Our first subjective rankings for the 2023 cross country season with boys individual rankings including top 25 regardless of classification followed by top 15 rankings by each classification.
Try to give greater weight and factor in head to head performances (latest over earlier) as well as overall consistency of performances (4 good races over 1 bad outlier race) in formulating these lists while also looking at times and performances rank historically on courses run.
All-Classifications Top 25 Boys Individual Rankings
Patrick Koon is the man to beat coming into this season and until he's beaten by any in-state competition, he will remain #1 unless proven otherwise. Joshua Ruiz has shown though he is ready to challenge Koon for the top spot as well as the 3A state title this fall including his recent 14:38 win at the Southern Showcase. Hopefully, we will see those two match up at the FSU Pre-State Invitational next weekend.
After those two, the next pack of studs includes freshmen Marcelo Mantecon, defending 4A state champion Matt Ryan, 2A state title favorite David Serra, and top 4A contender Jonathan Leon. Serra and Leon had a spirited battle at the Astronaut Invitational two weekends ago. Liam Jordan might want to include in that tier as well after a sub 15:30 performance this past weekend.
Belen Jesuit is considered one of the top 5 teams in the country by most pundits and that is reflected by having their entire top 7 ranked among the top 25 runners in Florida regardless of classification.
The #8 thru #25 ranked spots will definitely see a lot of turnover and shifting over the course of the season. Buchholz's Riley Smith and Evan Fleming got a big boost in rankings as a strategic race played into their favor with superior leg speed this past weekend in a 1-2 finish at Katie Caples Invitational to defeat the likes of Graham Myers and others, who have ventured well into the 15 minute range before.
1. Patrick Koon (Leon, Sr.)
2. Joshua Ruiz (Belen Jesuit, Sr.)
3. Marcelo Mantecon (Belen Jesuit, Fr.)
4. Matt Ryan (Nease High School, Sr.)
5. David Serra (Ransom Everglades, Sr.)
6. Jonathan Leon (Hagerty, Sr.)
7. Liam Jordan (Berkeley Prep, Jr.)
8. Joseph Ruiz (Belen Jesuit, Sr.)
9. Justin Ruiz (Belen Jesuit, Jr).
10. Riley Smith (Buchholz, Sr.)
11. Evan Fleming (Buchholz, Sr)
12. Graham Myers (Fleming Island, Sr.)
13. Eli Zuppa (Northeast, Sr.)
14. Joseph Socarras (Belen Jesuit, Jr.)
15. William Poe (Zephyrhills, Sr.)
16. Christopher Joost (Bolles, Sr.)
17. Evan Torres (Belen Jesuit, Sr.)
18. Blake Young (Indian Rocks Christian, Jr.)
19. Alejandro Romagosa (Christopher Columbus, Sr.)
20. Clayton Knight (Ocala Vanguard, Sr.)
21. Tanner Simonds (Creekside, Sr.)
22. Henry Stark (Palmer Trinity, Sr.)
23. John Keester IV (Fleming Island, Sr.)
24. Gino Palazollo (Buchholz, Jr.)
25. Diego Magarino (Belen Jesuit, Jr.)
4A Boys Individual Rankings
Matt Ryan with his near sub 15 minute race this past weekend at the adidas XC Challenge re-certified himself as the reigning 4A state champion. The one runner who stands out as the best chance to knock him off is Jonathan Leon of Hagerty, who won the Cecil Field Summer Classic to kick off his season and had a close runner-up finish to another potential state champion for the 2A class in David Serra at the Astronaut Invitational.
The Buchholz boys as a team and individually made a strong impression at Katie Caples Invite not only with the 1-2 finish by Riley Smith and Evan Fleming as well as their runner-up team showing to Bolles, but their #3 runner Gino Palazollo with a top 5 finish against several 4A runners capable of All-State finishes.
There is certainly a group of runners not listed here ranked right now in the #16-30 spots for the classification who could easily jump into the top 10 position.
A few runners definitely making a name for themselves over the first few weeks of the season including Sai Jayaraman, who had his first sub 16 minute race at the Nease #2 runner at the adidas XC Challenge.
Caden Baker of George Jenkins has finished no worse than third in his three invitational races this season including a sub 16 minute race. Jackson Rowe of Chiles finished 99th in last year's 4A state race, but will finish much higher this year especially after his great race at Katie Caples Invite with a 16:07 PR for sixth place.
Plant senior George Dirks has performed better in each race that he has competed in this season with his most recent being a fifth place run of 16:18 at the 3D Distance Classic. Another Hillsborough County top performer in Joshua Uhrig was right behind him at Little Everglades Ranch and they could be battling for a county title in October.
Lake Nona's Dylan Torres has been one of the better runners in the Orlando metro area this season including victories at the Mike Gibson Summertime Run and a 16:02 personal best victory at the St. Cloud Invitational this past weekend.
1. Matt Ryan (Nease, Sr.)
2. Jonathan Leon (Hagerty, Sr.)
3. Riley Smith (Buchholz, Sr.)
4. Evan Fleming (Buchholz, Sr.)
5. Alejandro Romagosa (Christopher Columbus, Sr.)
6. Tanner Simonds (Creekside, Sr.)
7. Gino Palazollo (Buchholz, Jr.)
8. Jackson Rowe (Chiles, Sr.)
9. Caden Baker (George Jenkins, Jr.)
10. Sai Jayaraman (Nease, Sr.)
11. Dylan Torres (Lake Nona)
12. George Dirks (Plant, Sr.)
13. Joshua Uhrig (Newsome, Sr.)
14. Nathan Henning (Lake Mary, Sr)
15. John Zurn (Creekside, Sr.)
3A Boys Individual Rankings
The 3A boys classification is arguably the toughest top 15 list to crack with many not on the current list who could be ranked inside the top 15 or even top 10 in other classification.
Grant Chastain of Fort Walton Beach and Nickolas Forbes of St Petersburg just slipped on the list despite Chastain has been dominating races weekly in the Panhandle with notable wins at the Gulf Coast Stampede (16:04) and Buccaneer Bash (15:52), while Forbes just clocked a 15:51 5K best this past weekend in a runner-up finish to Eli Zuppa at the Green Devil Invite.
Belen Jesuit has their entire top 7 ranked among the top 15 with their current 15:11 team average as the fastest in Florida high school history for any squad.
Patrick Koon has had a very quiet season so far avoiding any major invitational races including skipping out on racing at Cecil Field Summer Classic and Southern Showcase like he did one year ago in signature wins. Expect to see him though at the FSU Pre-State Invitational though as he starts to changing gears approaching championship season.
The Belen Jesuit duo of Joshua Ruiz and Marcelo Mantecon will be hot on his heels though and certainly not racing in fear or intimidated by trying to stick with Koon.
Graham Myers has had an up and down season so far with off races at Cecil Field and Katie Caples, but had a great run to finish third at the Florida Horse Park Invitational in between the Belen Jesuit pack. He is certainly capable of breaking up the Belen Jesuit top 5 at the state meet with a top 5 finish himself.
Eli Zuppa after an injured plagued track season seems to be healthy again and running strong including an impressive 16:15 victory at Holloway Park in the Seffner Christian Invitational and then dropped a 15:46 5K PR on a much faster Green Devil Invite course in St. Pete.
William Poe of Zephyrhills has only seen his stock rise this fall by going undefeated in all of his races this season including most notably running a new PR of 15:47 at Little Everglades Ranch to win the 3D Distance Classic this past weekend.
Clayton Knight had a strong season opener in his runner-up finish at Cecil Field and then went sub 16 minutes again the following week in a top 10 finish at the Florida Horse Park Invite.
1. Patrick Koon (Leon, Sr.)
2. Joshua Ruiz (Belen Jesuit, Sr.)
3. Marcelo Mantecon (Belen Jesuit, Fr.)
4. Joseph Ruiz (Belen Jesuit, Sr.)
5. Justin Ruiz (Belen Jesuit, Jr.)
6. Graham Myers (Fleming Island, Sr.)
7. Eli Zuppa (Northeast, Sr.)
8. Joseph Socarras (Belen Jesuit, Jr.)
9. William Poe (Zephyrhills, Sr.)
10. Evan Torres (Belen Jesuit, Sr.)
11. Clayton Knight (Ocala Vanguard, Sr.)
12. John Keester IV (Fleming Island, Sr.)
13. Diego Magarino (Belen Jesuit, Sr.)
14. Grant Chastain (Fort Walton Beach, Sr.)
15. Nickolas Forbes (St. Petersburg, Sr.)
2A Boys Individual Rankings
Last year's state runner-up David Serra has raced just once this season and we will likely see them this weekend at Spanish River, but he impressed in his lone outing at the Astronaut Invitational as he was able to hold off 4A title contender Jonathan Leon for a 15:21 win. With a new 5K PR to kick off the Wake Forest commit's senior season, Serra is looking to be in the driver seat for the 2A title this fall.
The one challenger with the best chance to upset him will be Berkeley Prep junior Liam Jordan, who just turned in a 5K PR time himself at the adidas XC Challenge in North Carolina at 15:24. Jordan finished 5th in at the Florida Horse Park Invite in a time of 15:39 and opened his season with a 15:57 win at the Babe Zaharias Twilight Challenge.
Many of the runners who will be vying for the remaining top 15 All-State spots in the 2A classification were at Bishop Kenny this past Saturday night for the Katie Caples Invitational. Nine of the top 15 ranked runners in 2A competed at Katie Caples.
Bolles senior Christopher Joost led all 2A finishers in fifth place at 15:59. Joost was a top 10 finisher at Cecil Field to start his season as well. Joost could definitely challenge Jordan for a state runner-up spot behind the favored Serra.
Ajelandro Vinas (9th, 16:24) of Bishop Kenny and Marc Gonzalez (10th, 16:24) of Mater Lakes Academy were both top 10 finishers at Katie Caples. Gonzalez has already won two races this season between the Dunbar Tiger Jamboree and FNU Invitational (including a win over 1A #2 ranked Henry Stark) as one of the top performers from South Florida this season.
A pair of Andrew's in Bishop Verot junior Andrew Marino (18th, 16:24 PR) and Wolfson senior Andrew Marello (22nd, 16:33) started off their seasons strong at the Cecil Field Summer Classic as did Cocoa Beach's Isaac Cerveny as the top high school finisher at the Wickham Park Jamboree (2nd, 16:24) in August. Marino won the Hawks on the Hill Invite in Clermont two weeks ago.
Juniors outrule the seniors right now in 2A with 9 of the top 15 ranked from the class of 2025. Bolles has a pair of them in Parker Adams and Alexander Ruge, who both finished in the top 20 at Katie Caples to help secure their team win.
One of the holdovers from Calvary Christian's state runner-up squad last year in Brock Brown had a strong showing at Holloway Park in the Seffner Christian Invitational with a 16:48 performance for eighth place on the difficult 5K course.
Shane Kinsey of Astronaut definitely had an off day at Katie Caples (40th, 17:02), but showed in earlier races what he was capable of including a 16:20 fourth place PR run at the Astronaut Invite and 16:30 fifth place finish at the Wickham Park Jamboree.
1. David Serra (Ransom Everglades, Sr.)
2. Liam Jordan (Berkeley Prep, Jr.)
3. Christopher Joost (Bolles, Sr.)
4. Alejandro Vinas (Bishop Kenny, Sr.)
5. Marc Gonzalez (Mater Lakes Academy, Sr.)
6. Parker Adams (Bolles, Jr)
7. Andrew Marino (Bishop Verot, Jr.)
8. Andrew Marello (Wolfson, Sr.)
9. Isaac Cerveny (Cocoa Beach, Sr.)
10. Alexander Ruge (Bolles, Jr.)
11. Brock Brown (Calvary Christian, Jr.)
12. Kai Meffe (Lake Highland Prep, Jr.)
13. Juan Pablo Castillo-Zima (Bishop Kenny, Jr.)
14. Liam Griffiths (Bishop Moore, Sr.)
15. Shane Kinsey (Astronaut, Jr.)
1A Boys Individual Rankings
Similar to Belen Jesuit in 3A, the Indian Rocks Christian boys are well represented with the majority of their scoring 5 viewed as well amongst the top 15 best runners in the 1A classification led by the top ranked Blake Young. Young was a top 3 finisher at Cecil Field with a 15:58 PR, while finished runner-up at the Seffner Christian Invite despite the team treating the meet as a glorified tempo run in the first half of the race.
His teammates Jonah Berry, Nicholas Zamora, Aidan Griffin, and Ethan Esposito all are ranked among the top 10 in the 1A classification and all capable of breaking 16 minutes this season.
The best individual performer so far in the classification has been Palmer Trinity senior Henry Stark, who has won four invitational meets this season including a very swift 15:52 PR at Tropical Park to win the King of the Hill Invitational last week. Stark is very capable of becoming the 1A state champion this fall.
Cambridge Christian's Christian Escribano had a great race at Little Everglades Ranch this past weekend to break 16 minutes for the first time with a third place time of 15:58. He finished 16th at Cecil Field for his season opener then won the Zak Lukas Invitational in his second race of the season.
Will Neeld has had two solid runner-up finishes in his first two races of the 2023 season including a 16:07 PR run at the St. Cloud Invitational which was preceded by running 16:31 in August at Holloway Park in the Jim Ryun Invitational.
Daniel Welling ran just off Neeld's Holloway Park time at the Seffner Christian Invite with a 16:33 effort and has a season best of 16:08 from Lake Region.
Westminster Academy's Jonathan Pena has been arguably the second best small schools runner in South Florida this season behind only Palmer Trinity's Stark including a runner-up finish to him at the King of the Hill Invitational. Pena had won his three races prior including a 16:05 PR at the South Regional Park in the Park Vista Cobra Invite.
Tyler Mastrangelo has been a consistent high finisher in major invitational races in Southwest Florida this season for Community School of Naples including a 16:23 PR in his most recent race at the King's Invitational with a runner-up finish behind only 3A runner Hector Toro of Naples.
Aiden Davis is the lone underclassmen to crack the top 15 as the sophomore from Seffner Christian held his own against older runners at both the Florida Horse Park Invitational (27th, 16:31 PR) and his home meet in the Seffner Christian Invite (9th, 16:51) to show that he can hang with some of the best runners for the 1A classification.
Cambridge Christian is a team that is definitely capable of joining Indian Rocks Christian on the podium as a possible state runner-up squad this fall and besides their top runner Escribano have two others in seniors Leonardo Borjon and sophomore Mark Meister running consistently in the 16 minute range that can be All-State top 15 individuals at season's end.
1. Blake Young (Indian Rocks Christian, Jr.)
2. Henry Stark (Palmer Trinity, Sr.)
3. Jonah Berry (Indian Rocks Christian, Sr.)
4. Nicholas Zamora (Indian Rocks Christian, Sr.)
5. Christian Escribano (Cambridge Christian, Sr.)
6. Will Neeld (Circle Christian, Jr.)
7. Jonathan Pena (Westminster Academy, Jr.)
8. Aidan Griffin (Indian Rocks Christian, Sr.)
9. Ethan Esposito (Indian Rocks Christian, Jr.)
10. Daniel Welling (Santa Fe Catholic, Sr.)
11. Tyler Mastrangelo (Community School of Naples, Sr.)
12. Aiden Davis (Seffner Christian, So.)
13. Leonardo Borjon (Cambridge Christian, Sr.)
14. Mark Meister (Cambridge Christian, So.)
15. Peter Peloso (Oak Hall, Jr.)