Snipes chases down second in Bronco Classic

By Randy Lefko Sports Editor
Posted 9/22/21

MIDDLEBURG - Ridgeview High senior cross country runner James Snipes got his shot at an invitational title, but fell just four seconds short at the Middleburg Bronco Classic Saturday morning at …

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Snipes chases down second in Bronco Classic


MIDDLEBURG - Ridgeview High senior cross country runner James Snipes got his shot at an invitational title, but fell just four seconds short at the Middleburg Bronco Classic Saturday morning at Middleburg High School.

Snipes, with a strong first mile, had to fend off Creekside’s front-running duo of Mac Williams and Luke Kaelin in the second half of the mucky, mud-soaked Middleburg course and wound up splitting the Knights’ duo to take second to Williams at the track finish.

Williams pulled away with about a half mile to go and won in 16 minutes, 51.40 seconds with Snipes runnerup at 16:55 and Kaelin third at 16:58.60.

Creekside had a fifth place finisher in Hudson Finocchio in 17:21.60 with Bartram Trail’s Garrett Kauzlarich fourth in 17:08.70.

Creekside wound up team champions ahead of Bartram Trail 28-109 with the Knights putting seven runners in the top 15 places. Fleming Island, led by sophomore John Keester IV’s 17:53.70 for 13th, had three runners in the top 20 to finish fourth in team points behind Bishop Kenny. Ridgeview was sixth with Middleburg, Oakleaf 11th and 12th, St. Johns Country Day School, with state medalist Matthew Stratton cruising with teammates, finished 14th with Clay 15th.

Oakleaf got a top finish from senior Aldrin Pelayo at 19:16.10 for 33rd with Middleburg’s Dylan Anderson 34th in 19:18.10.

In the girls race, Oakleaf High junior Sierra Barrera returned to race mode with a final surge past Fleming Island’s sophomore flash Allie Knotts to steal third place in 21:20 with Knotts in fourth at 21:21.60. St. Augustine’s Reilly Barber dominated from the front to win in 19:55.20 with Providence eighth grader Kasey Davey a distant second at 21:17.40. Fleming island got Katelyn Thompson in the top 10 at seventh in 21:44.40.

Creekside narrowly beat Fleming Island for the girls team title, 61-66 with St. Augustine close for third at 72 points. Fleming Island nearly matched up with Creekside’s top five finishers with two spots separating the top four finishers, but Fleming Island’s fifth runner; Alexis Orr, was five spots behind Creekside’s fifth, Kayla Kastor, but just 11 seconds, to spell the difference.

Ironically, it was Knotts last year who was the difference maker as the Fleming Island fifth finisher at the region 1-4A championship that gave the Golden Eagles the region title over Mandarin.

Middleburg, with lead runner Whitney Mathis in at 26th in 23:02, finished 10th to edge Oakleaf’s 11th place team finish with St. Johns Country Day 13th; all five runners from 63rd to 69th led by Rebecca Stratton and Esse Melicharek, and Ridgeview 14th, led by Ashley Yu’s 64th in 25:03. Orange Park had just two runners; Hope Carter in 56th and Sofia Menendez, 89th. Clay High was led by sophomore Kaygen Williamson’s 24th place finish in 22:57.20 with state meet finisher Savannah Hill 32nd and sophomore Gabriella Barrios 48th. The Lady Blue Devils did not have state meet finisher Ulyana Damme competing.

Two races should dominate the race scene this weekend with the Bishop Kenny annual Katie Caples Invitational and the Embry Riddle Invitational in Daytona Beach.


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