LAKE ASBURY – With the Fleming Island High cross country team hosting their own Golden Eagle 5K invitational on Sept. 30 amidst rain, puddles and some high winds, cross country runners around the …
LAKE ASBURY – With the Fleming Island High cross country team hosting their own Golden Eagle 5K invitational on Sept. 30 amidst rain, puddles and some high winds, cross country runners around the county traveled statewide to put their leg muscles up against competition expected in the upcoming district races in the last week of October.
Tops on the list, Fleming Island High seniors Andrew Miller and Evan Fuller, took their game to Lakeland for a shot at the FLRunners.com Invitational 18 Race of Champions festival at Holloway Park on Saturday morning.
In Lakeland, Miller finished 16th in 16 minutes, 43.15 seconds against a field of state ranked runners on an extremely brutal and soppy course with teammate Fuller in 24th at 16:55.61. The overall winner of the marquis race was Trevor Foley, a senior at 1A-Citrus Park Christian School in 15:54.64.
Miller has one of the top times in Class 4A with his 15:47 set a few weeks ago. Fuller has hovered in the low 16 minute range all season. Both were state meet competitors last year.
Foley is the defending Class 2A state champion at 1600 meters on the track with a 4:18.98 best for the event. Runnerup at 16:03 was Benjamin Hartvigsen, a junior at Sarasota High, who was a Class 4A state meet finisher last year.
In third at 16:10.39 was Tristen Montalvo, a 15th place finisher at the Class 4A state meet last year in 16:27 on the very hilly Tallahassee state meet course.
Of the top 10 finishers at the Race of Champions, five were Class 4A competitors.
At Lake Asbury’s Ronnie Van Zant Park, without Miller and Fuller on the Fleming Island roster, the Golden Eagles, with freshman Gage West the top finisher for the Golden Eagles at 17:55 for sixth, won the team title of their own meet ahead of Episcopal.
Episcopal freshman Connor Murphy was the top overall finisher at 16:59 on a course filled with streams, rain and mucky sand in three different spots with teammate Wilson Haynes second at 17:10. Orange Park High’s John Bear took third in 17:15 with Oakleaf’s Dylan Nelson fourth in 17:26. West was sixth with three teammates; Kameron Wallizada, Jayden Scherer and Aidan Amstutz all in at 9-10-11 to shore up the Golden Eagle point total. Oakleaf’s Lewis Williams was 11th in 18:14.
In the women’s race, Episcopal was top team with former St. Johns Country Day School ace Mackenzie Glenn, who lives in Fleming Island, second behind Fletcher’s Liberty Pigg, who won in 19:55. Glenn finished in 20:23 with Fletcher’s Kate Overby third at 20:56.
For Fleming Island’s girls, senior Julie Franzoni was top area finisher in 21;09 with Middleburg High freshman Emma Mussante in at ninth in 22:05.
In the junior varsity girls race, Orange Park Junior High eighth grader Mei Chiang won with an impressive 20:44 split with Fleming Island freshman Emma Millson holding off Green Cove Springs Junior High eighth grader Grace Adams for second in 21:33 to Adams’ 21:36.
For Ridgeview High, who competed at the Lake City Alligator Invitational, junior Joel Nesi took fifth overall in 17:55.10 with winner Micah Hilliard of Suwannee the winner at 17:06.60. Ridgeview also had junior Keith Kelley in at 16th in 18:36.20.
In the girls race, sophomore Anna McGruder was seventh in 22:07.10 with freshman Marisa Kortright 15th in 22:53.
Both Ridgeview teams; boy and girls, finished sixth in team standings.