Highsmith’s high school cross country career will end at FHSAA states.
Plant City High School senior Cassie Highsmith is no stranger to the school’s history books, and she’s set to hit another milestone this weekend when she becomes the second PCHS girls runner to compete in the FHSAA cross country state championship meet. This hasn’t happened since 2002, when Sara Hall made the cut. The 4A girls race will begin at 9:35 a.m. Saturday at Apalachee Regional Park, 7550 Apalachee Parkway, Tallahassee.
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You’re the first girl from PCHS to get this far in quite some time. How do you feel about the accomplishment?
I’m really, really, really excited that I’ve come this far. I’ve worked my butt off all season to get to this point and I’m glad that, at the end of my senior year, I can finish off my cross country season this way.
What’s the highlight of your season, maybe other than finding out you made states?
I ran a PR (personal record) at county champs and I got third place, so I was really happy with that because it was a really tough field. That was one second off of the school record, so that was really exciting. I’m so close to that.
You’ve been setting PRs quite a bit this season. How many times have you broken it?
I’ve broken it three times and I’ve hit right on it one time, so I’ve been really close to it all season. We ran on a lot of tough courses with hills like Holloway and Lecanto, so you can’t really expect that fast time from those courses. But I’ve ran really solid this season, and consistent, and no injuries — that was my goal.
What’s your PR right now?
19:12 for the 5K.
What are you looking forward to most about states?
I ran pre-states on the course a couple weeks ago, so I love the course already. I know where to make my move and how to run it, and to be smart. The competition is just crazy. I’m hoping for a PR on the course.
What do you like about this course?
There’s half a mile downhill and that’s the start, and then you come back around. The second half of the race is kind of uphill, then you go downhill again and you go uphill again, and then you finish on a downhill. That’s really exciting because you can really pick up the speed with 800 to go on the downhill.
What are your college plans?
I don’t have any official plans so far. I’ve gone on a couple visits to schools and everything … I’m just keeping an open mind, just trying to find the right fit for me.
What would you major in?
I’m leaning toward business right now but I’m still undecided, I’d say.
Which track events are you running in spring?
I was thinking about running an 800 just for time and to see if I could get the school record in that, just to have it, but I’m running the mile and two-mile.
Is there anything you’ve never tried but want to, athletically?
I’ve always wanted to try pole vault, but my coaches won’t let me. I guess it’s a safety hazard for me because I’m not the right body type for a pole vault, but I’ve always wanted to try it.
What goals do you want to accomplish by the end of the year, besides running well at states this weekend?
A little goal of mine right now is to get my test scores up because that’s really important in getting into college. Besides running and everything, you you have to be a well-rounded student in the classroom and out on the track and stuff like that.