After finishing in second place by one point in the Race of Champions last year, the Estero High girls cross country team went into this year’s FLrunners.com Invitational with high expectations.
When the dust cleared, the Wildcats certainly didn’t disappoint.
The Estero girls won the event with a total score of 70 points, besting Miami-Ferguson (99) and last year’s winner, Lakewood Ranch (113).
Kacy Smith led the Wildcats with a sixth-place finish and a time of 18:09. Also scoring for Estero were Katy Solis (9th, 18:26), Bethany Jenkins (12th, 18:47), Maria Frank (22nd, 19:13) and Aja Curth (38th, 19:51).
The Naples High boys finished eighth in the boys Race of Champions, led by Buddy Gates’ eighth-place finish in 15:40. Ester, led by Aaron Rojas’ fourth-place finish in 15:31, were ninth in the team standings, three spots ahead of Leonel Delacruz (37th, 16:31) and the Immokalee boys team (11th place).
Palmetto Ridge’s Carlos Miranda crossed the finish line third in 15:22, while teammate Joshua Pelletier was 22nd in 16:10.
Naples also placed third in the girls invitational division, led by Hannah Klopf (19th, 20:10) and Courtney Hogrefe (20th, 20:14). Immokalee’s girls finished in 13th place, and were led by Marlene Ramirez (23rd, 20:21). Katie Denti (57th, 21:30). Barron Collier girls placed 24th.