It was a big day with a lot of fast times here in Tallahassee. Sukhi Khosla opened the day by coming back from behind to out-power the potent field with a a course record 14:59 in the Boys Elite race. Chiles boys upset Belen Jesuit for the team win. In the Girls Elite race, Caroline Barlow broke out with her first major invitational victory over Emily Edwards in 17:53. Estero's girls continued their win streak with the team title.
Complete Results and Coverage Index...
Boys Individual Race Summary by Ricky Quintana
In an interview two weeks ago, Sukhi Khosla’s biggest concern was that he remain healthy for the entire season. Last spring after running 9:17 for 3200m at the Bolles Bulldog meet, he went into a vicious sickness cycle which left him unhealthy and unable to capitalize on his talent the remainder of the season. So, when he awoke earlier this week with a slight cold, he had flashbacks, maybe even nightmares.
“It was kind of scary because last year I ran fast and then I got sick,” said the junior from Leon. Getting help from his mother and taking care of himself was the remedy. So by the start time for the FSU Invitational, the sickness was all gone and he was ready to go.
Fort Myers senior Tyler Bennet learned a few things from the flrunners.com 14 invitational staged two weeks ago: He does not like packs and he wants to dictate his own outcome. So when the gun cracked early Saturday morning for the FSU Invitational, Bennet sprung to the lead, as he had done in his early season victories.
“I was hoping to run 4:40, but I went through in 4:36,” said a satisfied Bennet. He certainly did not have a “pack” with him, but one lone senior, Mac Mcoy of Vestavia Hills decided he was going to stay with Bennet.
Mccoy did not pick up running early on. He instead chose golf. But after being cut from that program, he decided to run. An uneventful freshman year blossomed into a better sophomore year and the rest as they say is history. Like Khosla, Mcooy rarely races. Focusing on this meet and last week’s Jesse Owens’ Classic, he chose not to race in the month of September after a late August season opener. After a win last week and a staple of 70 mile weeks, he was ready for anything.
“I was glad somebody was going to push it early,” said Mccoy, the 2013 FSU Relays 3200m champion in 9:07. “I came to Florida because they have great runners here and I wanted to be pushed.”
Khosla though did not take the bait. As is the Leon way, he went out comfortably, but still in what he thought was a too fast 4:46. He bided his time as the others charged ahead.
Bennet continued to run his own race and with Mccoy right with him, they powered up the hill back to the starting area. As they approached the long straight, Khosla and the pack began to narrow the gap. Khosla, sensing he would draw the pack with him decided to make a move.
Going down the hill near the finish line, he accelerated and gapped the pack closing in on Bennet and Mccoy. It was the most subtle of moves, but by the two mile (9:43), he was right with them; a ten second lead for the leaders now evaporated. The pack too sensed a move was underway and gave chase growing to seven just past the two mile: Tyler Bennet, Sukhi Khosla, Mac Mccoy, Brandon Marquez, Nick Diaz, Nick Morken and Kurt Convey. But the damage of the fast first mile began to take a toll on the group.
Two left turns and a couple of swerves in the course seemed to help Khosla open a slight gap over the pack and then Bennet. Sensing the pace slowing, Kholsa decided to press again approaching the mile marker on the second loop. A shellacking like the one Khosla gave the field at Alligator Lake seemed to be underway. However, the pack regrouped up the hill the second time. McCoy pressed up the hill and brought Morken, Diaz and Marquez with him. As they turned the corner for the home stretch run, Kholsa seemed vulnerable.
“I forgot that they had the finish line a little further down,” said Khosla. “I could hear them say ‘Go Mac, Go Mac, you can still reel him in,’ so I got a little scared.”
“I closed to within five to ten meters, but then down the hill he took off,” said Mccoy.
“Sukhi has that tricky speed,” said Leon Head Coach Andrew Wills. “He can accelerate really quickly.”
And with that final sprint Khosla dipped under 15:00 setting a new course, meet and junior record (FSU Invitational) of 14:59.5 emphatically raising his hands and giving a loud shout just past the finish line. Another huge win against the state’s best.
“I really wasn’t thinking about the time, just getting the win and racing the race,” said Khosla who remained the lone undefeated Florida boys high school runner this year. “When I stepped on the line and saw 59, I was really happy.”
For Mccoy, it was a personal best as well as he placed second in 15:03.3. Bennet, 15:06.7, Morken, 15:07.6, Diaz, 15:07.8 and Marquez, 15:08.5 also set personal bests and rounded out a fantastically fast and deep race which will go down as one if not the fastest in Florida history.
“I still think I have things to work on,” said Khosla. “I went out too fast and I think I went a little too hard and didn’t have enough left at the end. I just have to be careful.”
Four weeks out from the state competition, a lot can happen. But looking ahead when temperatures may be even cooler and the grass thicker, this could be quite a year for Florida boys cross country.
Boys Team Race Summary by Ricky Quintana
Two different plights for the two favorites, Belen Jesuit and Chiles, occurred entering the FSU Invitational. Belen Jesuit flew to Cary, NC and finished 9th. While Chiles, noting the heat of the day, decided that racing conditions were not conducive to an all-out effort at the Jesse Owens Classic in Oakville, AL.
So entering Saturday’s race, Belen had run three straight weeks of tough competition while Chiles had raced one.
“We didn’t change anything this week that we would have normally done,” said Head Coach Scott Gowan. “ We got a chance to run at home and the competition came to us. I told them ‘This is a dress rehearsal, so let’s look good.”
And look good the Wolves did. 10 guys ran their personal best on the home course as the Chiles edged out Belen Jesuit for the team title by 10 points- 165-175.
Senior Cade Zimmerman led the way with a 15:32.9 for 15th place with Avery Bartlett, 15:46.3(22nd), Ty Murray, 16:02.8(42nd), Sean Turner, 16:15.7(54th), Jared Grigas, 16:19.8(57th), Austin Dodson, 16:40.1(87th), Blaine Thomas, 16:41.8(90th), Trevor Knauf, 16:56.1(117th), Jacob Kemp, 16:58.4(121st) and Austin Runtschke, 17:06.8(140th) rounding out the personal best setting performances for the pack.
Belen again posted a strong effort for the third straight week besting their season best team average by 4 seconds to post a solid second.
Ryan Rodriguez posted another great performances finishing 16th in 15:33.6 with Fabian Tomas, 15:50.2(28th), Alex Isaac, 15:57.6(36th), Michael Magoulas, 16:14.0(52nd), Bruno Zayas, 16:29.1(68th), Jaime Lopez, 16:30.4(70th), Joshua Collins, 16:32.0(72nd), Alvaro Mejer, 17:04.3(133rd), Nicolas Roca, 17:15.5(150th), and Omar Rosete, 17:42.7(197th).
“Obviously, the results weren’t what we wanted, but we had a chance to run the course,” said Head Coach Frankie Ruiz. “We’ve been overcoming obstacles all year along. The competition was excellent so I’ll give it to them [Chiles].”
Belen and Chiles were nip and tuck the whole way: One place separated them at number 1 runners, 7 through the number 2 runners, 1 through the number three runners, 1 through the number 4 runners and 9 through their number 5 runners. Ten second here or there were the difference on Saturday.
“There were some nice bright spots, said Ruiz. “ Josh Collins [8th grader] has been a nice surprise. Overall, I am not disappointed. It’s a month away from what we are really geared up for.”
Coach Gowan realizes that the next four weeks could change. They compete in the toughest region in the state, Region 1 Class 3A.
“We probably had an advantage. They traveled eight hours to get here. We slept in our beds,” said Gowan. “They [Belen] have won six of seven past championships. They are what everyone measures themselves by.”
Other teams also staked their claims to the best teams in the state four weeks away. St. Thomas beat out Miami Sunset and Coral Reef, by 65and 71 points to take top honors for the best 4A teams. Trinity Prep, 2A, and Holy Trinity,1A easily outdistanced the best teams in their classifications.
Individually, Nick Diaz’s 15:07.83 to Brandon Marquez’s 15:08.5 for top 4A honors. For class 2A, Leonel Delacruz of Immokalee’s 13th place finish in 15:30.96 was best for the top 2A teams. For Class 1A, Troy Clark of Mount Dora Bible posted a 15:40.9 to beat out a new personal best by 9th grader Trevor Kattenberg of Holy Trinity, 15:48.9, and Joe Janson of PK Yonge, 15:52.7, and Andrew Cacciatore of Holy Trinity,16:00.0, who is nursing a groin injury.
Girls Individual Race Summary by Ricky Quintana
Fort Myers senior Emily Edwards has sorted out the early episodes of post race visits to the medical tent. Having sorted that out, she decided to take the lead in the first mile in 5:32 at the FSU Invitational.
“I went out hard today and then let the pack come to me,” said Edwards of the quick start on the long straight away.
And the pack did. By the mile, Julie Wollrath, Grace Casagrande, and a host of others were within striking distance.
One person who planned to follow the pack was Gulf Coast’s Caroline Barlow. Starting to feel better after a bout with sickness the past few weeks, Barlow intended to hang with the pack. But feeling good it was clear that Barlow was going to play a bigger role in this race.
Just after the mile, Barlow began to mark Edwards’ moves. Up the hill and into the long straight away of the second loop, she and Edwards began to open daylight on the pack, then Julie Wollrath and Grace Casagrande.
Seemingly chomping on the bit, Barlow stayed behind until she started to edge past and then gap Edwards at two miles.
Her gap grew from there as she hammered out the wooded area and up the hill. Barlow powered away down the home stretch to post a 17:54.0 becoming only the second girl runner this year to post a sub 18:00 clocking.
“Last time I ran this course, I ran a huge PR, “said Barlow of her first big meet win. “I was just feeling ready.”
Behind her, Emily Edwards continued to run solidly posting a 18:00.5 for top 3A girl honors with Grace Casagrande of Cardinal Mooney finishing third in 18:07.6 and Julie Wollrath finishing fourth in 18:11.7.
The 2A race is shaping up to be the fastest race of the year with Karen Xiang the only other runner having run under 18:00. For Barlow, she thinks it is going to take faster time to win states.
“I think it is going to take 17:40 to win it,” she said.
Grace Casagrande posted a win over Julie Wollrath for top1A honors. The win was a personal best for the senior. With a month to go, she will have a bulls eye on her back.
“It is definitely going to be different being the target for the state meet,” said Casagrande. “It will be good though.”
Mackenzie Wilson of Bolles took top 2A honors for girls running 18:20.3 to run back surprising 6th grader Tsion Yared of Pine Crest who finished 11th in 18:27.5.
Top 4A honors went to Katrina Santiago of Ferguson who finished 9th in a time of 18:21.1.
Girls Team Race Summary by Ricky Quintana
In the girls’ team race, Estero once again came out on top winning by 17 points and 19 points over Holy Trinity and Winter Park.
“Our kids stepped up today,” said Coach Sommers. But it was not easy. Estero has three runners with different degrees of troubles. The biggest one being Bethany Jenkins who had a wrap around her knee. Jenkins had some meniscus taken out this summer and is running with some knee pain. She ran bravely finishing in 42nd with a time of 19:10.9.
In her stead, Coach Sommers credited junior Megan Slater who posted a personal best by 10 seconds.
“Without her we don’t win,” said Sommers.
“I just wanted to beat my PR, “said Slater whose older sister, Katie, finished 19th in a time of 18:37.6. “ I had a foot injury earlier, but it was a mental barrier. I think I am over it now.”
Holy Trinity had a sensational race to finish second. They rebounded well after a below average race at Great American in Cary, NC last week which was run under stifling hot conditions. An impromptu pep talk by Coach Doug Butler on Friday night before the race also seemed to right the ship.
“I got to the hotel last night after the college races and there was some goofing off going on,” said Butler. “I told them we travel to Great American and travel here for 10 and five hours, for what?”
The team took the talk to heart as they actually were ahead of Estero through four runners, 73-77.
“I said at the beginning of the year that we could have 4 runners under 19 this year,” said Butler. “Three of them did it today with one at 19:00 something.”
Winter Park also proved to be in the thick of things. The Wildcats finished just two points out of second place with their top three under 18:44.
“They ran with a lot of poise today, “said Coach Kristin McWilliams. “I am really proud of them.”
“I told Coach McWilliams [A UF Alum] after the Mtn Dew Invite that they could have the Gator trophy [Given to the third place team] and we’d take a Seminole trophy,” said a smiling Butler.
Bolles won top honors for the Class 2A teams beating Pine Crest.
Caroline Barlow (Gulf Coast HS) 17:53.99 SB; Christina McKinney (Mount Dora Bible School) 19:05.44 SB; Kerstin Sosa (Hagerty HS) 19:08.16;Emily Edwards (Fort Myers HS) 18:00.48 SB; MacKenzie Morse (Lowndes High School) 19:15.40; Abigail Grant (Sickles HS) 19:22.16 SB; Grace Casagrande (Cardinal Mooney HS) 18:07.61 SB; Kaley Doyle (Park Vista HS) 19:19.14 SB; Grace Miller (St. Cloud HS) 19:22.99 SB; Julie Wollrath (Holy Trinity Academy) 18:11.69 SB;Lauren Archer (Ransom Everglades School) 19:22.42 SB; Alexandra Wallace (Chiles HS) 19:25.10 SB; Araceli Leon (Estero HS) 18:14.65 SB; Ania Grzeszczak (Mandarin HS) 19:25.81 SB; Anita Munoz (Immokalee HS) 19:27.59 SB; Emma Rudman (Fort Walton Beach HS) 18:19.81 SB; Karissa Solorzano (St. Cloud HS) 19:28.34 SB;Mary Grace Sonksen (Lyman HS) 19:29.70 SB; Mackenzie Wilson (Bolles HS) 18:20.30 SB; Ashton McMurray (Chiles HS) 19:29.04 SB; Rachel Singer (Winter Springs HS) 19:34.67 SB; Nicole Gardner (Siegel High School) 18:21.14 SB; Sarah Edens (Buchholz HS) 19:38.21; Maggie Parrish (Chamberlain HS) 19:40.29; Katrina Santiago(John A. Ferguson HS) 18:21.84 SB; Audrey Dogan (Leon HS) 19:39.27 SB; Avery Bussjager (Walton High School) 18:24.48 SB; Meaghan Slack (Mandarin HS) 19:39.62 SB; Tsion Yared (Pine Crest HS) 18:27.46 SB; Sydney Guenther (North Port HS) 19:40.55 SB; Madison Harris (Wakulla HS) 18:30.77 SB; Briana Burnett (Timber Creek HS) 19:42.25 SB; Ally Hajda (Bolles HS) 18:31.94 SB; Brenna Johnson (Hagerty HS) 19:44.80; Katherine Kuhn (Winter Park HS) 18:32.67 SB; Brittney Olinger (Oak Hall School) 18:33.42 SB; Julia Montgomery (Pine Crest HS) 18:34.04; Emily Nix (Winter Park HS) 18:35.85 SB; Sarah Candiano (Evangelical Christian School) 18:36.48 SB; Katie Slater (Estero HS) 18:37.58 SB; Denae Chapman (Circle Christian School) 18:38.55 SB; Katherine MacNeal (Cypress Bay HS) 18:40.47 SB; Shelby Smith (Holy Trinity Academy) 18:40.52 SB; Bailey Sullivan (HB Plant HS) 18:41.98 SB; Charlotte Stephens (Winter Park HS) 18:44.00 SB; Emily Chapman (Brevard HEAT) 18:45.54 SB; Daley Cline (Estero HS) 18:46.22; Alexa Cruz (St. Thomas Aquinas HS) 18:47.62; Katherine Jovanovic (Pine Crest HS) 18:48.89 SB; Lourdes Brea (Our Lady of Lourdes Academy) 18:49.42 SB; Maleia Storum (Holy Trinity Academy) 18:49.78 SB; Cheyenne Andrew (Pace HS) 18:50.34 SB; Anna Montgomery (HB Plant HS) 18:52.13 SB; Eden Meyer (Providence School) 18:57.39 SB; Emily Hernandez (John A. Ferguson HS) 18:57.98 SB; Samantha Folio (Holy Trinity Academy) 19:04.19 SB;Lindsay Tomaini (Community School of Naples) 19:05.29 SB; Aylwyn Hernandez (John A. Ferguson HS) 19:05.77 SB; Audrey Carpenter (Ocala Vanguard HS) 19:07.26;Elizabeth Mulford (Ocala Vanguard HS) 19:07.50 SB; Angelina Grebe (Sarasota HS) 19:08.72 SB; Nadiria Evans (Oak Hall School) 19:10.25; Bethany Jenkins (Estero HS) 19:10.94; Brianna Rischar (St. Thomas Aquinas HS) 19:12.00; Rachel Kling (Pace HS) 19:12.57 SB; Margaret Schloss (St. Thomas Aquinas HS) 19:15.41 SB; Ekaterina Loshkareva (Community School of Naples) 19:17.23 SB; Sage Lyons (Sarasota HS) 19:20.87; Rachel Shapiro (Bolles HS) 19:21.24 SB; Sloan Sylvan (Providence School) 19:21.41 SB; Hana Herndon (Winter Park HS) 19:23.98 SB; Megan Slater (Estero HS) 19:25.07 SB; Fatema Jaffer (Lake Mary HS) 19:25.25; Catherine Bunch (Vestavia Hills HS) 19:27.85 SB; Lauren Gavulic (John A. Ferguson HS) 19:30.99 SB; Shelby Guttery (Fort Myers HS) 19:31.70 SB; Morgan Morris (Winter Park HS) 19:31.77 SB;Annie Pentaleri (Bolles HS) 19:33.52 SB; Sarah Carrion (Lake Mary HS) 19:39.81 SB; Emily Stallings (Providence School) 19:40.78; Grace Blair (Oak Hall School) 19:42.36 SB; Talia Carlson (Oak Hall School) 19:44.81;
Sukhi Khosla (Leon HS) 14:59.45 SB; Wesley Norton (Stanton Prep) 15:52.28 SB; Griffith Rutherford (North Florida Christian) 16:10.83 SB; Mac Macoy (Vestavia Hills HS) 15:03.34 SB; James Zentmeyer (Sickles HS) 15:57.98 SB; Franco Martins (Windermere Prep) 16:13.96; Tyler Bennett (Fort Myers HS) 15:06.68 SB; Austin Decker (Bolles HS) 16:00.34 SB; Hunter Scott (Lincoln HS) 16:16.85 SB; Nicholas Morken (Niceville HS) 15:07.57 SB; Gabriel Correa (Ransom Everglades School) 16:00.82 SB; Nick Diaz (Miami Sunset HS) 15:07.83 SB; Nicholas Gonzalez (The Geneva School) 16:06.99; Brandon Marquez (Timber Creek HS) 15:08.51 SB; Jonathan Klumpp (North Broward Prep HS) 16:07.63 SB; Kurt Convey (Coral Reef HS) 15:23.12 SB; James Connor Daughton (Maclay School) 16:11.12 SB; Zackery Summerall (Sarasota HS) 15:25.45 SB; Ryan DeGale (Lake Mary HS) 16:12.21; Kenan Farmer (Walton High School) 15:25.68 SB; Canaan Meester-Kitterman (Bayshore HS) 16:16.09 SB; Mark Robertson (Pensacola Booker T. Washington HS) 15:28.09 SB; Aaron Jane (Mosley HS) 16:17.96 SB; Connor Ferrentino(Freedom HS (Orlando)) 15:30.52 SB; Jadon Long (Lowndes High School) 16:19.12; Derek Barnes (McCallie School) 15:30.86 SB; Michael Sonderegger (Park Vista HS) 16:19.84 SB; Leonel Delacruz (Immokalee HS) 15:30.96 SB; Branden Wolfe (Pace HS) 16:20.67 SB; Eric Tallbacka (Stanton Prep) 15:31.87 SB; Anthony O'Neill(University HS) 16:25.92; Cade Zimmerman (Chiles HS) 15:32.89 SB; Santiago Saiki (John A. Ferguson HS) 16:27.00 SB; Ryan Rodriguez (Belen Jesuit Preparatory School) 15:33.55; Dalton Shelton (Lake Placid HS) 16:29.55 SB; Dean McGregor (Fort Myers HS) 15:35.88 SB; Christian Aman (Lake Mary HS) 16:29.90 SB; Ramsay Ritchie (McCallie School) 15:39.12 SB; Carlin Berryhill (Coral Reef HS) 15:40.38 SB; Troy Clark (Mount Dora Bible School) 15:40.88 SB; Adam Bradtmueller (Sarasota HS) 15:45.73; Avery Bartlett (Chiles HS) 15:46.33 SB; Andrew Iglesias (Pembroke Pines Charter HS) 15:46.85 SB; Blake Riley (Sarasota Riverview HS) 15:47.95 SB;Carlos Ramos (Timber Creek HS) 15:47.97 SB; Trey LaNasa (Fort Walton Beach HS) 15:48.73 SB; Trevor Kattenberg (Holy Trinity Academy) 15:48.89 SB; Fabian Tomas (Belen Jesuit Preparatory School) 15:50.17; John Weaver (Mandarin HS) 15:50.84 SB; Sam Mack (Mandarin HS) 15:52.01 SB; Joseph Janson (P.K. Yonge School) 15:52.72 SB; Anthony Deleva (Coral Glades HS) 15:53.13 SB; Manuel Velasquez (St. Thomas Aquinas HS) 15:53.98; Ronny Greenup (Miami Sunset HS) 15:55.20 SB; Alexander Haugen (St. Thomas Aquinas HS) 15:57.09 SB; Alex Isaac (Belen Jesuit Preparatory School) 15:57.55 SB; Bryce Vokus (Sarasota Riverview HS) 15:57.93 SB; Charles Shackelford (Fort Walton Beach HS) 15:58.08 SB; Warran Grajalez (Sarasota Riverview HS) 15:58.24 SB; Andrew Cacciatore (Holy Trinity Academy) 16:00.03; Urias Velasquez (Immokalee HS) 16:01.96 SB; Ty Murray (Chiles HS) 16:02.76 SB; Bryce Statham (St. Thomas Aquinas HS) 16:05.46 SB; Demery Benedict (Fort Walton Beach HS) 16:07.06 SB; Jordan Armstrong (Lyman HS) 16:08.20 SB; Joshua Jacques (Lyman HS) 16:09.36 SB; Carlos Penaranda (Pembroke Pines Charter HS) 16:09.52; Kenneth Castro (Miami Sunset HS) 16:11.72 SB; Chas Cook (Trinity Prep) 16:12.08 SB; Wil Luca (Leon HS) 16:12.78 SB; Tyler Fabacher(Fort Walton Beach HS) 16:13.62 SB; Michael Magoulas (Belen Jesuit Preparatory School) 16:14.04 SB; Peyton Price (Vestavia Hills HS) 16:15.23 SB; Sean Turner(Chiles HS) 16:15.71 SB; Michael Nazareth (Timber Creek HS) 16:19.13; Dillion Vallette (Estero HS) 16:19.15; Jared Grigas (Chiles HS) 16:19.77 SB; Brandon Drumm(Sarasota HS) 16:20.40 SB; Matthew Butler (St. Thomas Aquinas HS) 16:23.00 SB; Andrew Singh (Walton High School) 16:23.23 SB; Dylan Carmack (McCallie School) 16:24.04; Adam Lawrence (Dr. Phillips HS) 16:25.15; Jesse Millson (Trinity Prep) 16:25.72; Matthew Jones (McCallie School) 16:25.98 SB; Joey Maus (St. Thomas Aquinas HS) 16:27.79 SB; Paul Reggentin (Trinity Prep) 16:28.15; Carlos Lopez (Coral Reef HS) 16:28.59; Bruno Zayas (Belen Jesuit Preparatory School) 16:29.12 SB;Frank Clemens (Fort Walton Beach HS) 16:29.94 SB;