In an exhilarating display of athletic teamwork, the Bishop Kenny Crusaders girls' cross-country team secured the FHSAA Class 2A State Championship Title on November 17, marking their first triumph since 2009. This remarkable achievement also marked the ninth team state title in the program's illustrious history, solidifying their legacy as one of the powerhouses in Florida high school cross country.
Head Coach Jackie Hardin, beaming with pride, acknowledged that this victory was years in the making. She emphasized the collective effort that propelled the team to success, giving special recognition to the four seniors who played a pivotal role in mentoring their younger counterparts and fostering a sense of unity within the team.
The depth of talent within the squad was truly extraordinary, with junior Tessa Massa, senior Emily Wheldon, and sophomore Alexis Wilson securing impressive placements inside the top 16. Their outstanding performances, combined with the efforts of teammates Stephanie Grden, Davis Johnson '24, Alexis Holmes, and Taylor Lawhon, resulted in a cohesive team effort that amassed 69 points for the Crusaders.
Coach Hardin underscored the significance of the team aspect, emphasizing the commitment to practicing together five days a week. This dedication proved to be the winning formula, creating a strong team dynamic that ultimately led to their success. The Crusaders' journey to the championship title was marked by consistent excellence, clinching first place in their district with a team time of 19:27 and dominating the region with a team time of 19:10. Their crowning moment came as they triumphed over Bolles for the State Title with another impressive team time of 19:04.
Not to be overshadowed, the Bishop Kenny Crusader boys' cross-country team also delivered a stellar performance, securing a remarkable second place in the state. The hometown rivalry with the Bolles Bulldogs added an extra layer of excitement to the competition, with both schools showcasing their excellence by securing top positions in both boys' and girls' categories.
The Bishop Kenny community can take immense pride in the outstanding achievements of their cross-country teams, reaffirming their commitment to excellence and teamwork. The Crusaders have not only brought home titles but have also demonstrated the enduring spirit of sportsmanship and camaraderie that defines the true essence of high school athletics. Congratulations to the Bishop Kenny Crusaders on this historic achievement!
Pictured L-R: Coach Mike Curran, Olivia Lumpkin (10), Taylor Lawhon (9), Isabella Hutchins (12), Emily Wheldon (12), Davis Johnson (12), Alexis Holmes (12), Stephanie Grden (11), Tessa Massa (11), Alexis Wilson (10), Jillie Jakab (9), Head Coach Jackie Hardin, Coach Becca Kerr