Top Races To Watch At Bolles Bulldog Classic

WATCH LIVE: Bolles Bulldog Classic

We preview below some of the featured races and athletes to watch at the 2022 Bolles Bulldog Classic on Friday, March 4th at the Bolles School in Jacksonville.

Boys 3200 

Race Video: Michael Toppi cruising to a 9:20 victory in the 3200 meter last Saturday at the St. Cloud Invite

One of the featured races of the night should be the longest race of the night in the boys 3200 meter race headlined by two Eastbay XC Nationals finalists in Patrick Koon (9:07 PR) of Leon and Michael Toppi (9:08 PR) of Viera as well as the 1A state cross country champion Matthew Stratton (9:12 PR) of St. Johns Country Day. All 3 are capable of pushing for a time close to 9 minutes and potentially breaking 9 minutes potentially this season. Could it happen on Friday night at Bolles?

Koon and Toppi traded several wins over one another during the cross country season. Toppi cruised to a 9:20 3200 last week at St. Cloud Invite, while Koon similarly won an uncontested 1600 last week in Tallahassee to open his season in 4:19 to tune up for this meet. Meanwhile, Bolles on Friday will be the season opener for Stratton. 

The depth of the field behind them is remarkable with 28 sub 10 entrants.

Girls 200

Race Video: Micayah Holland breaking the Louie Bing meet record with a US #1 clocking of 11.64 in the 100 meter dash.

Montverde Academy junior Micayah Holland is the current national leader in the girls 100 meter dash at 11.64 from her Louie Bing meet record performance, but will be focusing this weekend on the 200 meter dash instead as the top seed at 24.20. 

She will be pressed for the win and fast time by two of the fastest sprinters in the Jacksonville area between Terry Parker's Kayla Cleveland and Mandarin's Terren Peterson as sub 25 second performers in the 200 meter dash.

After having to run several rounds with prelims and finals at Louie Bing, Holland should be a lot fresher to run her fastest time yet in the 200 at Bolles and chase after sub 24 seconds. 

Boys 800

Race Video: Rheinhardt Harrison winning the 800 at the 2021 Bolles Bulldog Classic in a 1:51.48 PR

Rheinhardt Harrison clocked his 800 meter personal best at last year's Bolles Bulldog Classic in 1:51.48. The Nease senior is racing in the same event on Friday and will be looking to drop the fastest time outdoors in the event and push for a time at 1:50 or faster. Last weekend, Harrison split a 1:51 on a DMR leg at the East Coast Classic and last month ran a state record 4:01 mile indoors at the University of Arkansas. 

The second fastest seed behind Harrison is an intriguing one in the nation's fastest at 400 meters (46.73) in Montverde Academy senior Zyaire Nuriddin. While Nuriddin has proven his greatness and range from 100 to 400 meters with his times 2 weeks ago at Louie Bing, 800 meters is a fascination unknown of what he can actually run as it will be his first time running the event.

Girls 400

Race Video: Montverde Academy's Michelle Smith posting a national leading time of 41.86 in the 300 hurdles at Louie Bing

The national leader in the 300 meter hurdles at 41.86, Montverde Academy sophomore Michelle Smith will not be racing in her best event this weekend and instead will see what she can do without hurdles in front of her in the 400 meter dash with a 55.83 seed time. 

She will be looking to hold down the fort in the 400 for her teammate Javonya Valcourt, who is still resting from an injury suffered at Louie Bing. Another talent that went down with injury at Louie Bing, but slated and entered to race at Bolles Bulldog Classic is St. Francis Catholic senior Twaneise Johnson with a 54.51 personal best from last year. Hopefully, Johnson is healed up enough to match up with Smith and push each other to a 54 second performance. 

Smith is also entered in the 100 meter hurdles (14.64) and 800 meter run (2:15.84) as the top seed in both at Bolles in another showcase of her versatility. 

Boys 4x800

Race Video: Oak Hall boys winning the 2021 FHSAA 1A boys 4x800 state title

A strong collection of squads will be gathered at Bolles in the boys 4x800 meter relay with the potential to see the first sub 8 minute team and ideally several to go under the time.

Last year's 1A state champions from Oak Hall are the top seed including the likes of Caden Montini and Asher Dobrin to spearhead their lineup. Oak Hall ran 8:10 last week at the Danny Brown Invite.

Meanwhile, the host school Bolles certainly has the horses in the barn to go for sub 8 this spring and win on their home track led by Aidan Ryan. Two other Jacksonville area squads in Creekside and Bartram Trail also should be in contention for the win. 

Girls 1600

Race Video: Jillian Candelino running a 10:48 PR last week at Danny Brown Invite

Two of North Florida's best distance runners will clash in the girls 1600 between Buchholz's Kate Drummond and Bolles School's Jillian Candelino. Both juniors led their cross country teams to state titles this past fall.

Drummond has the fastest PR sitting just above sub 5 at 5:00.70, while Candelino feel is due to blow her current PR of 5:09.71 out of the water right out of the gate this spring and run sub 5 minutes at some point. Candelino ran a 10:48 3200 PR last week at the Danny Brown Invite, while Drummond cruises to a 11:25 win in the same event at the East Coast Classic. 

It would not be surprising to see both being state champions in the 1600 at season's end with Drummond in 4A and Candelino in the 2A. 

Boys 200

Race Video: Kavon Miller and Noah Straley battling to a 1-2 finish in boys 200 meter dash at Danny Brown Invite last Saturday

Four sub 22 entrants in the boys 200 at the Bulldog Classic with an opportunity for someone to establish themselves early as the fastest in Jacksonville.

Between Jeffrey Stiles of Bartram Trail (21.56 PR), Kavon Miller of Bolles (21.75), and Noah Straley of Bishop Kenny (21.79), the top 3 seeds are all from Jacksonville area and among the state's top 10 or 15 fastest in the event currently or returning. 

Stiles was the 4A state runner-up in the event last spring and will be making his season debut at Bolles. Meanwhile, Miller and Straley are coming off a close battle last week at Bishop Snyder in the Danny Brown Invite with Miller (21.75) winning narrowly over Straley (21.79) with personal best clockings.