Cardinal Mooney High junior Grace Casagrande captured a pair of individual championships at the Class 1A-District 10 meet April 11, at The Out-of-Door Academy.
Casagrande, who runs track and cross-country for the Cougars, won the 400-meter dash in 1:02.04 and the 800 in 2:21.71. As the district champion, Casagrade earned a berth in the Region 3 meet April 18, at Shorecrest Prep, with the hopes of qualifying for the FHSAA Finals April 26. Casagrande finished fifth in the 800 at last year’s state meet.
"It’s exciting to be a two-time district champion. Hopefully, maybe I’ll be a regional champion, too. It would be really exciting to take (that title).
The 800 is more what I’m aiming for at states. Hopefully, I can get to my second state meet. That would be really great.
I think I’m more of a middle-distance runner because I’m good at cross-country. The 400 is an all-out, and the 800 is more thought (provoking). I think it’s a fun race for me.
I like running because you can easily see the results. If you put the work in, then you’ll see the results. I like going out for long runs. For me, it’s a (stress reliever). It’s fun.
The regional meet last year was the first time that I ran 2:19. I dropped a lot of time. That’s when I first realized I could actually be good at the 800.
I’m shooting for a 2:15 at states. As long as I get a personal record I’ll be happy. If I know I gave it my all at states, I’ll be happy.
I think I’m better at track. I originally did cross-country to train for track. Track is more intense, and I feel like I’m more a part of the team.
I definitely want to run Division I. I have a lot of runners in my family, and I think it would mean a lot to them, too. Being able to have an intense running program and coaches would be awesome.
I look up to (Lakewood Ranch High) runner Olivia Ortiz. She’s a friend of mine, and we used to play soccer together. I just think that she’s so amazing. She’s the one who made me want to do cross-country."