The New World Fall Spectacular course was built for fast times and it delivered on Saturday morning. Long straightaways and few turns led to fast times for Oak Hall, Santa Fe and St. Francis at the meet in Jacksonville.
The Oak Hall girls picked up a win in the team competition, edging Ponte Vedra by two points, 65-67. St. Francis finished 18th. In the boy’s competition, Oak Hall finished fifth without Caden Montini, who was nursing tendonitis in his foot. St. Francis finished ninth and Santa Fe 29th.
The P.K. Yonge girls team picked up a win at the Bradford Invitational over Suwannee, 21-92. Branford was third with 107, Bradford sixth with 136 and Keystone Heights eighth with 170.
On the boys side, Suwannee was second with 47, Keystone Heights finished fifth with 115 and P.K. Yonge sixth with 121.
The Bobcat Classic is this Saturday at Santa Fe College. Nearly all area teams are entered, so expect a great battle. The boys race starts at 8 a.m., followed by the girls at 8:30 a.m. Results will be posted here.
Now, on to this week’s rankings. If you need a refresher, we have written previously about the criteria for these rankings.
1. Kate Drummond, Buchholz, Jr
No one in the area has been able to beat this junior all season. The Bobcat Classic is up next with an expected clash with Oak Hall, which has significantly improved this season.
2. Lauren Jones, Oak Hall, Sr
Jones finished second with a season best time of 18 minutes, 23 seconds at the New World Fall Spectacular. She led for most of the race before being passed in the last half mile by Ponte Vedra’s Sofia Bushkell, who won in a time of 18:17. Jones improved 39 seconds over last week and broke the area’s best time—previously held by Drummond—by 16 seconds.
“I had a new plan this race,” Jones said. “I went out there and took the lead and didn’t start my watch until 400 meters into the race because I wanted to get an accurate pace because everyone sprints out in the first 400 trying to get a different spot. I think it really helped a lot. I had to stay within a pace and I knew if I had to speed up or slow down. It was probably one of the smartest races I’ve run in a long time. I was really happy with my time.”
3. Lucy Voss, Buchholz, So
Voss sat out this week, but will have her hands full with area competition next week.
4. Sydney Miller, Oak Hall, Jr
Miller knocked off another 22 seconds with a personal best of 19:07 to finish ninth at the New World Fall Spectacular. That’s the third best time in the area this year.
5. Alivia Dragstedt, Oak Hall, Fr
Dragstedt narrowed the time gap between herself and Miller from 29 seconds to seven seconds in one week. Her time of 19:14 was 44 seconds faster than last week’s Katie Caples Invitational mark and is the fourth fastest time this season by an area runner.
6. Emma White, Buchholz, So
White took a scheduled break from racing this week. She’s been one of the area’s best and will get tested by an up-and-coming Oak Hall team.
7. Eliana Eisner, Oak Hall, So
Eisner shot up five places from last week’s rankings after posting a lifetime best of 19:14 at the New World Fall Spectacular. It knocked off 2 minutes and 4 seconds from her season-best time and 54 seconds off her previous lifetime best of 20:48 set as a seventh grader.
“This season I’ve been having kind of trouble and this race just really helped me break through that wall,” Eisner said. “It was a really nice course and really nice conditions. My girls really pushed me today. I was following after Alivia. It was a great race.”
Eisner has stayed with the top three in practice, but it hasn’t resulted in being able to stay with them in races. Saturday, she was able to improve significantly.
“Last season I had a really tough season,” she said. “My legs weren’t as strong as they should have been. Just wasn’t racing well. Over the track season and over the summer, I’ve just been strengthening a lot and working on it.”
8. Mackenzie Klein, Oak Hall, So
Klein streaked to 19:57 time to finish 26th Saturday at the New World Fall Spectacular. That lowered her best time by 37 seconds. At last year’s state cross country championship, Klein was a key scorer in helping the Eagles win a state championship.
“We’ve been training really hard the past week, so that really helped,” Klein said. “We had really hard morning practices on Tuesday and Wednesday. That really helped my race, I feel like. It’s all about really training hard and working hard for it. I feel like it was time to run faster.”
“It’s been really hard to run that time [20:34 from last year’s state championship]. I felt really confident this race was where I was going to break that PR. I didn’t realize how much faster that would be of a PR for that season. I think I had to work up to my training. Coach has been training us really well. It just takes me longer to reach that. I just feel like it was a matter of time.”
9. Ashley Hamilton, Buchholz, Fr
Hamilton, who had the weekend off, gets knocked back a few slots in this week’s racing. With a week’s rest, she will have a good opportunity to run under 20 minutes on her home course.
10. Eleanor Whisler, Buchholz, Fr
Whisler will team up with Hamilton once again to try and lower her personal best below 20 minutes. The young duo have the two biggest races of the regular season coming up so they’ll need to step up to develop a sound racing strategy heading into the state series.
11. Ani Veltcheva, GHS, Sr
Veltcheva has not raced in two weeks. In that time, everyone has gotten faster. She’ll get an opportunity to see if she can keep up with the area’s top runners.
12. Elizabeth Blitch, Santa Fe, Sr
Blitch lowered her seasonal best time to 20:57 at the New World Fall Spectacular Saturday morning. She is now within 13 seconds of her personal best of 20:44 set in 2020.
13. Lola Murfee, Oak Hall, 7th
Murfree lowered her best time to 21:03 to finish 54th at the New World Fall Spectacular. That took off another 36 seconds from her personal best.
14. Catalina Romero, St. Francis, So
Romero returned to action posting her best time ever at the New World Fall Spectacular. Her 21:11 placed her 61st and was a personal best by 22 seconds.
15. Elizabeth Loosli, Buchholz, Sr
Loosli was off this week and will look to get back to competition in the highly competitive Bobcat Class and FSU PreState Invitational in the next two weeks.
16. Paulina Cervantes, P.K. Yonge, 8th
Cervantes won the Bradford Invitational in a time of 21:49.10 Saturday morning in Starke. A big breakthrough may be on the horizon in this week’s Bobcat Classic.
17. Ellie Cervantes, P.K. Yonge, 8th
Ellie finished second at the Bradford Invitational in a time of 21:58.76. She too is due for a big breakthrough.
18. Jemima Tolentino, Eastside, Sr
Eastside took the weekend off and is scheduled to race in the Bobcat Classic this Saturday. Tolentino will aim to be in the mix.
19. Gloria Chang, Buchholz, So
Chang will look to lower her time once again on her home course.
20. Millie Adin, St. Francis, Sr
Adin ran her best time of the season at the New World Fall Spectacular. Her time of 22:22 was good enough for 100th place and was a season best by 40 seconds.
21. Annie Riding, Buchholz, So
Riding will look to keep her place in the rankings this Saturday at the Bobcat Classic against many area rivals. There are 10 runners within striking distance to breaking into the rankings.
1. Emerson Miller, Buchholz, Jr
Miller is undefeated this season, despite fending off nagging injuries. With the week off, he should be able to get in some healing time and gear up for the Bobcat Classic on his home course.
2. Caden Montini, Oak Hall, Jr
Montini did not race this week due to tendonitis in his foot. He is looking to be cleared to run this week. The Eagles will not run this week’s Bobcat Classic and will turn their sights to the FSU PreState Classic in two weeks.
3. Asher Dobrin, Oak Hall, Sr
Dobrin lowered his personal best to 16:20 at the New World Fall Spectacular leading the Eagles to their top team showing of the year.
“Today we tried a new race strategy that Coach Mac thought of,” Dobrin said. “I focused on running even splits. I went out slower than I have done in the last two races. I ended up hitting the two mile where I should be. I ran exactly even this time which was much more manageable for me. It was a PR. I am really excited about that.”
4. Mason Kawaja, Buchholz, Jr
The Bobcat junior is having his best season yet and gets a chance to run near the front in this week’s Bobcat Classic.
5. Wrigley Longstreet, Buchholz, Sr
Longstreet has seen his teammates close down on him after he opened with a 16:33. In interviews, he said he is happy for his teammates, but the Bobcats will need him to improve over the next two weeks to have a chance at the state title or runner-up finish.
6. Gabe Collante, Oak Hall, Jr
Collante made a huge jump this week. His 16:36 at the New World Fall Spectacular was good enough for 28th place. The time was a personal best by 36 seconds and was the first time he had gone under 17 minutes.
“We knew it was going to be fast,” Collante said. “We saw schools like Leon and Nease were going to run. It wasn’t local, but we wanted to see where we are in other parts of the state that we don’t get to see a lot.”
He noted the team had a lot of personal bests.
“Instead of running different paces like we were doing the last few races, coach said hit the mile mark at this time and make sure you all stick together,” Collante said. “We’ve been really good through the two-mile mark, but it is the last mile that we need to work on. We did that and it worked super well.”
7. Tony Matchev, Buchholz, Sr
Collante matched Matchev’s best time set last week at the Katie Caples Invitational, so now they are tied. The Bobcat Classic is up next and Matchev should get a chance to break his best of 17:17.14 set in 2018 when he was a freshman.
8. Julian Bautista, St. Francis, Sr
Bautista bounced back from some poor races to record his personal best time of 16:37. That was a 12-second improvement over his best this season and an 11-second improvement over his personal best set last year at state.
“Going into this senior year, I felt there was a mental pressure that I owed this team to be a good example and good role model,” Bautista said. “In doing so, I forgot the rhythm, focusing and stayed relaxed. I lost my head in a couple of races and chased the time and that threw me off. I was able to bounce back since Horse Park and refocus and refind my plan and strategy and go back and do what I do.”
9. Jake Ciocca, Oak Hall, Sr
The senior produced a personal best finishing 31st at the New World Fall Classic in a time of 16:42. That was nine seconds faster than his previous best from last week.
“I’m not sure why I was too slow at the beginning of the season,” Ciocca said. “We were doing difficult courses. I’ve always struggled with stomach cramps, and I had those pretty bad at the beginning of the season. Normally through the season I just adapt and figure that out. I’ve just been improving or at least trying to improve.”
10. Ryland Kane, Oak Hall, Sr
Kane finished 35th at the New World Fall Spectacular. His time of 16:54 was a personal best by 25 seconds. It was his first time in under 17 minutes.
11. Peter Peloso, Oak Hall, Fr
Peloso finished 55th in a time of 17:11 at the New World Fall Spectacular. That was 19 seconds better than his time last week at the Katie Caples Invitational—and the fastest by a freshman this season.
12. Riley Smith, Buchholz, So
The landscape has changed after the fast times on the New World Fall Spectacular course. Smith has been slowly progressing. He ran a 4:27 [in the 1600-meter run] as a freshman in last year’s 4A state track and field finals, so he has a huge upside. That time equates to a 15:26 for a 5k race. The Bobcat Classic and FSU PreState meets will give him great opportunities to access those talents.
13. Phillip Matchev, Buchholz, Fr
Matchev’s season best of 17:21 fell as the top freshman time [behind Oak Hall’s Peloso]. He’ll get a chance to better that time at the Bobcat Classic and will have a head-to-head matchup with Peloso at the FSU PreState meet.
14. Matthew Ortiz, Santa Fe, Sr
Ortiz did not compete at the New World Fall Spectacular due to taking the SAT. He’ll be back next week at the Bobcat Classic to face the area’s best.
15. Alan Qui, Buchholz, Jr
Qui’s 17:30 at the Katie Caples Invitational was a big personal best. He’ll have two races of good competition and may get under 17 minutes when all is said and done.
16. Joshua Adolphson, Buchholz, Jr
Adolphson has improved all season long posting a best of 17:32 at the Katie Caples Invitational last week. The Bobcat varsity is a tough team to make and Adolphson will need to improve a bit to make the starting seven.
17. Quinten Dragstedt, Oak Hall, So
Dragstedt’s 17:32 at the Katie Caples Invitational held up this week as he managed a 17:51 at the New World Fall Spectacular.
18. Finn Smith, GHS, Sr
Smith’s adjusted time of 17:36.1 from last week held up to the onslaught of fast times this weekend. He’s improved steadily this season and will have an opportunity to produce another fast time at the Bobcat Classic.
19. Landon Turley, St. Francis, Fr
Turley posted a 17:38 at the New World Fall Spectacular. That was good enough for 62nd and helped the Saints move up to a No. 6 ranking in the flrunners.com 1A rankings.
“I’m happy about it,” Turley said. “I am mostly focused on the competition. I was happy that I was able to run with the team because we all kind of came together. We kept passing people and I’m happy about that. We kind of proved to ourselves that we are ready to keep doing that for coming races.
“It was great to see the time on the clock. I was really happy. I was also happy for my teammates because they were all right behind me. It was a PR for them as well. It was great for our entire team.”
Turley has exceeded expectations this season. His 11:14 at the 3k distance in cross country at Queen of Peace equates to an 18:07. He shattered that Saturday. His outstanding freshman season has surprised him: “I was kind of thinking [I’d] ease into cross country moving up from middle school. It’s been great to have the season we’ve had so far.”
20. Mark Nance, Buchholz, So
Nance’s 17:41 also held up this week. With 10 runners allowed to run per varsity race, Nance will have the opportunity to vie for a varsity top seven at the Bobcat Classic.
21. Carlos Segura, Buchholz, Sr
Segura holds on to the last spot in the rankings with his 17:45. Behind him are a pack of [Saint Francis Catholic] Wolves who ran their best Saturday at the New World Fall Spectacular and will be in this week’s Bobcat Classic.
This is the fifth in the weekly Mainstreet Daily News cross country rankings for area high school runners. To find out the criteria for the rankings, click here.