Cross-country season preview: Jupiter's Zboyan again leads the way
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
by Steve Dorsey
Courteney Zboyan's first year of running varsity girls cross-country last season might have surprised some who didn't expect a freshman to dominate the local races she entered. The Jupiter sophomore enters this season as the top returning runner, and she knows she will have a bull's-eye on her back.
"A lot of people are gunning for me because of my success last year," Zboyan said. "There's lots of runners in the county coming back who had a good season last year. Competition-wise, you never know, you don't know what others are doing, how much training they've done."
Zboyan, the defending Palm Beach County champion who also added a district title to her rapidly expanding r�m�said she took about two weeks off to rest following the end of track season last spring but increased her training regimen some this summer in preparation for this season.
"I surprised myself every race last year, and I want to keep doing that," said Zboyan, whose first race will be the Benjamin Invitational Tuesday at Carlin Park in Jupiter. "I'm excited for my sophomore year."
Zboyan clocked her best time of 19 minutes, 24.54 seconds when she placed fourth at the regional meet last year. She was 8 seconds slower at the Class 4A state championships, placing 26th, but that time was the fastest of any area runner at the state meet.
"It was a little intimidating," Zboyan said of her first state meet.
Jupiter coach Robyn Mooney believes the experience was a good one for Zboyan.
"She's older and stronger (than last year)," Mooney said. "She's picked up her base mileage, but I don't want to burn her out too young. We're pushing the envelope, but not too much to risk injury. I think she has a real shot at being on the podium (at state), or at least top 10."
Zboyan said her main goal this season is to break 19 minutes, which would eclipse the Jupiter school record of 19:01. She would also like to lead Jupiter, along with returning senior Melissa Westmoreland, to a repeat of the county title the Warriors won last year for the first time since 1988, although Mooney must replace the team's Nos. 3-4-5 runners, who graduated. Zboyan also will aim to become the first Jupiter female to capture back-to-back county titles since Ann Brennan in 1983-84.
"I trained smart over the summer," Zboyan said. "I want to stay injury-free. I want to have fun."
In boys competition this season, John I. Leonard graduated 2011 Boys Runner of the Year Anderson Charles, but the Lancers return a solid core of experienced runners in All-Area first-team selections Salvador Medrano and Charlie Bengston and second-team selection Jorge Rodriguez, all seniors.
Runners to watch
Courtney Zboyan, Jupiter, So.Returning county champion and 2011 runner of the year.
Michelle Howell, Seminole Ridge, Sr.County runner-up behind Zboyan last year.
Lauren Castillo, Palm Beach Central, Sr.State qualifier was district runner-up to Zboyan.
Kaley Doyle, Park Vista, Jr.Returning All-Area first-team selection for Cobras.
Kimberly Schmutz, St. Andrew's, Jr.Returning district champ placed third at county last year.
Cali Gumpel, Wellington Christian, So.Was state qualifier as a freshman.
Salvador Medrano, John I. Leonard, Sr.Expected to assume No. 1 position for excellent program.
Charlie Bengston, John I. Leonard, Sr.Finished ahead of Medrano at regional meet last year.
Scott Simpson, King's Academy, Sr.Returning district and regional champion for Lions.
Nicholas Jacobsen, St. Andrew's, Fr.Young but talented, placed 23rd at state as eighth-grader.
Chris Grinely, Park Vista, Sr.Cobras' new No. 1 runner placed 10th at county last year.
Jorge Rodriguez, John I. Leonard, Sr.Second-team All-Area selection was 8th at county in 2011.