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This past week found both DeLand and Orange City University high schools playing host to an invitational cross-country meet. DeLand had 16 schools competing Oct. 2 at the Sperling Sports Complex, while on Sept. 30, University played host to 12 schools on its 5K campus course.

The DeLand meet found Oviedo Hagerty claiming the boys’ title, while the Spruce Creek girls were the female champions.

At the University meet, Spruce Creek girls claimed first place, while Father Lopez earned the boys’ title.

In the University boys’ challenge, Father Lopez scored 56 points, while University was second with 63, followed by DeLand with 80 points. Pierson Taylor was eighth with 175, while Deltona was 10th with 271. Pine Ridge competed without a full team.

The boys’ race was a close contest throughout the entire 5K, with senior Seth Augustynowski of Father Lopez claiming first in the last half-mile over University sophomore Royce Eggert, who finished 2 seconds behind Augustynowski’s 17:05.84 clocking.

The other top finishers for the West Volusia schools were DeLand sophomore James Gannon in fifth place at 17:31.97, Anthony Velazquez of Taylor in 18th at 19:03.07, Pine Ridge’s Joshua Anderson in eighth place at 18:30.51, and Deltona’s Kevin Kerns in 60th at 21:12.60.

The girls’ race at University saw Spruce Creek score 20 points (a perfect score is 15), while Father Lopez was second with 59. University was third with 97 points, with DeLand 2 points back. Taylor Middle-High was sixth with 136 points.

The girls’ champion was Spruce Creek’s sophomore Olivia Niewald, outdistancing the field with a clocking of 20:13.53. DeLand sophomore Sydney Neira placed sixth with a time of 21:11.75, with University’s Caroline Sholar finishing 13th at 23:33.08, while Haley Ross of Taylor was 25th at 24:57.90, followed by Dianna Pineda of Deltona at 25:49.00 in 33rd place.

Two days later, the DeLand Invitational was held, which made it difficult for some runners competing in two days. The girls’ champion was Spruce Creek with 44 points, followed by New Smyrna Beach in second with 66 points. University was sixth with 181 points, and closely behind them was DeLand with 184 points. Taylor was ninth overall of the 16 teams competing.

Once again, the girls’ race was led from start to finish by Niewald on a rather damp course, with a time of 19:59.79. DeLand’s Neira took 10th place with a time of 21:44.98, while University’s Sholar was 28th at 23:55.26. Taylor junior Yamileth Fuentes was 42nd with a clocking of 25:15.36, followed by Pine Ridge senior Asia-Marie Olude in 141st at 34:05.52.race was led from start to 

The boys’ competition found Hagerty sophomore Brayden Seymour leading the way at the finish line with a clocking of 17:07.23. University’s Eggert was fourth with a time of 17:32.37, while DeLand’s Gannon was seventh at 17:50.55. Senior Samuel Mendez of Taylor was 40th at 19:25.54, with Pine Ridge sophomore William Steinebach in 42nd at 19:27.50.

Many of these teams will be traveling for the Volusia/Flagler freshman/sophomore meet at Spruce Creek High School at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 10. This will also be the first time that the middle-schoolers will have their first outing of the season after the high-school races.

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