Monday, September 23, 2019


Winning is what makes headlines.  But sometimes you have to look deeper in the results to pull out a gem, a story that brings with it an underlying achievement that might otherwise go unnoticed.  I didn't have to look too deep in the results from the North Port Invitational.  It stuck out like a sore thumb in the girl's elite race right there in second place.  Fort Myers High Senior Stephy Ormsby ran 17:56.77.

You can count on one hand in the last decade the number of girls from Lee County under 18 minutes for 5000 meters in cross country.  Estero's Bona Jones and Katy Solis along with Emily Edwards and Sara Spann from Fort Myers.  Not even Fort Myers distance ace Krissy Gear broke 18 minutes in high school.  In case you were wondering the only Southwest Florida area runner to break 17 minutes is Kathryn Fluehr from Community School of Naples.

Stephy's come a long way from when I first met her as a fresh faced freshman intermediate hurdler for the Green Wave.  Then head coach Rob Strong said to keep an eye on her because he believed she could be turned into a distance runner. Slowly but surely Ormsby has transitioned her body from the square, stocky gymnast that she used to be to a hard body, running machine that has steadily improved  through her sophomore and junior years. 

Ormsby has shaved more than two minutes off her cross country personal best.  What makes her achievement even more surprising is she has spent most of her running career as a middle distance specialist, running the 800 and 1600.  The progress Stephy Ormsby has made since last fall shows what a summer of consistent training can bring when cross country rolls around. With the guidance of coach Yancey Palmer, Ormsby has done the work to put herself in a position to be a contender at the Class 3A State Cross Country Championships.

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