Cross Country Post-Season// Sophia Bushkell’s fantastic performance
Cross Country Post-Season
By Emily Charles
The district meet for cross-country yielded success for both the boys and the girls Ponte Vedra High School cross-country teams. The boys meet began at 7:30am, with the girls race following at 8:00am. The runners began at 8:45am. Nico Fasanelli, a PVHS junior, claims: “I thoroughly enjoyed the PV course, [due to my] level of familiarity with it.” In terms of the weather, he states: “[The] weather was great—cold and cloudy. I think it helped me.” His performance was exceptional, as well: “Normally you don’t PR (personal record) on the PV course, [since] it’s not considered the easiest of courses [due to] the ground, spacing, and distance.” The PVXC team is on track to compete at the state championship.
In addition to the successful district meet, PVXC girls and boys teams had great performance at the state championship. The PVXC girls varsity team won first in the state—a first for the PVXC program. Ellie Moritz, a star senior runner, finished the race in 19:17 minutes in fifteenth place, achieving All-State Honors. The boys PVXC team finished with the title of being “the best 3A team in our area.” Grant Doherty, a PVHS junior, finished the race in 16:17 minutes in eleventh place, winning All-State Honors and an FHSAA medal. Nico Fasanelli and Vinny Jackson defeated Fleming Island by each running past Fleming Island’s fourth and fifth best runners. The boys PVXC team is once again first in the region.
Sophia Bushkell Journey
By Emma Jabbour
Cover picture: Sophia Bushkell via Joel Woeste
Sofia Bushkell, a freshman at Ponte Vedra High School, has had a breakout cross country season so far, but is by no means done yet. On Oct. 16, 2021, Bushkell competed in the Pre-States race at Florida State University, earning herself the title of the fastest freshman girl in the state of Florida, and sixth fastest girl overall in the state. Her 5K time at Pre-States was 18:27 and her personal record is an 18:17. The regular cross country season is now over and Bushkell has entered postseason, where she will train to compete at states in a few weeks.
She started running cross country in fifth grade at age 10. She was inspired to run by her older sister who was also a runner. Bushkell never expected to be as successful in the sport as she is now, and used to view cross country as an activity done for fun. Although she started running at such a young age, cross country was not her first sport, it was soccer. Balancing soccer and cross country can be hard, but Bushkell says she “makes it work” by always making sure her body is fully healed and ready. However, if she does feel any injuries coming on, she takes it easy to ensure that she stays healthy for her sports.
Bushkell commented, “The FSU Pre-state course was much more challenging than I thought it would be for my first time. However, I could not be more thankful to have had such a fast and amazing race.” It was very exciting for Bushkell to see so many different schools and even some well-known runners from Florida on the line. Bushkell is most excited for states so that she may have one last shot at the FSU course this season to showcase everything she has in store.
Bushkell stated that being named the fastest freshman girl in the state and sixth fastest overall is “surreal.” She would have never thought that from her first race she would be ranked so highly at such a competitive level. When it comes to college or beyond that, Bushkell says, “It would be fantastic to compete in college and further, but I just have to wait for what the future holds.” Starting high school cross country, Bushkell never expected to be in such a welcoming team. She mentioned, “From day one of the season, everybody was so nice and accepting, they treat us like family.” Without the amazing support from the team and coaching staff, Bushkell does not think she would have been as successful.