Holy Trinity boys, girls sweep Class 1A regional cross country titles

Cacciatore repeats as boys champion; Smith finishes 3rd in girls race


Holy Trinity's Andrew Cacciatore (right) and teammate Trevor Kattenberg (left) set the early pace in Saturday's Class 1A regional race. Cacciatore won by more than eight seconds, his second straight regional championship.


When the season was just beginning and the Holy Trinity boys and girls cross country teams talked about repeating as state champions, the big day seemed far away.

Now, it’s so close the Tigers can taste it.

Holy Trinity swept the Class 1A, Region 3 championships Saturday on its home course. Next stop: Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee.

“We’ve been pretty solid up until now,” senior Andrew Cacciatore said. “We’re definitely excited for state next week. It’s right there. It’s what we’ve been working for all year.”

Holy Trinity’s boys will be going for a fourth consecutive state championship, something that would be unprecedented in Brevard County high school sports history. 

Holy Trinity's Shelby Smith (right) sticks close to Evangelical Christian's Sarah Candiano during Saturday's Class 1A regional race. Candiano would go on to win the event. Smith finished third.

And as usual, Cacciatore will help lead the way. The senior completed the 5K course in 15: 39 Saturday – two seconds off his personal best – to win the individual regional title for the second consecutive year.

“It went pretty well,” Cacciatore said of his race. “My plan was to go out in 9:50 through the 2-mile (mark) and I ended up around 9:54. It got a little hot, so I think that definitely affected me a little bit.”

Egan Kattenberg finished sixth for the Tigers in 16:15, John Cacciatore was ninth in 16:26 and Trevor Kattenberg was 10th in 16:29. Michael Wilson was 15th in 16:48 and Charlie Dickenson was 23rd in 17:28. Bryce-Austin Wahy was 48th in 18:24.

The girls race, meanwhile, saw the Tigers pull away for another victory while top runner Shelby Smith learned a lesson she hopes will pay off next week.

In what could easily be a preview of the state meet, Evangelical Christian senior Sarah Candiano pulled away from Smith at the end to earn the victory. Smith wound up finishing third in 18:38.

“It was a pretty tough race,” Smith said. “My plan was to go out at a nice pace and let Sarah lead for most of it so I could run her down (in the last 400 meters). But Sarah kept surging, and then slowing down. So I would go with her, and then slow down. 

“The last mile, I could feel her picking it up. I tried to hold on to her … but it didn’t work out like that. I tried to stay with her, but she started pulling away. She just took it. My mindset was that I could probably catch up to her, but I was just tired. I tried to keep at a good pace, but I just kept slowing down.”

Samantha Folio (19:23) finished seventh for the Tigers while teammate Marie Groppel (19:24) was eighth, Sydney Smith (19:54) came in 10th and Maleia Storum was 11th in 19:32.

Chelsea Basford (19:36) placed 13th and Brianna Basford was 16th (19:56).

Smith called the day “a great learning experience” for the state meet because now she knows how Candiano likes to run.

Holy Trinity coach Doug Butler was obviously pleased with the overall team results, but didn’t think the Tigers had their best day.

“We didn’t set the world on fire,” he said. “We did OK, but I attribute that to this being the third meet in a row that we’ve run on our home course.

“We’ve definitely got to run better next week for state.”