Bolles Bulldog Classic Recap

Bolles Bulldog Classic:
Results - Race Videos - Photos

The Bolles Bulldog Classic on Friday evening once again proved to be one of the top class and quality high school track events in the Jacksonville area drawing in elite talent from other parts of the state as well.

The 4x800 meter relays set the tone for the meet and fittingly by the host school Bolles. The girls 4x800 meter relay team from Bolles anchored by 2A state cross country champion Jillian Candelino pulled away from Oak Hall, Mandarin and the rest of the field for a 9:44 victory. The third leg for Bolles had dig their team out of an early hole to make the job easier for Candelino on anchor with a 2:19 split.

The Bolles boys made it a clean sweep of the 4x800 becoming the first and only team to break 8 minutes in the relay event with a 7:59.29 victory. At the time, their performance ranked US #1, but now sits them second fastest in the country after the week. Aidan Ryan opened up for them with a 1:56 split being pushed to the first exchange by Asher Dobrin for Oak Hall as they front loaded with Dobrin and Caden Montini thru the first two legs to give them the lead at halfway over Bolles and on pace for 7:50.

The more balanced Bolles squad despite not running Colin Duhnoski was able to take back first and create a 11 second gap on Oak Hall (3rd, 8:10) in the final two legs. Creekside moved up late to secure second place in a solid time of 8:03.09.

The girls 100 meter hurdles had the versatile Michelle Smith of Montverde Academy as the overwhelming favorite and lone sub 15 second entrant in the event. The current US leader in the 300 meter hurdles ended up receiving a tougher test from another sophomore in Ellie Smith of Bolles, who was even with her midway thru the race. The St. Croix, US Virgin Islands native Michelle Smith ultimately pulled away with 14.67 victory, but Ellie Smith had a breakthrough time of 14.77 to push her in second place. It would not be Michelle Smith's last win on the day at Bolles.

Santa Fe senior Connor Wetherington, a multi event competitor, has a good chance to rack up more points in his next decathlon when he competes in the 110 meter hurdles after breaking 15 seconds for the first time to win the event in an albeit wind-aided clocking of 14.81.

The winds stayed favorably and at the back for the girls 100 meter dash as Terry Parker sophomore Kayla-Jadyn Cleveland at 11.78 for first place and Mandarin senior Terren Peterson at 11.93 both took advantage of the wind-aded conditions to dip well under 12 seconds for the first time. Cleveland and Peterson are arguably two of the fastest sprinters in the entire Jacksonville Metro area currently. 

The same gusts whipped up for Montverde Academy junior Micah Larry as he simply ran away from the fast heat of the boys 100 meter dash with a 10.63 PR time, which is the fourth fastest time in the state of Florida under all conditions (+2.6 wind aided). Larry also won the long jump with a leap of 6.95 meters at the Bolles Bulldog Classic and remains undefeated in the event for all of 2022 so far. 

The anticipated duel between two of top distance runners in North Florida between Jillian Candelino of Bolles and Kate Drummond of Buchholz went the way of home track advance to Candelino as she pulled away from Drummond and a pack of young stars in the field for a 7 second margin of victory and new personal best by 5 seconds at 5:04.77.

With a 5:00 PR coming into the meet, Drummond faltered back to fifth place in 5:12. Sliding ahead of Drummond included two freshmen talents in Pippa Worden of Ocala Vanguard in 5:11 for 2nd place and Elizabeth McClure of Bolles at 5:12 for 4th place. Only a second a half separated second from sixth place as they finished in a swarm from 5:11 to 5:12.

The 1600 meter run for boys almost saw a major upset pulled off by Creekside senior Jesse Benavides over St. Johns Country Day School and 1A state cross country champion Matthew Stratton. Benavides led and pushed Stratton for much of the race and appeared to have gapped him for good coming off the final turn.

However, Stratton who apparently had to take a break from running due to unknown reasons possibly injury in between the cross country and track seasons found a last reserve to kick past Benavides for a 4:22 win. Benavides coming up just short in second still ran a PR of 4:23.85 on the night. 

The Montverde Academy girls have a lot of new talent on their squad with several star out of state transfers to their boarding school and it was on display in the 4x100 meter relay with the good and the bad. They were fast getting around the track, but the lack of experience and time practicing with each other showed in the first two handoffs.

Despite not having smooth relay transitions, Montverde Academy dominated the race running the top time by nearly 3 full seconds in 47.88. A team that is certainly capable of sub 47 seconds this spring once they get their exchange zones down. 

The Buchholz boys 4x100 meter relay took home first at Bolles with a 43.58 clocking. 

Michelle Smith of Montverde Academy earned her second win on the evening as she followed up her 100 meter hurdles victory disposing of another formidable challenger in Twaneise Johnson (2nd, 57.54) of St. Francis Catholic posting a winning time of 56.42 in the girls 400 meter dash. The versatile Smith later opted to scratch out of the 800 meter as the top seed and call it a day with two wins on a high note.

In the boys 400 meter dash, Bishop Kenny senior Noah Straley got out fast on the field and his top threat in Bolles junior Kavon Miller thru the first 200 meters. Miller had beaten Straley the week before but at 200 meters in the Danny Brown Invite. Miller appeared to be closing down on Straley again in the 400 at Bolles, but Straley's strength pulled thru to hold him off for a new personal best time and win in 48.77. Miller ran a new PR as well in 49.29 in his first 400 of the season. 

The girls 300 meter hurdles lacked any star power or notable entries opening the door for Palatka junior Alleah Ford to secure first in the race with a time of 50.37.

One of Georgia's top hurdlers in Jasai Taylor of Richmond Hill came down to Jacksonville to race in the 300 meter hurdles at Bolles. Last year's Georgia 6A state runner-up in the event with a 37.65 PR, Taylor did not really have the competition to push him on Friday to much faster than the 39.17 performance that he recorded to win at Bolles. 

Mandarin senior Alyssa Wyatt led the girls 800 from wire to wire for a 2:20 win and staying ahead of Oak Hall senior Lauren Jones (2nd, 2:22). Wyatt has had a big jump in performance after last year only running 2:29 for 800 meters and failing to qualify out of her district meet. 

It seemed like deja vu in the boys 800 as for the second year in a row, Nease senior Rheinhardt Harrison won the race with a time of 1:51.92. The hope was obviously to best his PR time from last year's race at Bolles in 1:51.48.

It was a very intriguing race due to the competition joining him between the nation's fastest currently at 400 meters in Zyaire Nuriddin of Montverde Academy for his first 800 ever as well as a late addition in Brooksville Central senior John Carbone after running a 1:55 just last week. After going thru the first 400 meters in 55 seconds, Harrison found both Carbone and Nuriddin clipping at his heels thru the next turn at 500 meters.

At that point, the 4:01 miler Harrison running on the same track that he set the Florida high school 3200 state record last April in 8:47, turned on the jets to drop them and win in a state leading and US #2 time of 1:51.92. Harrison had the top time in the country outdoors for about 24 hours on Friday until Will Sumner ran 1:48.94 on Saturday in Georgia.

Carbone held on for second place in another PR in 2 weeks at 1:55.04, while Oak Hall's Asher Dobrin moved up for third in 1:57 after splitting 1:56 in the 4x800. Nuriddin was 6th in 1:59 and got some valuable training, but will likely stay with 100 to 400 meters being his range for the rest of this spring. 

Nuriddin's teammate Micayah Holland at Montverde Academy got to run the 200 meter dash fairly fresh with only a 4x100 meter leg from earlier on her legs for Friday night at Bolles. The result was the first sub 24 second race recorded by Holland in a slightly wind-aided (+2.3) time of 23.97.

She was pushed by the two finishers from the 100 meter dash earlier in Kayla-Jada Cleveland (2nd, 24.50) and Terren Peterson (3rd, 24.87). Holland's time is third fastest for all-conditions in the state of Florida after holding the US #1 time in the 100 prior to this weekend at 11.64 from the Louie Bing Invitational. 

Noah Straley and Kavon Miller got a rematch after their 400 battle in the 200 meter dash near meet's end and Straley made it two for two on the day as the Bishop Kenny senior rolled to another personal best time with a 21.79 clocking. Palatka senior Hayden Newman (2nd, 22.09) was able to slip in between Straley and Miller (3rd, 22.12) for runner-up honors. 

Kate Drummond of Buchholz bounced back quickly from a disappointing fifth place finish in the 1600 meter run to win the 3200 meter run with a season best time of 11:13. She had two fast freshmen to deal with between Ponte Vedra's Sofia Bushkell (4th, 11:16) pushing her for majority of the race and then Ocala Vanguard's Pippa Worden (2nd, 11:14) closing fast late to grab her second runner-up honor of the meet. Mandarin senior Annie Loehle (3rd, 11:15) also ran a exceptional race to drop a whopping 27 seconds off her prior personal best. 

The most anticipated race of the day was the boys 3200 meter run fast section headlined by two distance runners who qualified for the Eastbay (formerly Foot Locker) Cross Country Nationals this past fall in Michael Toppi of Viera and Patrick Koon of Leon. The talks of chasing sub 9 were in the works when bringing together two runners who ran in the 9:00's last spring.

3A state cross country champion Koon led 4A state runner-up Toppi, 1A state champion Matthew Stratton, and 2A state runner-up Aidan Ryan thru the first 1600 meters at 4:33. Toppi led for the fifth lap before Koon took it back for the next two laps. Stratton and Ryan both hung tough off both as they hit 8:02 with a lap to go.

Toppi ultimately closed the fastest over the last lap to drop a new 3200 PR of 9:03.94, while Koon came across for second place in 9:09.46. Aidan Ryan had a huge PR time drop for third place in 9:11.14 and Stratton donbled back well from his 1600 win in 9:13.73 for fourth place. 

The depth of the field was incredibly with nearly a dozen runners running 9:30 or faster and 27 under 10 minutes in the boys 3200 at the Bulldog Classic. 

The Episcopal girls (4:10) and Mandarin boys (3:30) finished out the meet taking first in the 4x400 meter relays. 

Team winners were the Bartram Trail boys with 95 points compared to Bolles boys in second with 69 points, while the Bolles girls won their home track meet with 129 points over the team likely to challenge them for 2A team title in Montverde Academy with 68 points.

Bolles Bulldog Classic: