PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – North Bay Haven’s Kyla Faint is the first Buccaneer to make it to the Florida High School Cross County State Championships on Saturday. Faint is also just a sixth-grader.
Faint competes with girls up to six years older than her because the charter school is a mixed campus.
The FHSAA allows students as young as sixth grade to compete at the varsity level and Faint manages to hold her own.
“It feels good cause I’m racing against older people,” Faint said. “They’ll be like way taller than me and they’ll have have longer legs and they think they can beat me but they usually don’t.”
Faint isn’t wrong. At regionals last weekend, she finished 15th overall which qualified her for the state meet on Saturday.
“I feel really lucky that Kyla can push our other runners. No one has a big ego about she’s only in sixth grade. We are a very close family and not just a team and they like to push each other and see how far they can go,” North Bay Haven cross country coach Stephanie Grogan said. “My number two and number three runners are really close to her and they are quite a few years older than her and so I think in that aspect, they want to try and get close to the number one and it doesn’t matter that she’s in sixth grade.”
Kyla’s personal record is 21 minutes and five seconds. Her goal for state is a 5K time of less than 21 minutes.