PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Sixteen North Bay Haven cross-country athletes qualified for state competition.

The North Bay Haven cross country graduated a lot of seniors last season and had a lot of younger athletes join the team this season. Throughout the season there was a lot of uncertainty if the teams would even qualify for regionals.

Before regionals, the team was ranked 11 and had to jump to eight to make it to state competition. The Buccaneers passed around 150 athletes to jump to the eighth spot to qualify for state.

“I have never seen so much drive and passion, so much desire from the girls team to want to make it to state,” North Bay Haven senior Jordyn Dodd said. “It was incredible crossing the finish line, knowing how many places that we all collectively stepped up in order to make it to state this year.”

One of the top performers from regionals, North Bay Haven junior Maggie Bartlow. She was seeded first heading into regionals and maintained that spot winning the competition on the girls side.

“This is going to be my first time being fairly competitive at a state cross-country competition,” Bartlow said. “I actually feel pretty prepared. I feel physically great, mentally great, and I’m really excited to go with my team.”

State competition starts on Friday, November 17 at 1 p.m. est. in Tallahassee.