The results from the FSU Pre-State Invitational carried a lot of weight in these updated rankings with a few exceptions of those that did not attend as well as those who may have had either bounce back performances or simply ran exceptionally fast times since then that cannot deny their current level of fitness.
The district week saw many fast outlier performances from several runners and teams. Was it the cool weather, short courses, or athletes and teams peaking at the right time? Might be a combination of all.
The girls in particular saw quite a few first timers breaking 18 minutes for the first time including Addison Dempsey, Lindy White, and Malinda Underwood. A little gun shy to make drastic moves for any with outlier performances, especially when having solid head to head pecking orders from FSU Pre-State only two weeks prior to look at. However, Dempsey who did not race at FSU Pre-State made the biggest jump in the rankings as her performance at North Port in 17:27 was only 12 seconds slower than the season best performance of top ranked Eliana Black on the same course earlier in the season at 17:15.
Another storyline in these rankings especially for the individuals is the quality of the runners not ranked. There are a lot of runners if these lists were extended to #26-50 can easily see many of them with a great performance or win sliding quickly back up into the top 15 or 20. Just shows how tightly bunched the top tier talent is currently in the state of Florida.
As exceptional as Creekside has looked this season, Belen Jesuit has been just that more impressive including a dominant win at FSU Pre-State Invitational against them and the rest of the elite field in Tallahaseee. They look untouchable for the #1 spot.
The 4A classification in general though dominates the boys team rankings with 8 of the top 13 positions for all classes and just shows how much of a logjam exists of more than a handful of quality teams vying to join likely champion Creekside on the podium as the state runner-up squad. Plant is making a push after a district win over Sunlake and finishing 4th at FSU Pre-State ahead of Viera, Sunlake, Columbus, Buchholz, Hagerty, Niceville, and Ponte Vedra.
The #1 spot for the girls seems a bit more vulnerable as of late and it is not due to anything that the Bolles girls have done wrong, but how another Jacksonville metro team in defending 3A state champions Ponte Vedra has come on strong as of late including a runaway team win at FSU Pre-State Invitational and then dropping their team average down to 18:30 on a fast district meet course at Matanzas.
The teams match up fairly well. Bolles appears to still have the advantage in the #1 and #2 spots with Jillian Candelino and Ella Mickler despite sub 18 performances from Lindy White and Daisy Ross, but the #3 to #5 spots seem to the toss up battle ground spots between those teams to decide who is ultimately the best team in the state of Florida.
Ponte Vedra #3 Sofia Bushkell (18:20 SB) versus Bolles #3 Elizabeth Csikai (18:38 SB) would be a critical matchup in a hypothetical head to head. Since Bolles raced at the Manhattan Invitational instead of the FSU Pre-State Invitational on that weekend, a lot of hypotheticals come into play.
If Bolles raced up their star sixth grader Sophia Stam on the varsity level for championship season then it probably wouldn't be a question, but looks like she will not be in their top 7 down the stretch as Coach Ryan prefers to wait till at least seventh grade to put runners in that position.
Both teams had outlier fast courses and races compared to their other average race performances in other meets on the season between Bolles at the Asics Alexander Invitational in Georgia and Ponte Vedra at their district meet, so a wash or more on similar playing field to compare.
Teams that did not race at FSU Pre-State Invitational who have looked solid and strong all season that cannot forget about include possibly our eventual 1A state champions this year in Pensacola Christian girls and Indian Rocks Christian boys still firmly planted inside the top 5.
Individuals who did not race at FSU Pre-State Invitational that made great impressions lately include Colton Lawson of The King's Academy dropping his 5K time down to 15:26 at his district meet and winner earlier at Spanish River Invitational, while Dylan Nolan is the only undefeated boys runner in the state of Florida not named Patrick Koon this season as the Clearwater Central Catholic had a strong district win against the Berkeley Prep duo of Kirin Karver and Liam Jordan.
With several regionals being held at multiple sites including 3 regionals at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, 2 regionals at New World Golf Course in Jacksonville, 4 regionals at Holloway Park in Lakeland, and 4 regionals at South County Regional Park in Boca Raton, there will be a great sample of cross referencing times between each regionals held on same course.
Florida Boys All-Classifications Top 25 Team Rankings
1. Belen Jesuit
4. HB Plant
11. Ponte Vedra
14. Fort Myers
15. Cape Coral
18. Palmetto Ridge
25. Circle Christian
Florida Girls All-Classification Top 25 Team Rankings
1. Ponte Vedra
12. Bishop Kenny
15. Oak Hall School
16. Circle Christian
18. Fleming Island
19. St. Augustine
21. Bishop Moore
22. Mount Dora
23. IMG Academy
24. St. Brendan
25. Winter Springs
Florida Boys All-Classifications Top 25 Individual Rankings
1. Patrick Koon (Leon)
2. Emerson Miller (Buchholz)
3. Braxton Legg (Cambridge Christian)
4. Joshua Ruiz (Belen Jesuit)
5. Alex Pena (Sunlake)
6. Graham Myers (Fleming Island)
7. Devin Makousky (Rockledge)
8. Aidan Ryan (Bolles)
9. Matt Ryan (Nease)
10. Colton Lawson (The King's Academy)
11. Wyatt Townsend (Chiles)
12. David Serra (Ransom Everglades)
13. Jonathan Leon (Hagerty)
14. Dylan Nolan (Clearwater Central Catholic)
15. Andrew Mahorner (Satellite)
16. Cameron Raney (Viera)
17. Joseph Ruiz (Belen Jesuit)
18. Bernardo Barnhart (Palmetto Ridge)
19. Alec Miller (Sarasota)
20. Tanner Simonds (Creekside)
21. Aedan Rendek (Viera)
22. Joseph Socarras (Belen Jesuit)
23. Caden Montini (Oak Hall)
24. Grant Doherty (Ponte Vedra)
25. Joseph Koraya (Fort Myers)
Florida Girls All-Classification Top 25 Individual Rankings
1. Eliana Black (Cambridge Christian)
2. Jillian Candelino (Bolles)
3. Ashley Fitzgerald (American Heritage)
4. Emma Hencock (St. Brendan)
5. Madeleine Gear (Cambridge Christian)
6. Ella Mickler (Bolles)
7. Addison Dempsey (Cardinal Mooney)
8. Emma O'Day (Boca Raton)
9. Layla Haynes (IMG Academy)
10. Olivia Fraga (Our Lady of Lourdes Academy)
11. Avery Fronrath (The King's Academy)
12. Lindy White (Ponte Vedra)
13. Brooke Hooper (Pine Crest)
14. Simone Monaco (Winter Springs)
15. Emily Knopfle (Olympia)
16. Malinda Underwood (Rockledge)
17. Grace Finneran (St. Thomas Aquinas)
18. Belicia O'Grady (Fort Walton Beach)
19. Mackenzie De Lisle (Bishop Verot)
20. Lillee Tang (Leon)
21. Ava Povich (Evangelical Christian)
22. Daisy Ross (Ponte Vedra)
23. Addison Boyer (South Fork)
24. Madison Carr (Astronaut)
25. Ella Beckett (Keswick Christian)