For the first time in Highland Oaks Middle School history, the school has a county champion in cross-country.

The Panthers JV girls bested nine other teams to win the Miami-Dade County Middle School Championship at Penny and Larry Thompson Park.

Anissa Lespinase-Casimir topped 115 runners on the 2.1-mile course in 15 minutes 19 seconds to win the individual county championship. Team Captain Vashti Claybrook (15:36) was the runner-up to help lead the charge.

Destiny Desrivieres (16:28) was sixth. Kayla Yuengling (17:51) placed 23rd. Shannon Laguerre (18:52) was 37th, followed closely by Jamie Galo (18:55) at 38th. Giuliana Moreno (19:18) finished 43rd.

In varsity, Highland Oaks girls earning personal best times were Alyssa Acosta (19:24) and Kelly O'Connor (21:54). Brianna Easy (20:51) and Sophie Rier (22:55) ran for the varsity team as well.

Highland Oaks’ Markus Bermudez (15:01) finished 29th of 170 runners in the JV boys’ race. Also running strong were Jason Pifferrer (16:29) in 50th and Roger Henriquez in 58th with a personal best 16:45. Jaharee Hall (19:07), Kevin Castor (19:15), Jaden Foy (19:24) and Xavier Cherisma (24:44) competed, too.

Kevin Cam starred for the Panthers varsity boys, placing 72nd of 172 in a personal best 15:44. Francesco Rignanese also ran for the varsity, finishing in 22:09.

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