee's Genevieve Printiss, Daytona State's Hannah Offenback and Seminole State's Sylvia Jelimo.
Pasco-Hernando State's Jacki Wachtel was named NJCAA Region 8/FCSAA State Coach of the Year.
Seminole State runners finished 1-2-3 to lead the Raiders to the men's state championship. Yassin Raffay (27:21.4) and Hillary Kandie (27:39.5) were first and second, respectively, after finishing in the reverse order in the 2018 event. Teammate Canaan St. Lewis (27:44.4) was third. The Raiders had two other runners finish in the top 12 - Marchkoz Arias (8th) and James Sellers (12th) - for a team score of 26 points.
Lake-Sumter State was next with 44 points, led by William Troupe and Alexander Croy, who finished fourth and fifth, respectively. Defending state champion Daytona State was third with 68 points. Florida State College at Jacksonville and Tallahassee rounded out the team scoring.
Raffay as named FCSAA Male Runner of the Year and was joined on the all-state team by Kandie, St. Lewis, Troupe and Croy.
Seminole State's Ocky Clarke was named NJCAA Region 8/FCSAA State Coach of the Year.
The championship season continues with the NJCAA Cross Country Championships in Albuquerque, N.M., on November 9 and the NJCAA Half Marathon in El Paso, Texas, on November 23.