The kick of the meet when it came to the 2021 HOKA flrunners.com Invitational belonged to the battle in the final 300 meters of the race between the top two boys finishers in the mixed elementary school race on Friday evening at Holloway Park in Lakeland.
Reed Hagen, a fifth grader from The Elite Runner Fort Myers club, and Willie McKenney, from the Genesis Athletics club were racing neck to neck as they popped out of the woods section of the course for the final finishing loop.
It appeared that McKenney was making a move to pull away from Hagen, who then found another gear to rally to a 7:26 win against McKenney as a close runner-up time of 7:27 on the 2,000-meter course.
It will be exciting to track both young talented runners' progress over the next few years as they move onto middle school then high school. Maybe the rivalry will continue to be as fiercely contested then as well.