Cross country: Buchholz solidifies top spots

Buchholz dominated area competition at the Alligator Lake Invitational at the Oaks Equestrian Center Saturday morning in Lake City—and solidified its hold on the top spots in the Mainstreet Daily News cross country rankings.

The Bobcats swept the girls and boys varsity and junior varsity divisions and won the individual titles in the boys and girls varsity divisions and the boys varsity divisions.

After two weeks of tough course conditions, St. Francis, Oak Hall, Buchholz and Santa Fe travel to Jacksonville for the Katie Caples Invitational for a Saturday night race. Results can be found here. Girls Elite race is at 7 p.m. and Boys Elite race is at 7:25 p.m.

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P.K. Yonge, Gainesville High School and Eastside High travel to Ocala for the Trinity Catholic Celtic Invitational Saturday. Varsity girls beginning at 8 a.m. and varsity boys run at 8:40 a.m.

Here are this week’s rankings: 


1. Kate Drummond, Buchholz, Jr

Drummond easily won her second race of the season with a time of 19:23.0 at the Alligator Lake Invitational. She remained undefeated in the area and is a tier above the rest of the area competition, which is why she hangs on to the top spot in the girls’ ranking. 

“Last week’s course was rough and I got stuck in the mud. It wasn’t my course, that’s for sure,” she said. “[Saturday], at 1.5 miles, I decided to push and see who would come with. I decided to break away and through the rest of it I wanted to stay controlled and calm.”

2. Lucy Voss, Buchholz, So

Voss outran Titusville senior, Paige Jaszczak over the last half mile to take second place in a time of 19:50.0 at the Alligator Lake Invitational.

“At the start, I wasn’t feeling super good. I was a little tired,” she said. “[Assistant Coach] Adair told us to do 10 second surges, so I tried to do them and that’s when I passed two of the girls that were second and third, so I think that really helped. It felt good the last part. “

3. Emma White, Buchholz, So

White finished fourth overall in a time of 20:05.4 at the Alligator Lake Invitational holding off early leader, Laci Watford of University Christian and a fast finishing Sydney Miller of Oak Hall.

“The hills were kind of intense,” she said. “The little camel hill got the best of me on the second time, but I think the way we train on hills really helped us and gave us an advantage.”

4. Sydney Miller , Oak Hall, Jr

Oak Hall's Sydney Miller

Miller was happy to have teammate Lauren Jones back with Miller and finished sixth in a time of 20:08.5 at Lake City. She was just three ticks behind White, who beat her by 19 seconds in the opening season race three weeks ago.

“I tried to keep the Buchholz girls in sight,” she said. “I’ve really gotten into a good mindset this season about catching people and knowing if I catch one person at a time, I can move up. I kept doing that and when I caught [teammate] Lauren, I told her to stay with me and we can do this together. At the end I just wanted to finish because I knew a girl was coming.”

5. Lauren Jones, Oak Hall, Sr

Jones returned after a week off due to surgery. She went out with the lead pack and held on to finish eighth in a time of 20:19.1.

“It was extra hard coming back to this race because I was trying to run a fast time because it’s my first race back, but I’m also trying to go through it mentally too,” she said. “It was definitely hard, but I was glad I got it done with, and that’s my first one in the books.”

6. Ani Veltcheva, GHS, Sr

Veltcheva improved on her season opening time of 20:57 to finish 10th in a time of 20:39.8 on Saturday.

“We have a super young team,” she said. “I’m looking forward to see how far our team can go and getting better each race and getting to state as a team.”

7. Ashley Hamilton, Buchholz, Fr

The freshman is getting the hang of the 5K distance in only her third time racing the distance. With 400 meters to go, she pulled away from her teammate and caught six runners to finish 11th in a new personal best time of 20:41.9 at the Alligator Lake Invitational. That knocked off 16 seconds from her previous best on a much slower course. Watch out for her in the upcoming weeks.

“I’m getting the feel for the distance,” she said. “There were a lot of hills on this course. Eleanor and I run together and then in the last 200 meters, whoever gets it, gets it.”

8. Alivia Dragstedt, Oak Hall, Fr

Dragstedt suffered from leg cramps at the Florida Horse Park Invitational two weeks ago and couldn’t finish. At the Alligator Lake Invitational, she completed her first race of the season in a new personal best time of 20:42.8. That was good enough for a 13th place finish.

“It was definitely a lot faster than I thought it would be,” she said. “Our coach told us to focus on the mental part [rather] than focusing on the time. He wanted us to stay strong throughout the race.”

9. Eleanor Whisler, Buchholz, Fr

Whisler set a personal best by 13 seconds to finish in a time of 20:54.6 in Lake City. That was good enough for 18th place.

“The race was fast in the beginning,” she said. “Since it was so foggy, it seemed like we were going a lot faster and we really couldn’t see the girls in front of us. We were just booking it in the first mile. The last two miles it started to feel longer and longer. That last 100 meters, we just went all out… I was happy with my time today.”

10. Mackenzie Klein, Oak Hall, So

Klein finished 22nd Saturday in a new personal best time of 21:48.4. That was her first time under 22 this season. Her best of 20:34.60 is in her line of sight.

11. Jemima Tolentino, Eastside, Sr

Tolentino surprised with another huge personal best time of 21:50.12. That was 34 second best than her last race and placed her 14th overall at The Villages Buffalo Invitational.

12. Catalina Romero, St. Francis, So

St. Francis Catalina Romero

Romero finished 24th at the Alligator Lake Invitational to finish with a time of 21:53.0.

13. Ellie Cervantes, P.K. Yonge, 8th

Cervantes finished 17th at The Villages Buffalo Invitational in a time of 22:26.58.

14. Paulina Cervantes, P.K. Yonge, 8th

Cervantes finished 18th at The Villages Buffalo Invitational in a time of 22:28.33.

15. Eliana Eisner, Oak Hall, So

Eisner finished 28th in a time of 22:04.0 at the Alligator Lake Invitational.

16. Elizabeth Blitch, Santa Fe, Sr

Blitch finished 40th in a time of 23:52.70 at the Bronco Classic at Middleburg High School.

17. Lola Murfee, Oak Hall, 7th

Murfree finished 38th at the Alligator Lake Invitational in a time of 22:53.7

18. Abigail Chandler, Columbia, So
Chandler finished 39th in a time of 22:54.3 at the Alligator Lake Invitational.

17. Laci Herron, P.K. Yonge, Sr

Herron finished 23rd at The Villages Buffalo Invitational in a time of 22:54.25.

18. Elizabeth Loosli, Buchholz, Sr

Loosli finished 44th in a time of 23.02.6 at the Alligator Lake Invitational.

19. Kenya Daniels, Columbia, Fr

Daniels finished 46th in a time of 23.15.1 at the Alligator Lake Invitational.

20. Gloria Chang, Buchholz, So

Change finished 50th in a time of 23.30.3 at the Alligator Lake Invitational.

21. Morgan Golden, Columbia, So

Golden finished 51st in a time of 23.37.3 at the Alligator Lake Invitational.


1. Emerson Miller, Buchholz, Jr

Buchholz Emerson Miller mug

Undefeated against area competition this year, Miller pinned an L on No. 2-ranked Caden Montini at the Alligator Lake Invitational. His time of 16:35.4 was off his best, but the ease with which he led and then pulled away was impressive—so he jumps two spots to No. 1 in this week’s rankings. 

“It was humid, the course was a bit slow, and the footing wasn’t very good,” he said. “I won, so I came to do what I wanted to do… I wanted to stay in control and not push it too early. In the end, I had enough left, so I was able to go.”

2. Caden Montini, Oak Hall, Jr

Montini held on gamely for second to post a time of 16:48.0 Saturday in Lake City.

“When Emerson and I got to the hill, he got ahead of me a little bit,” he said. “I caught him, but at the end he got me by a little bit. I’ll try and get him the next time.”

3. Wrigley Longstreet, Buchholz, Sr

Longstreet produced another solid finish placing fourth in a time of 17:08.7 at the Alligator Lake event, moving up two spots in this week’s rankings. 

“I’ve been stagnant since my freshman year, but this year I’m full sending it,” he said. “I’m hoping to break 16 by the end of the year. This is my last year, so we’re laying it all out on the line. We have a really good team this year and a really strong chance of winning it at state.”

4. Asher Dobrin, Oak Hall, Sr

Dobrin placed 13th at the Alligator Lake Invitational in a time of 17:40.5.

5. Julian Bautista, St. Francis, Sr

Baustista placed 24th at the Alligator Lake Invitational in a time of 18:06.5, dropping to fifth in these rankings after a one-week stay at No. 1.

6. Mason Kawaja, Buchholz, Jr

The junior finished third in a time of 16:57.1 at the Alligator Lake Invitational. That was a new personal best by 10 seconds.

“It was really a breakthrough race for me,” Kawaja said, noting he was injured all summer and prevented from training. “I’ve been running the past few weeks and just sent it after the mile. I felt really good.”

7. Tony Matchev, Buchholz, Sr

Matchev finished eighth in a time of 17:24.9 in Lake City. It was another solid performance in as many weeks.

“I’m eight weeks back into training after suffering a stress fracture in April,” he said. “I started running in mid-July with 10 to 15 mile weeks—just barely increasing. I’m sure I’ll get there by the end of the season. Maybe sub-16 at Running Lane or Foot Locker. I just have to stay consistent and I’ll be up there with those guys come state and postseason.”

8. Matthew Ortiz, Santa Fe, Sr

Did not compete this weekend and is entered in the Elite division in Saturday’s Katie Caples Invitational at Bishop Kenny High School in Jacksonville on Saturday.

9. Gabe Collante, Oak Hall, Jr

Oak Hall's Gabe Collante

Collante finished 10th in a time of 17:32.9 at the Alligator Lake Invitational. That took 21 seconds off his seasonal best as he finished second best for the Eagles.

“It felt pretty good,” he said after the race. “Lately, in the other races, I wasn’t really in our top five. Coach was saying before the race that he thought I could get in that top three with Asher and Caden. To see that play out was really good to see. Even though it was a slow course today, it was good to get some time down.”

10. Jake Ciocca, Oak Hall, Sr

Ciocca clocked a 17:46.9 to finish 14th at the Alligator Lake Invitational.

11. Riley Smith, Buchholz, So

Smith won the JV race in a time of 17:47.3. That was a new personal best by 2.7 seconds.

12. Phillip Matchev, Buchholz, Fr

Matchev maintained his title as fastest freshman in the area as he blew past Peter Peloso in the last 800 meters. His time of 17:51.4 placed him 17th.

“I’ve been dealing with shin issues, so I wasn’t excepting much today,” he said. “As soon as we started, I felt great. I had my teammate Alan with me the whole way and we just moved up the whole time. I guess I felt better at the end and I finished ahead of him.”

13. Peter Peloso, Oak Hall, Fr

Peloso ran solidly to place 19th in a time of 17:54.4 on Saturday.

“It’s my first year on varsity and it’s a lot faster races and I feel good—really good,” Peloso said. “I think it all started with track last season. That was a real boost. I started trying harder in practice and started getting better.”

14. Finn Smith, GHS, Sr

Gainesville High's Finn Smith

Smith finished 43rd in a time of 8:39.5 at the Alligator Lake Invitational.

15. Alan Qui, Buchholz, Jr

Qui came up big at the Alligator Invitational finishing 20th in a time of 17:55.9. That was a personal best time for the third straight race.

“We went out and thought it was fast, but we saw the time and we started to play catch up,” he said. “There was a team we wanted to beat, so we just tried to catch on to them and beat them and it worked out.”

16. Mark Nance, Buchholz, So

Nance finished 25th in a time of 18:06.9 at the Alligator Lake Invitational.

17. Jack Muir, Buchholz, Sr

Muir finished second in the junior varsity race in a time of 18:18.40 at the Alligator Lake Invitational.

18. Joshua Adolphson, Buchholz, Jr

Adolphson finished 31st in a time of 18:24.6 at the Alligator Lake Invitational.

19. Carlos Segura, Buchholz, Sr

Segura finished 38th in a time of 18:33.6 at the Alligator Lake Invitational.

20. Quinten Dragstedt, Oak Hall, So

Dragstedt finished 42nd in a time of 18:36.4 at the Alligator Lake Invitational.

21. Landon Turley, St. Francis, Fr

Turley finished 46th in a time of 18:42.8 at the Alligator Lake Invitational.

This is the third in the weekly Mainstreet Daily News cross country rankings for area high school runners. To find out the criteria for the rankings, click here

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