I love high school distance running. If you follow the sport at all you're well aware that this has been an exceptional year across the United States for fast times. Two boys have already broken 4 minutes in the mile, Drew Hunter and Michael Slagowski have both dipped under the magical barrier and another Austin Tamango is just a tick above that mark.
But that's not the point of this bit of writing, I want to revisit a subject I touched on about a year ago. Southwest Florida remains a red hot when it comes to girl's distance running. The cast of suspects didn't change much from 2015 to 2016 and the competition remains fierce.
The Oliveira sisters continue to make headlines for Evangelical Christian. Twins Sierra and Moriah will only be in the 9th grade when the 2017 season rolls around. The two finally laid claim to their first individual state titles this spring, Sierra in the 800 and Moriah in the 400. But if you think of Moriah as just a sprinter think again because she runs the 800 just as well.
Sierra runs in the 2:15 range with Moriah just a tick or two slower. My guess is their futures lie in the 1500/mile. They've both got wonderful speed but neither is dazzling fast. Their potential is mind blowing.
Estero's Megan Giovanniello carried on the tradition of stellar distance runners that continually rise from this program. The shocking death of Coach Jeff Sommer last year hit the Wildcats hard. Ben Pignatone stepped up ably to fill Sommer's considerable shoes and I'm sure he'll have Giovanniello ready to take on cross county rivals Kayla Easterly and Krissy Gear when cross country rolls around in three short months.
Easterly from North Fort Myers was the emerging star over the last year. She backed up a strong cross country season by handing Gear a rare defeat at the county track and field championships over 3200 meters. Another year of mileage could put Kayla in the sub-11 minute club along with Gear.
That would put her among the national elite.
Should it all come together, the Oliveira's, Gear and Giovanniello could all be sub 2:15 in the 800 next year. Gear, Easterly and Giovanniello could all be sub-5 in the 1600 and sub-11 in the 3200. Remember, most state's don't produce girls capable of running these kinds of times much less five girls from one county doing it.