Cross Country has enjoyed a steady stream of success. Runners, including student-athletes and coaches, work together in the summer and fall to build a lifelong love of running and fitness.

The program emphasizes “carrying water” for teammates – figuratively and literally to the start and finish lines – and balances it all with a commitment to fierce, fair competition. The Falcons’ mantra “Start Steady, Finish Strong” speaks not only to how they control races, but how they commit to each season and each runner’s career.

The 2022 season, led by seniors Noah McCray, Aquiles Gonzalez and Amelia Sabo, finished with a number of personal bests at the FHSAA Class 1A district and region meets against some of the strongest teams in the state. The girls and boys squads both finished runner-up at the 2022 Sunshine State Athletic Conference championship.

That came on the heels of the peak of Falcon success at the 2021 FHSAA State Championship in Tallahassee. That November, Gonzalez led three of his senior teammates (Christian Rowell, Michael Thomas and Luke Phommachanh) to top-100 individual placement and a 12th-place finish in the 32-team field.

The best state finish for the girls’ squad came in 2017, when the Falcons placed 14th. All told, boys or girls have advanced to the region meet every year since 2011. One or more Falcons have represented Saint Stephen’s at the state finals in 10 of the past 13 seasons. The current squads look forward to climbing those same hills at Holloway Park and Apalachee Regional Park and perhaps duplicating or eclipsing the program’s most successful season. The 2016 boys and girls both collected district titles and finished among the top 20 at the state meet.

Two record-holders stand out in the history of the program. Lauren Csubak, class of 2014, set the bar with sub-20-minute performances in the 5k and led our girls to their first team appearance at the FHSAA championship in 2012. Shortly thereafter, her brother Andrew, class of 2017, led the way with sub-17-minute races. Both Andrew (University of Tampa) and Lauren (St. Leo University) continued competing at the collegiate level.