Marco schools win big at cross country invitational

Marco Island schools won big Saturday at the Marco Island Academy cross country invitational.

Two students from Marco Island Charter Middle School, Chase Lupo and Maggie Poling, won first and third place respectively in their varsity races. Lupo completed 3,000 meters in 10:43.18 and Poling in 11:53.98.

"I'm a little bit tired but it was a hard race," Lupo said. "My heart hurts a lot."

Lupo got to the finish line 10 seconds before the runner up.

"I'm glad I got third place because I get to go to the states," Poling said.

Kevin Barry from Marco Island Academy (MIA) Charter High School won second place in the boys high school varsity race. Barry completed 5,000 meters in 18:05.09.

"I'm tired but it felt good to finish that high," Barry said. 

Barry said his team runs 40 to 50 miles per week to train.

"Everybody trains together," Barry said. "It's a big team effort."

Kathryn Barry from MIA was the first runner from her school to get to the finish line in the girls varsity high school race. Barry completed 5,000 meters in 23:39.10, arriving in 10th place.

"Even though it wasn't my personal PR (personal record) I felt I did pretty good," Barry said. 

Teams also get ranked based on how each school team did overall.

Marco Island teams won first place in the boys varsity high school and middle school races, and third in the girls varsity middle school race.

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The MIA's 9th cross country invitational brought together more than 500 students from Collier, Lee, Hendry, Palm Beach, Broward counties to the Frank E. Mackle Community Park in Marco.

"We are very happy that this event has grown from just a few schools to hosting 29 schools and over 500 runners," wrote MIA cross country head coach Bruce Kretschmer.

"More than anything, I would like to thank this year’s event sponsors, Kriger Orthodontics and Casey Cosmetics."

"The Rays’ Invite is always a memorable day for our teams, our school, and most importantly, our community," wrote MIA director of Athletics and Activities Ryan Marie Roberts. 

"We hope that we will be able to host it for many years to come."  


  • High school girls (5,000 meters)
  1. Katie Beam - First Baptist Academy (20:33.92)
  2. Lily Burke - Donahue Academy of Ave Maria (20:52:48)
  3. Grace O'Malley - Community School of Naples (21:26.18)
  • High school boys (5,000 meters)
  1. Austin Flynn - First Baptist Academy (18:01.01)
  2. Kevin Barry - Marco Island Academy Charter High School (18:05.09)
  3. Andrew Mitchell - St. John Neumann (18:15.26)
  • Middle school girls (3,000 meters)
  1. Gianna Del Pizzo - The Elite Runner Fort Myers (11:50.08)
  2. Evie McCarthy - Oasis Charter Middle School (11:53.67)
  3. Maggie Poling - Marco Island Charter Middle School
  • Middle school boys (3,000 meters)
  1. Chase Lupo - Marco Island Charter Middle School (10:43.78)
  2. Brandon Bill - The Elite Runner Fort Myers (10.53.48)
  3. Santiago Gomez De Ortega - Oasis Charter Middle School (10:55.18)

For the complete results, go to