Mainstreet Daily News correspondent

Ricky Quintana is a sports correspondent for Mainstreet Daily News. He has 27 years of experience covering cross country in North Central Florida for news outlets around the state and the country.

Buchholz girls cross country team poses after winning meet

The Buchholz girls cross country team poses for a photo after winning the Bobcat Classic at Santa Fe College on Saturday.

Buchholz swept the team titles Saturday morning at the Bobcat Classic at Santa Fe College. It was the first time since 2019 that the course hosted the meet, and the Bobcats easily turned away all contenders.

The girls finished with 54 points, ahead of Oak Hall’s 75. Other area team results included: GHS, 246 (seventh); P.K. Yonge, 296 (10th); Columbia, 310 (11th); Eastside, 340 (12th); Santa Fe, 389 (15th); St. Francis, 396 (17th); and Suwannee, 536 (20th).

The boys finished with 43 points, followed by Vanguard’s 75 points. Other area team results included: St. Francis, 177 (fifth); Eastside, 260 (eighth), GHS, 280 (ninth); Suwannee, 373 (15th); Santa Fe, 441 (17th); Keystone Heights, 451 (18th); P.K. Yonge, 558 (20th); and Columbia, 599 (21st).

On tap for next week is the FSU PreState Invitational at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee on Saturday. This site will host the FHSAA cross country finals on Friday, Nov. 12.

Many teams will travel to this prestigious event to face the fastest teams in the state. The boys will compete at 7:40 a.m., while the girls will compete at 8:05 a.m. Live streaming will be available online. Live results will also appear online.

Now, on to this week’s rankings:

Girls

1. Kate Drummond, Buchholz, Jr

Buchholz runner Kate Drummond leads a pack at Bobcat Classic

Buchholz runner Kate Drummond, followed by Gainesville High's Ani Veltcheva, leads a pack at Saturday's Bobcat Classic. 

Kate Drummond sped to a dominating 26-second win to claim her fourth title of the season. Drummond’s time of 18:35.4 was a personal best and came on a course that had soft spots along the way.

“Honestly, I was pretty surprised with how it went,” she said. “This course usually isn’t my fastest course. I’ve had some really rough races on this course so I was pretty happy with how it went.”

Drummond said she’s also pleased with how the overall season has unfolded so far.

“The Bartram race put me back a little bit. I was a little disappointed after that one,” she said. “After that I’ve been working towards a PR [personal record], and so I’m glad I got one today because I haven’t gotten one since the first race of the season.”

2. Lauren Jones, Oak Hall, Sr

Jones tangled with Drummond in the early part of the race, but dropped off the pace to finish fifth in a time of 19:10.0. Her time was still second best among area runners. Saturday marked the Eagles’ fourth race in as many weeks.

“I think we were all a little tired after racing four weeks in a row. It takes a lot out of us,” Jones said. “I’m still proud of how we did race.”

Jones finished just ahead of Buchholz runner Lucy Voss to hang on to the No. 2 spot for the third straight week.

“I knew towards the end I was thinking points, points….my team just needed these points,” she said. “Whenever she [Voss] tried to pass me at the end, I said I can’t let this happen, so I just gave it everything I had.”

3. Lucy Voss, Buchholz, So

Voss was nipped by Jones at the line but still registered a new personal best of 19:10.1 to finish sixth overall.

“I did a lot better than I thought I would,” she said. “I went out pretty fast and the first mile I saw 5:47 so I was like oh. I did not think I was going to PR down there.”

4. Sydney Miller, Oak Hall, Jr

Miller was one place behind Voss in a time of 19:28.1. She acknowledged that her team did not do as well as it had hoped.

“We knew that this course wouldn’t be as fast as last week’s, because last week’s was super flat and super nice course and we all had a really good race,” she said. “ Sometimes we have off races, but personally I was actually kind of happy with how I ran. I was focused more on passing people again instead of getting passed.”

5. Emma White, Buchholz, So

White was under the weather Saturday, but still managed to finish 10th in a time of 19:41.4. That was good for fifth best among all area runners and moved her into the top five in the rankings.

“I have a little bit of a cold,” she said after the race. “I was a little concerned that it was going to affect my race. I really pushed on the hills and tried to pass as many people as I could. I ended up getting a decent time, so I’m happy with it.”

White said she sees herself making goodsadf progress as the season unfolds.

Emma White of Buchholz runs in the Bobcat Classic at Santa Fe College

Emma White of Buchholz runs in the Bobcat Classic at Santa Fe College.

“I had kind of dropped off after Cecil Field and started running in the 20s,” she said. “I feel like I am starting to get back. I started taking iron again, so hopefully that will start kicking in and that will start lowering my time right around districts, regions and states.”

6. Alivia Dragstedt, Oak Hall, Fr

Dragstedt didn’t have her best race, but she finished just one slot behind Whisler in a time of 20:02. This was her first race over 20 minutes in the last three races.

7. Eleanor Whisler, Buchholz, Fr

Whisler set a new personal best time of 19:55.6 to finish 13th Saturday morning. It was the first time under 20 minutes for the freshman, who jumped ahead three spots in the rankings.

“My mindset coming in was to stay with Emma [White] and stay up there,” she said. “It was kind of easy for the first two miles. Once I got to that third mile my legs were hurting. They were hurting, hurting, hurting. When I finished I could see the finish and I could see my time was under 20 and I just ran as fast as I could. I almost fainted at the end. I fell into one of my coach’s arms.”

8. Ani Veltcheva, GHS, Sr

Veltcheva returned to racing in splendid fashion. Her 20:20.4 was a new seasonal best. She won this race two years ago and entering her final season, she’s aiming to do well.

“I came out there to see what I could do,” she said. “My sister is in town and yesterday we biked 18 miles on the Hawthorne trail. She said, ‘Are you sure you can go? You have a race tomorrow.’ I said I’d be fine, so we biked. My muscles are probably tired, but honestly we came out here to do what we could do and take it out fast and it was fine. I was good with today.”

9. Mackenzie Klein, Oak Hall, So

Klein ran a solid race for the Eagles, finishing 20th in a time of 20:35.4.

10. Ashley Hamilton, Buchholz, Fr

Hamilton had an off day and finished 29th in a time of 21:13.9. It was the first week she failed to improve this season, dropping her one position in the rankings.

“I felt this course was horrible,” she said. “I was doing good for the first mile. I was up with Emma and hit that hill and I was like no way. Eleanor got in front of me and I lost all motivation to keep up and I was dead.”

11. Eliana Eisner, Oak Hall, So

Eisner finished 37th in a time of 21:47.8.

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

Cervantes had a big breakthrough, finishing in her best time of the season at 21:02.0 to take 27th place.

13. Elizabeth Blitch, Santa Fe, Sr

Blitch finished 31st in a time of 21:20.0

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

Cervantes also had a big breakthrough, running a season best time of 21:20.5 to finish 32nd.

15. Catalina Romero, St. Francis, So

Romero finished 33rd in a time of 21:24.0.

16. Lola Murfee, Oak Hall, 7th

Murfree finished 36th in a time of 21:44.9.

17. Elizabeth Loosli, Buchholz, Sr

Loosli finished 41st in a time of 22:02.6.

18. Jemima Tolentino, Eastside, Sr

Tolentino finished 39th in a time of 21:56.8.

19. Audrey Fender, Colombia, Jr

Fender finished 40th in a time of 22:01.6.

20. Gloria Chang, Buchholz, So

Chang finished 43rd in a time of 22:07.0.

21. Macy Morris, Eastside, Fr

Morris finished 44th in a time of 22:28.0

Boys

1. Emerson Miller, Buchholz, Jr

Miller finished second in a time of 16:19.1, retaining the top spot in the area rankings for the fourth straight week. The last time this race was contested at the Santa Fe course, he was a freshman and finished 138th in a time of 21:42.9.

“Coming in I knew [Matthew Stratton of St. John’s Country Day] was going to be fast,” he said. “He ran a really good time last week. I just had my plan to try as hard as I could at our home course. I’m just glad we could put on the event. I’m really glad we were able to win.”

Miller, an Eastside transfer, said a lot of hard work precipitated his huge improvement over the past year.

“I’m glad to have teammates that drive me, a good coach and good parents to support us, so I’m thankful to everyone who could make it happen,” he said. “Last year, I never thought it would have happened. I’ve just been working hard and I’m ready to see what’s in the future. ”

2. Caden Montini, Oak Hall, Jr

The Eagles will compete in the FSU PreState meet next week. Montini should be cleared to run this upcoming week.

3. Asher Dobrin, Oak Hall, Sr

Dobrin did not compete as the Eagles had a weekend bye.

4. Mason Kawaja, Buchholz, Jr

Kawaja did not race because of an illness.

5. Tony Matchev, Buchholz, Sr

Matchev lowered his personal best to 16:29.8 to finish fourth and rise two spots in the rankings.

“I didn’t think I’d PR today, he said. “I thought it would be kind of a slow course because it was wet. We ran here on Monday and it was pouring rain. I felt like we were running in puddles and mud and a creek essentially, so I didn’t think it would be fast, but I always show up at the home meet and somehow PR.”

6. Wrigley Longstreet, Buchholz, Sr

Longstreet lowered his personal best to 16:32 to finish fifth.

“It was mostly about having a good time,” he said. “I was really happy with that [performance]. I owe it to Tony [Mathev] because he helped me at the end. He’s largely responsible for me PRing today. “

Longstreet has battled this season to beat his PR of 16:33 set in the first race of the season.

“It’s been mostly a mental thing,” he said. “In past seasons, I had trouble getting really nervous at the start line. This season I’ve been focused more on having fun before the race and getting more hyped instead of nervous. That helps a lot. It helps me go into the race kind of confident.”

7. Gabe Collante, Oak Hall, Jr

The Eagles had a bye this week and did not compete.

8. Julian Bautista, St. Francis, Sr

Bautista had another solid race, finishing 10th in a time of 16:56.6.

“I think I did well,” he said after the race. “I tried to stick with Buchholz’s Wrigley and Tony. I felt like that was a good goal to try and pace with them. I did that until mile 2 and they started making a move. I slowly did, but again it was a good experience to bump it up and get faster.”

10. Jake Ciocca, Oak Hall, Sr

The Eagles had a bye this week and did not compete.

11. Ryland Kane, Oak Hall, Sr

The Eagles had a bye this week.

12. Peter Peloso, Oak Hall, Fr

The Eagles had a bye this week.

13. Riley Smith, Buchholz, So

Smith did not compete on Saturday due to an illness.

14. Matthew Ortiz, Santa Fe, Sr

Ortiz lowered his personal best to 17:14.0 to take 15th place.

“I’m very happy, very pleased,” he said. “Between SAT and being sick, it’s been a little bit of a struggle. I was excited for this race, but I came here with going out there and seeing what I could do and not really caring about what happened in the end. Just leaving it all on the course… I’m finally back to where I need to be and I feel like I can finally compete again.”

15. Jack Muir, Buchholz, Sr

Muir finished 16th in a time of 17:17.4. It was his best effort since his 17:05 opener the first week of the season.

Muir said he’s been sick and not able to run more than 10 miles per week.

“I’m just getting back into it,” he said. “I’ve just been taking my medicine. I wasn’t doing all the work in the practices, but I was just getting out and doing it.”

16. Finn Smith, GHS, Sr

Smith ran his personal best of 17:19.6 to finish 17th. Smith gave up club soccer and water polo to focus more on cross country this year and has had his best season yet.

“My mindset was I was going to try and PR again,” he said. “I wasn’t sure if the Trinity Catholic course was shorter. Coach doesn’t think it is, but it’s on cement, so it’s fast. This course looked pretty fun, and I heard that it was pretty fast and it seems like it was.”

Smith said his goal was to beat some Buchholz runners, which he did: “I was really happy.”

17. Phillip Matchev, Buchholz, Fr

Matchev finished 18th in a time of 17:21.6. He said the Buchholz team is coming together.

“With this team, anything is possible,” he said. “You go to practice and you expect the best from each other. If someone is dropping off in their mile repeats, you’d say, you got to keep going. It’s a community thing. It’s a team thing. Even when we are hurt, we know it’s our job to keep training when it’s happening.”

18. Alan Qui, Buchholz, Jr

Qui lowered his personal best to 17:24.4 to finish 20th.

19. Joshua Adolphson, Buchholz, Jr

Adolphson finished 28th in a time of 17:55.1.

20. Quinten Dragstedt, Oak Hall, So

The Eagles had a bye this week.

21. Landon Turley, St. Francis, Fr

Turley finished 37th in a time of 18:08.7.

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