Legends of the Past
Historically speaking, 4A is where stars from Florida are born. Jennifer Barringer-Simpson, 1500m world champion, ran for Oviedo in the early 2000’s where she won 4A XC state titles in 2002, 2003, and 2004. Barringer-Simpson was a multi-time Footlocker qualifier and top 3 finisher as a junior. She placed 10th in the country as a senior, before going on to Colorado. In her career she has been a world champion, American Record holder, and multi time Olympic qualifier.
Immediately following Barringer, was Ashley Brosovan of Wellington, who won state all four years of her high school career. Brosovan was a Footlocker National Champion and went on to run at Duke. As a pro for Hoka One One she is currently dominating on the trails and in longer distances.
Another familiar name is Bailey Hertenstein. She won 3 xc state title while at Newsome. She also qualified for Footlocker twice. After high school she went on to be a 2x All-American in cross country for Indiana, before transferring to Colorado where she again gained All-American status with her 6th place finish at NCAAs in 2022.
Alyssa Hendrix won two state title in 2018 and 2019, she is currently in on a powerhouse NC State team that won nationals last year and is currently ranked #2 in the nation going into Nationals next weekend.
Other notable names from 4A include NCAA individual favorite, Parker Valby who was runner-up to Hendrix in 2019. Valby placed 2nd at NCAAs for Florida in 2022, and won a national title in the 5000m on the track. She is the favorite going into NCAAs after dominating the regional championships where she ran under 18 minutes for 6k.
Also coming from 4A is 2022 USATF 1500m National Champion, Sinclair Johnson. While in high school, her best finish in cross country was 2nd in 2014 where she lost to Rafaella Gibbons of Winter Park. Johnson’s real strength was on the track where she won multiple state titles in the 800 and 1600. She went on to Oklahoma State where she won a 1500m national title and followed that up 3 years later with a 6th place finish at the world championships in the same event.
On May 20th, 2023 a new star in class 4A was born as 9th grader Alyson Johnson of Creekside won 2 golds at the 4A State Championships, one in the 1600 and one in the 3200. During her sophomore cross country season, she has won 6 out of the 9 races she has competed in, she has gone under 18 four separate times, she in on a 4 race win streak and she has not lost to another 4A competitor all season. She is looking to capture her first xc state title on Friday.
Mackenzie Roy of Spruce Creek and Gianna Del Pizzo of Lehigh will be the favorites hoping to upset Johnson. Roy has won 8 of the 11 races she has competed in the season, with a best of 18:05 at the FHSAA 4A District 2 Championships. She placed 2nd to Johnson in the Region. Del Pizzo has a PR of 17:50 from the North Port Invitational and followed it up with an 18:50 at FLRunners. In comparing the 2 courses it is likely that she is a solid 18:20 athlete, which would have won a state title in 2022 as O’Day from Boca Raton won in 18:23.
Other girls to watch are Ava Schmitt of Wiregrass Ranch, Reese Anderson of Newsome, Annabella Cardona of Braddock, Addison Ellwell of Viera, and Eleanor Whisler of Buchholz.
1) Alyson Johnson
2) Mackenzie Roy
3) Reese Anderson
4) Gianna Del Pizzo
5) Annabella Cardona
6) Ava Schmitt
7) Eleanor Whisler
8) Addison Ellwell