PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – For the first time in school history, the North Bay Haven girls and boys cross country teams have qualified for the state championships.
“I’ve had coaches come up to me and say we’ve been watching Bay County, we’ve been watching you over the years, we knew you guys were coming,” North Bay Haven assistant cross country coach Daniel Franklin said.
The boys team finished sixth in regionals to qualify and the girls teams crowned the regional runners up.
The girls won the district championship back in October too.
“It’s awesome, we had Milesplit who is head of the times and stuff, shout us out on a post and say that unheard, team from the Panhandle does great at regionals. That was crazy to hear, to see our name on that they have thousands of followers and to see our names it was great,” North Bay Haven runner Lakyn Carmichael said.
The state meet will take place at the Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee, the same court where Florida State’s cross country team competes.
The course can be difficult on runners because of the terrain and that’s what the Buccaneers have been preparing for.
“So we’ve been trying to our best to find hills and you can see we’re trying to create our own hills out here to get something going, to get them used to it. But other than that, we’re ready,” North Bay Haven head cross country coach Osmond Ashman said.
Even though many of their runners haven’t competed at the state level before, they do feel prepared to compete in it.
“Their mental fortitude is extremely strong, they never gave up, they would always push, some of them would finish races in tears but they would come back and finish the race as hard as they could and that got them where they are now,” Franklin said.
The Buccaneers have aimed to put themselves in the conversation when it comes to cross country in the state, but they hope to show everybody at the state meet, they deserve to stay there.
“To be confident in what they are doing, and to trust that what they did in the season will prepare them for the run. If they go out fast, to be confident and hold that pace throughout the entire run and do their best,” North Bay Haven runner Nathan Holmes said.
The 2A State Championships are set for Friday morning in Tallahassee.