Stratton second to Harrison in Bales’ muck

By Randy Lefko Sports Editor
Posted 9/15/21

BARTRAM TRAIL - St. Johns Country Day School cross country senior Matthew Stratton saw the best guy he might face all season and stayed a respectable distance in his blind side hoping for a …

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Stratton second to Harrison in Bales’ muck

Posted

BARTRAM TRAIL - St. Johns Country Day School cross country senior Matthew Stratton saw the best guy he might face all season and stayed a respectable distance in his blind side hoping for a flaw.

Didn’t happen.

Stratton finished second to Nease High senior Rheinhardt Harrison, one of the top rated cross country and track runners in the United States, with a less than as fast as usual 16 minute, 25.70 second split; Harrison winning at 16:12.30, well below his top game as both runners split early on the extremely muck and mud laden tract at the Bartram Trail High Bales n Trails Cross Country Invitational on Saturday.

Ironically, it was Ridgeview High’s James Snipes throwing a early mile gauntlet down to maybe entice some mid-race shenanigans with a blast from the start, but Snipes eventually finished at 10th in 16:55.40 to add to his ever-improving finish times under 17 minutes.

Third local finisher was St. Johns sophomore Graham Myers who continued his steady ascent to faster times with a 17:13 split for 17th place; just five yards ahead of Fleming Island sophomore John Keester IV who wound up at 17:19.40.

Creekside and Nease battled for top team prize with the Knights owning the rae 68-69 ahead of Bartram Trails third place 74 in one of the tightest team races in recent years.

Fleming Island’s boys finished ninth at 277 with St. Johns and Ridgeview 10th and 11th, respectively. Middleburg was 15th with Orange Park 19th.

For the girls, with Orange Park’s Sofia Menendez fearlessly sprinting from the start to lead the race out, it was a battle of the Bs wiht Bolles and Buchholz taking the seven of the top 10 finishes with Bolles’ Jillian Candelino dominating up front with an 18:56.80 split and Buchholz’ Kate Drummond second about 43 second behind at 19:39.30.

The top five were under 20 minutes wiht the top 16 under 21 minutes including Fleming Island High sophomore Allie Knotts, who has emerged as a strong contender in the early part of the season. Knotts was in at 20:50.90, a strong improvement on her 21:44.69 at the region 1-4A meet last season.

Fleming Island’s girls finished fourth in the team points with Bolles first with 33, Buchholz second at 59 and Ponte Vedra third at 70. Fleming Island had 152. St.Johns’ girls finished 13th.

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