Emerson Miller of Buchholz made one of the biggest jumps into our latest top 25 rankings (unranked to #13) as who could have predicted someone who ran only 17:08 for 5K last fall to suddenly be running a huge 15:50 PR racing right with some of the state's very best at Cecil Field this past Friday.
An updated flrunners.com top 25 boys individual cross country rankings for the entire state of Florida after the first official week of meets in the 2021 season.
1. Rheinhardt Harrison (Nease) - The recent University of Oregon commit Harrison has not raced yet, but is planning to open up locally this weekend at the Bob Hans Invite at Ridgeview High in Orange Park. He has a much stronger base of training from this summer compared to the past including a training camp in Flagstaff.
2. Patrick Koon (Leon) - Koon put on a show at Cecil Field racing against more than a handful of top 10 ranked caliber runners in the state pulling away with a 15:15 course record PR performance. The sophomore looks like possibly the only runner in the state right now that could challenge Rheinhardt for the top spot.
3. Matthew Stratton (St. Johns Country Day) - Grabbing runner-up honors in the loaded Cecil Field race was Stratton, who clearly has kept the momentum going from his PR filled track season by running another one to start XC with a 15:21 5K. Appears to be the heavy favorite right now to win 1A.
4. Adam Magoulas (Belen Jesuit) - The senior and his Belen Jesuit team were not with everybody else at Cecil Field, but were impressive in their smaller field to open with at Kowboy Invite racing against tough competition from Georgia in Mill Creek. Magoulas running 15:38 in his opening win on a slower course than Cecil for the win puts him right with the best in the state.
5. Nick Carpenter (Trinity Prep) - Carpenter matched up well against two potential state champions this fall in Koon and Stratton this fall while making a case for himself as well to be the initial front runner for the 2A title with his third-place effort of 15:26 at Cecil Field. He finished ahead of Satellite's Wilson and the best from Bolles who are among the best in his classification.
6. Michael Toppi (Viera) - An unfortunate fall in the first 300 meters of the race at Cecil Field in which Toppi got trampled dashed any opportunity for him to compete for the win and challenge Koon. However, Toppi showed great resiliency and toughness to get back up and manage to finish fourth place in 15:38. If given another opportunity and fair start, Toppi likely could have picked off some of the runners who finished ahead of him.
7. Justin Wilson (Satellite) - After a workmanlike performance in the mud and rain at the Wickham Park Jamboree with a 16:10 run in mid-August, Wilson lowered his season-best time significantly with better conditions at Cecil Field with a fifth-place time of 15:44. Lost contact with the top group mid-race, but still has time to close the gap on the likes of Stratton in 2A by season's end to compete for the state title.
8. Ethan Lipham (Berkeley Prep) - Lipham makes for the third runner out of the 2A classification ranked among the top 8 places. Deservedly so after a very strong season opener at the Babe Zaharias Twilight Challenge on Friday in a new 5K personal best victory of 15:43. Both meets were run on flat fast golf courses, so Lipham's time is probably close to the equivalent of a similar time if not faster at Cecil Field.
9. Colby Robbins (Sunlake) - The best performance on a tougher course certainly belonged to Robbins of Sunlake clocking a 16:18 victory at Holloway Park on a warm day for the Jim Ryun Invite. He was battling thru much of the race with teammate Alex Pena, who unfortunately dropped out due to injury before Robbins finished off the race with a decisive win.
10. Tyler Wadsworth (Port Charlotte) - Wadsworth has not raced yet but will open this weekend at the DDD Somer Invitational against a strong field including #12 ranked Colsen Palmer and #15 ranked Kolton Pickard that will determine early season bragging rights for the top runner in Southwest Florida.
11. Riley Novack (Montverde Academy) - A strong debut for Novack at his new school winning by over 50 seconds at the Whispering Pines Invite with a 16:15 performance on a fair 5K course. He will be a heavy favorite to win again this weekend at Winter Springs Invite.
12. Colsen Palmer (Fort Myers) - Palmer had a big opener two weeks ago at the Dunbar Tigers Jamboree breaking 16 minutes for the first time with a 15:59 victory on a fast course. He will get another chance to run fast with even stronger competition in fellow top 25 ranked runners Wadsworth and Pickard at the DDD Sommer Invite.
13. Emerson Miller (Buchholz) - Not really on anyone's radar coming into the cross country season after running a 5K best of 17:08 last fall with modest track bests of 4:30 in the 1600 and 9:53 in the 3200, Miller shocked all by running 15:50 at Cecil Field for sixth place ahead of several preseason top 25 ranked runners. A big jump from being unranked to 13th best in the state by the junior from Buchholz.
14. Kolton Pickard (Estero) - Running on a lot slower course to open than many others the prior weekend in Southwest Florida at the Dunbar Jamboree, Pickard looked strong and fit in winning the Lehigh Lightning Invite with a time of 16:34. Certainly appears ready for sub 16 on a faster course, but Pickard will have an even tougher course next on Saturday with his home course at Estero going against Wadsworth and Palmer.
15. Albert Tawil-Brown (HB Plant) - Tawil-Brown had one of the bigger break out runs from this past weekend in his first cross country race for Plant (previous at Tampa Prep) by running a new personal best time of 15:52 in a runner-up finish and 9 seconds off race winner Lipham at the Babe Zaharias Twilight Challenge. A 17:14 5K performer and 34th place state meet finisher in 2A last fall, the junior has improved quite a bit since then.
16. Dayton Law (Satellite) - Justin Wilson was going to be the clear front runner for defending 2A state champions Satellite, but remained to be seen who would step up after him. It appears Dayton Law answered that call by breaking 16 minutes for the first time with a 7th place finish of 15:56 at Cecil Field this past Friday and finishing ahead of all the runners from Bolles, who will be their biggest threats to repeat as 2A state champs.
17. William Brady (Bolles) - Brady was the top finisher for the Bolles boys on Friday at Cecil Field with a strong opening 15:58 performance for 8th place. His 5K best time of 15:43 came at FSU Pre-State last fall before finishing 3rd in the 2A state race. Right now he sits as the 5th highest ranked 2A runner among a very competitive classification.
18. Caden Montini (Oak Hall) - The outdoor 3200-meter state champion in 1A kicked off his cross country season by breaking 16 minutes for the first time with a 15:58 run to slip inside the top 10 at the stacked Cecil Field meet. Montini will be racing next at the Florida Horse Park Invite.
19. Cameron Raney (Viera) - Raney mixed up the typical pecking order for Viera moving ahead of teammate and usual #2 runner Naberhaus at Cecil Field with his first sub 16 minute range in a 15:59 effort for 10th place. Raney and Naberhaus collectively made their squad's top 3 so strong to elevate them to team victory against the stout field. They will be tough to beat if they keep three runners consistently considered among the best 25 individuals in the state.
20. Jake Rogers (Leon) - After being absent during track season, Rogers made his return to cross country racing and was not too far off where he left off last November. The third place finisher in the 2020 state race for 3A with a 15:46 PR, Rogers was only 15 seconds off that time in his opening race of the cross country season with an 11th place finish of 16:01 at the Cecil Field Summer Classic.
21. Wyatt Townsend (Chiles) - Chiles has two strong runners in Townsend and Ben Kirbo, but appears Townsend starts this season in the best shape after winning the Dueling Summits meet in Tallahassee over the weekend with a 16:31 victory. Both All-State caliber returnees in 3A, Townsend was 18 seconds ahead of his teammate Kirbo in the low key opening race for them.
23. Robbie Naberhaus (Viera) - What seemed like a slightly off race for Naberhaus on Friday at Cecil Field was actually his second fastest 5K time ever with a 16:05 effort to garner 12th place in the deep field. His only faster time came at the RunningLane Champs last post-season in 15:46. Expect to see him consistently running sub 16's later this season.
24. Raekwon Hopkins (Alonso) - After making solid gains during the track season running PR's of 4:27 in the 1600 and 9:53 in the 3200, Hopkins showed in his opening race at Babe Zaharias Twilight to look out for him as one of the top runners in the Tampa Bay area with his third-place personal best run of 16:15.
25. John Carbone (Brooksvile Central) - A runner-up time of 16:36 in adverse conditions at the Wickham Park Jamboree in mid-August by the sub 4:20 miler Carbone indicated he has put in the work over the summer to be very competitive this fall. He was actually challenging another 2A star in Novack at the Whispering Pines Invite before dropping out, but no injury was suffered and is back training already.
Just missed the cut: Alex Pena (Sunlake), Kirin Karver (Berkeley Prep), Brayden Seymour (Hagerty), Mateo Luna (Indian Rocks Christian), Jonathan Tutton (Pensacola Christian), Ryan Douihech (West Boca Raton) Anthony Matthew (Martin County), Colin Duhnoski (Bolles), Bernardo Barnhart (Palmetto Ridge), Joshua Ruiz (Belen Jesuit), Ben Kirbo (Chiles), William Stone (Osceola)