Personal Records Across The Board As Eastside Boys, Girls Cross Country Move On To Regionals


Heading into Friday night’s district meet where the top 8 teams move on, Eastside’s boys and girls teams found themselves in two very different positions. According to pre-race placement predictions, the boys team was projected for a comfortable 3rd place finish, while the girls team was expected to run their last race of the year, coming in at 9th. Both teams have faced a variety of issues this year, resulting in many being frustrated with their lack of progression in times from last season. 


An almost comically unfortunate wave of sickness hit the boys around four weeks ago, and their best got the worst of it; in the span of a couple days, top runners Jackson Petty and Declan O’Dwyer contracted COVID-19, strep throat, and the flu, resulting in a crippling sickness coined by Petty called “The Plague” which sidelined them for nearly two weeks. Varsity runners Amir Etemadi and Carlos Alvarez were also unable to run for more than a week as a result of illness. To make matters worse, Petty has recently received a diagnosis from UF Orthopaedic Institute of not just Overtraining Syndrome, but also potential anemia, both of which severely impact athletic performance. Prior to this, he was predicted to be a contender for high individual placement at states this year. Despite these problems, the team cruised to a 3rd place finish, with top-30 finishes from Petty, O’Dwyer, August McDaniel, and Alvarez (who ran a season best). In describing the team’s preparation leading up to these races, Alvarez said “We’ve been working hard through a lot of these ups and downs, as nearly the whole team has gotten sick at some point this season. I’ve been trying to stay away from these types of problems, and now that a lot of us are healthy we should perform better than we have been.” 


Next up is regionals, where the boys look to qualify for states. When asked about qualifying for states, Petty had this to say: “We did it last year and we’ll do it again this year.”


After having what some may describe as an underwhelming year, the girls team seemed to peak when it mattered most. In a race where the top 5 times factor into team placement, 4 of Eastside’s girls ran their fastest times this season. Sofi White, Annelie Tryolt, Ingrid Astrom, and Elseya Wellehan’s best efforts resulted in a 7th place finish for the girls. This guarantees them a spot at regionals. Tryolt finished the night with a team-best time of 22:59. Unfortunately, she is a German exchange student and is scheduled to return in December. Although she had no running experience prior to this season, Tryolt said she decided to join because “Cross country seemed to be really cool, and I went to the meeting and the people were really nice.” 

Regardless of how this year turns out, the future of the girls’ team is blindingly bright; of their five fastest runners, there are two freshmen, two sophomores, and one junior. Freshmen Ingrid Astrom and Elseya Wellehan posted impressive times of 24:21 and 24:22, and are sure to continue making an impact on the team going forward. With a good track season this spring and a disciplined summer, this team could shape up to be something special. Right now though, the focus is on regionals, where they will face off against some of the best teams in Florida in their attempt to make it to states.