As Steven Cross finished up his first mile right around the four-minute, 41-second mark, Merritt Island head coach Bill Bounanni was pleased to see Titusville’s Mason Jones trailing closely behind his star runner.
“I was glad to see he had someone running with him at that point, because I think Mason was pushing him,” Bounanni said.
It wasn’t much longer before Cross pulled away from Jones and the rest of the runners, dominating the field for a 14:56 time to win the 5,000-meter Cape Coast Conference meet Saturday afternoon at Wickham Park. The sub-15 time torched the course record and is a time unmatched by other Florida high school runners this year.
“When I heard people shouting times at me on the side toward the end, that’s when I really started going because I knew it was going to be close,” Cross said.
Cross has hopes of getting his time down to the 14:40s in time for the Foot Locker national race this year, so the 14:55 meant he is right where he had planned to be.
Jones finished second overall with a time of 15:44. Trevor and Egan Kattenberg from Satellite followed in third and fourth, and Ian Reesh from Melbourne rounded out the top five. Satellite took home the conference championship for the team as John Cacciatore and Michael Wilson finished in sixth and eighth place, and Connor McMahon finished just outside the top 10 in 12th.
Skye Zeller took the girls race with an 18:57 after a second-place finish in last year’s conference meet. Zeller trailed Rockledge’s Dominique Coriell after the first mile but overtook her shortly after and held off a late push from Astronaut’s Hannah Flemming, who finished second.
“Being my senior year, I wanted to win, so I was pretty motivated,” Zeller said. “I knew Hannah was going to be right there, so she pushed me.”
Satellite completed the team conference sweep, having its girls edge Merritt Island by 23 points. The Scorpions had five girls finish in the top 10 including a fourth-place finish by Lana Rukab. Satellite’s Ashley Basford finished 10th overall with a personal-best 20:11, collapsing after she crossed the finish line.
“We wanted to get five boys and five girls in the top 10, and we missed that by two spots, but I’m really proud of all of them,” Satellite coach Doug Butler said. “Ashley, she ran a great race. She is usually our sixth runner, and today she was our fifth and she really pushed herself. I thought that was great.”
High school sports | floridatoday.com/sports/high-school-sports/