BARTRAM TRAIL – Fleming Island High’s boys cross country team, again led by the duo of Andrew Miller and Evan Fuller, stuck their noses in amongst and handful of the state’s best runners at the …
BARTRAM TRAIL – Fleming Island High’s boys cross country team, again led by the duo of Andrew Miller and Evan Fuller, stuck their noses in amongst and handful of the state’s best runners at the Bales-n-Trails Cross Country Invitational held Saturday at Bartram Trail High School.
Miller, who finished under 16 minutes with a Fleming Island High school record of 15:47 last week, battled in the front pack at BartramTrail and finished fifth overall in 16:10 on a wet, mucky course that was water-drenched from a Friday thunderstorm and also featured a series of hay bale jumps on the course. Fuller, who fell off the pace after the two mile mark, finished 13th in 16:43.
“Everytime we went through the water spots on the course, it slowed me down and then I had to regear up to pace,” said Fuller. “I have to learn to maintain my speed through stuff like that and stay with the front runners.”
For Miller, the race was a second shot at a handful of state ranked runners and also a second shot with Bolles ace Charles Hicks, second in Class 2A last year, who eventually won over Jacob McLeod of Trinity Christian with a 15:36 winning split. McLeod and Hicks were shoulder to shoulder to the finish with McLeod second in 15:27. Joey Fitzpatrick of Ocala Vanguard was third at 15:40 with Bishop Kenny senior Nathan Jubran, 10th in 2A last year, fourth in 15:40.60.
With Hicks’ win, Bolles (2nd in 2A) took the team title with 54 points with Satellite High (3rd in 2A), Ocala Vanguard, Bishop Kenny (5th in 2A)and Creekside (3A state champs) finishing the top five. Fleming Island was sixth with 194 just points away from Creekside’s 187 points.
“Our 3-4-5 guys are getting closer to the front and that will happen as the season progresses,” said Miller. “They are the key. That’s just how cross country works.
Fleming Island junior Gage West was third finisher for the Golden Eagles at 45th in 17:38.
In between Fuller and West were Orange Park junior John Bear at 21st in 17:02.40 and Ridgeview junior Joel Nesi at 38th in 17:29.40.
Ridgeview finished 18th with Orange Park 19th. Middleburg was 24th.
In the girls race, with Fleming Island senior Julia Franzoni, the team’s top runner, competing and winning the junior varsity race in 21:41, freshman Emma Millson was the top finisher at 27th in 21:16.60 after teammate Madelyn Stevenson, who has been nursing an injury, but was running with Millson in the early miles, dropped out. Fleming Island finished 16th with Bolles, led by defending 2A champion Caitlin Collier winning in 18:34.60. Collier won the 2016 state title on the very hilly Appalachee Regional Park course in Tallahassee in 17:44.20. Bolles finished second in 2A last year.
For Ridgeview, 20th in team points, freshman Marisa Kortright continued her strong running with a 21:51 for 43rd place with sophomore teammate Anna Magruder in at 22:09 for 51st. Middleburg freshman Emma Mussante also impressed with a 22:27.50 for 59th place.
Next up for most area teams is the UNF Invite on Saturday at the University of North Florida or the Eagles on the Run 3K at Episcopal High School.