Prep cross country: Estero High girls, Pedraza lead local runners at Foot Locker South Regional

One week after winning their third consecutive state championship, runners from the Estero High girls cross country team returned to action in the Foot Locker South Regional on Saturday in Charlotte, N.C.

The race at McAlpine Greenway Park featured some of the top high school runners from southern states.

Katie Slater posted the best time (18:26) among Estero runners in the girls seeded race. Slater was 38th in a field of 139. The race was won by Sophie Chase of Burke, Va., in 17:05. Estero's Katy G. Solis, who was runner-up in the Class 3A final, finished 64th in 18:46. Teammates Kacy Smith (92nd, 19:10) and Bethany Jenkins (112th, 19:42) rounded out Estero's runners.

Gulf Coast High's Caroline Barlow was 63rd in 18:46. Sharks teammates Danielle De Greef (120th, 20:00) and Samantha Davis (122nd, 20:01) finished one second apart.

Fort Myers High's Emily Edwards registered the top finish among the Southwest Florida contingent. She was 18th in 17:58.

In the boys seeded race, the Fort Myers High tandem of Aesop Brown (19th, 15:21) and Tyler Bennett (20th, 15:22) had the top runs among all runners from Florida. The boys race was won by Sean McGarty of Fairfax, Va., in 14:28.

Class 2A champion Alex Pedraza, a junior from Golden Gate High, finished 37th in a field of 321. His time was 15:35.

Palmetto Ridge senior Carlos Miranda was 73rd in 15:55. Bears teammate Kolin Ashbacher ran in 16:04, good enough for 94th place, one spot ahead of Estero High senior Jose Cartagena.

The top 10 finishers in the girls and boys races qualified for the national championship that will be held Dec. 8 in San Diego.

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