A small group of Florida teams and runners ventured north to Georgia to race at the Alexander Asics Invitational. The traditionally fast course produced season bests or personal bests across the board for most of the runners competing.
The FL #1 ranked Bolles girls were a runner-up in the championship race with 93 points behind Marietta as the team winners with 73 points. The defending 4A state champions from Buchholz finished third place in the team standings with 126 points. Right behind them was another Florida school in 1A squad Maclay School in fourth place with 129 points.
Jillian Candelino of Bolles won the race with a new 5K personal best run of 17:16 as she outlasted a sub 5 minute miler in Margaret Wade of Savannah Arts Academy (2nd, 17:37) as the next closest finisher on the course. Candelino's senior teammate Ella Mickler also broke 18 minutes for the first time with her 17:50 fourth place run.
The Buchholz girls nearly had 4 runners under 19 minutes on the course led by Kate Drummond in 13th place with a 18:26 PR and followed by teammates Lucy Voss (24th, 18:49), Eleanor Whisler (29th, 18:55), and Emma White (25th, 19:08). Ashley Hamilton broke 20 minutes (57th, 19:43) for the first time as the fifth runner for the reigning 4A state champions.
Led by the Koeppel sisters Susan Gracie Koeppel (12th, 18:25) and Lillian Koeppel (27th, 18:53), Maclay School which has consistently been ranked among the top 10 teams overall in the state, finished fifth in Georgia at the Alexander Asics Invitational.
Coming off a big win last weekend at the Katie Caples Invitational, Emerson Miller of Buchholz had another big performance with his first sub 15 minute performance ever at 14:57 as the race runner-up in the championship boys race. Miller is certainly looking every bit like a favorite to win the 4A boys individual state title in cross country this fall.
Another potential Florida state champion in the race was 19 seconds behind Miller in 9th place with Bolles senior Aidan Ryan. Ryan missed a good portion of summer training due to injury after winning state titles in the spring for 2A in the 1600 and 3200 meter run, but has quickly worked himself back into shape week after week including a 15:16 personal best run in Georgia.
Ryan also led the Bolles boys to a third place team finish and only 18 points off first place with 140 points and a 15:48 team average. Bolles had 4 runners including Ryan break 16 minutes including Christopher Joost (25th, 15:40), Andrew McGraw (36th, 15:51), and Daniel deMonte (40th, 15:56). Parker Adams (69th, 16:16) rounded on the team's top five scoring.