Rheinhardt Harrison and Patrick Koon are two of Florida's top-ranked runners and headline an elite boys field that is not limited on additional big names including Riley Novack, Ethan Lipham, Nick Carpenter, and Justin Wilson among others to put Jimmy Clark's 15:18 meet record from 2010 in jeopardy.
By Kevin Curran, Meet Director of Katie Caples Invite & Bishop Kenny Head Coach
With over seventy schools and two thousand athletes attending, the 2021 Katie Caples Invitational is set to be one of the most competitive in the event's long-running history. Originally named the Greater Jax Invite, the race was renamed in 1998 to honor the memory of Katie Caples a Bishop Kenny cross country runner who passed away due to a car accident during her junior year.
When Katie tragically passed away she was a registered organ donor and that simple compassionate act saved the lives of five individuals and further enhanced the lives of several others. Inspired by Katie's example David and Susan Caples created the Katie Caples Foundation to raise awareness about the importance of becoming an organ donor and established a series of scholarships in her name.
The Katie Caples Foundation believes that anyone and everyone should register to become an organ donor, and Bishop Kenny is proud to partner with Foundation every year by donating all entry gate proceeds collected at the Katie Caples Invitational. This year we would also like to remember and honor Katie's Father, David Caples, who passed away last spring. Katie's incredibly compassionate spirit was a direct reflection of the kind, caring, and positive man that David was.
Tickets for this year's race must be purchased online through the Bishop Kenny Go Fan page or by using the link https://gofan.co/app/events/374027?schoolId=FL17917
For the last 23 years, the level of competition of the Katie Caples Invitational has grown to become one of the premier midseason races in the state. The 2021 Katie Caples Invitational will once again host middle school, junior varsity, varsity, and elite varsity race divisions. While the JV races host many of the top JV programs in the state including top ten ranked JV teams Bolles, Creekside, Satellite, Fort Myers, Nease, Niceville, Bishop Kenny, Ponte Vedra and Bartram Trail, it is the varsity races that will be the highlight of the evening.
In the Girls Varsity race, the Nease girls are favored in the virtual meet, having all five scorers ranked in the top 30, but the Oviedo and Trinity Prep battle for second could propel either team to a winning position. The individual battle looks to be even closer than the team race with the top five ranked girls of Audrey Singletary (Nease), Olivia Kemp (Menendez), Sierra Barrera (Oakleaf), Tessa Massa (Fletcher), and Morgan Cox (Trinity Prep) all within 14 seconds of each other running season-best times between 20:11 and 20:25.
The Boys Varsity race will also see a very competitive individual race with Ben Koppman (St Augustine), Zach Spooner (Matanzas), Donald Dempsey (Bishop Snyder), and Ryan Jones (Menendez) all with 24 seconds of each other having run season-best times between 16:59 and 17:23. The Oviedo boys are the heavy favorites for the varsity team title with their top five runners seeded in the top 25, but Matanzas could pull the upset if their fourth and fifth runner close the gap on a strong 1-3.
The evening gets really exciting when the gun goes off for the Elite Varsity races at twilight. The Girls Elite Varsity race is set to start at 7:00pm in which eight of the Top 25 teams in the state will face off head-to-head with each other, including Bolles (2A #1), Circle Christian (1A #2), Buchholtz (4A #2), Leon (3A #3), Fort Myers (3A #4), Niceville (4A #5), Satellite (2A #2), and Berkeley Prep (2A #4).
The Bolles girls will be resting their top six after a great showing last week at the adidas XC Challenge but expect their excellent depth to still challenge the Circle Christian, Buchholtz, and Leon girls for the Elite Team Championship. Circle Christian looks the favorite due to the depth from their strong 3rd, 4th and 5th runners but both Buchholz and Leon have strong front packs and a breakout race from their fifth girl would see them on top.
Buchholz is strengthened by the individual race favorite Kate Drummond having already run 18:39.0 this year to win the Cecil Summer Classic. She followed up that great start to the season with a runner-up finish at the Bale-N-Trail Original and another win at Alligator Lake, but look for the standout freshman from Episcopal, Lucrezia Gowdy, along with Lily Moore, from Leon, and Reilly Barber, the 2020 Katie Caples champion from St Augustine, to challenge Kate for the individual title this Saturday.
The competition gets even better for the final race of the evening during the Boys Elite Race with thirteen Top 25 ranked teams competing against each other, including Satellite (2A #1), Bolles (2A #2), Berkeley Prep (2A #3), Creekside (4A #4), Bartram Trail (4A #5), Fort Myers (3A #3), Nease (4A #6), Buchholtz (4A #7), Circle Christian (1A #1), Niceville (4A #9), Leon (3A #6), Oak Hall (1A #3), and Chiles (4A #12).
In the team race, all eyes will be on the top 3 teams where Satellite, Bolles, and Berkely Prep will battle it out in a Class 2A Pre-State meet showdown. Satellite comes off an incredible race at the Southern Showcase in Alabama and has already claimed a pair of head-to-head victories against their 2A rivals, but a potentially full-strength Bolles and a rapidly improving Berkeley Prep will be setting their sights on a mid-season upset of the favored Scorpions.
Even more exciting will be the individual Elite race battle where the top twelve runners have all already run sub 16:00 for the season, including top-ranked Riley Novack, from Monteverde, who blazed to an incredibly fast midseason time of 15:07 at the Zak Lucas Invite last weekend to claim his fourth victory of the season.
Victory is by no means guaranteed for Riley. Patrick Koon of Leon is also undefeated having run 15:15 this season, and Reinhardt Harrison of Nease, who has a PR of 14:55, may be looking to finally let loose after racing to comfortable victories at the Bob Hans Invitational and the Bale-N-Trail Original so far this season. The talent at the top and the depth of the competition could see Jimmy Clark's 2010 meet record of 15:18 finally toppled this year, with possible wet conditions being the only damper on fast times Saturday.
ORDER OF EVENTS:
3:00 pm Check-in/CHIP Pick-up
3:30 pm Coaches Meeting
4:15 pm Girls MS Race - 3k
4:35 pm Boys MS Race - 3k
4:55 pm Girls JV Race 5k
5:30 pm Boys JV Race 5k
6:05 pm Girls Varsity Race 5k
6:35 pm Boys Varsity Race 5k
7:00 pm Girls Elite Race 5k
7:25 pm Boys Elite Race 5k
8:15 pm Awards