ORANGE PARK – In a dramatic finish to one of the largest road running races in Clay County, Fleming Island High School cross country aces Erik Hartley, 25, and a recent standout at Flagler College, …
ORANGE PARK – In a dramatic finish to one of the largest road running races in Clay County, Fleming Island High School cross country aces Erik Hartley, 25, and a recent standout at Flagler College, and Kameron Wallizada, 16, a junior member of the Golden Eagles boys team that advanced to the Class 4A championship race in November, battled to a near-tie finish at Saturday’s Resolution 5K run held at the Bestbet track by the Florida Striders.
“He came up on one side and I looked the wrong way and he went by me,” said Wallizada. “My coaches always say things like run through the finish line and don’t look around. I guess they were right.”
Wallizada made the final left turn toward the finish of the 3.1 mile race about 20 seconds behind leader Alejandro
Hernandez, 23, who won in 16 minutes, 23 seconds.
After the turn, Hartley made his left turn about 12 yards behind Wallizada and had about 60 yards to the finish line. Hartley methodically surged as Wallizada strode in and caught his younger Golden Eagle about three yards from the finish line as both it the tape in 16:59 with Hartley getting the runnerup call.
For the women’s race, Ellie Baker, 26, won decisively in 18:41 for 14th place overall ahead of Jacksonville stalwart Julie Stackhouse, 39, who finished second in 19:32 for 21st overall with Orange Park’s Belissa Del Valle, 31, third in 19:46 for 25th overall.
The annual Striders event benefits area school’s Run/Walk clubs and had nearly 900 runners on the cool, crisp Saturday morning with plenty of sunshine. The run is also a part of the Jacksonville Grand Prix Running Series. Next up is the Winter Beach Run 10 Miler and Five Miler on January 19.
For the master’s runners, Orange Park’s Gary Myers, 46, was top finisher at 17:16 for fourth overall with Jacksonville’s Regina Sooey, 47, top female in 21:21.
Age group winners were, for females, Jenna Frost, 10, of Orange Park, in 22;08; Lakeside Junior High ace Anna Rafalski, 13, in 23:09 ahead of Gator teammate Allie Knotts, 13, at 24:45; Kali Miller, 19, of Jacksonville, in 21:17; Kaitlin King, 23, in 21:31; Brittany Snyder, 27, in 23:42; Sharon Hawley, 32, of Fleming Island, in 21:06; Christy Astorga, 38, of Jacksonville, in 20:52; Jennifer Szala, 44, of Orange Park, in 23:29; Chelsea Mailhiot, 45, of Jacksonville, in 23:35; Dena Gaucher, 50, of Orange Park, in 23:48; Vicky Connell, 59, of Orange Park, in 25:53; Stephanie Griffith, 64, of Jacksonville, in 24:07; Leslie Hague, 65, of Jacksonville, in 26:52; Susan Branley, 72, in 26:43; and Kay Campbell Jones, 77, in 35:36.
Males age group winners were Elijah Showalter, 10, in 25:00; John Keester IV, 12, of Orange Park, in 18:23; Matthew Stratton, 14, of Orange Park, in 17:52; Omron Wallizada, 21, of Orange Park, in 19:08; Benjamin Sparks, 28, of Jacksonville, in 17:26; Phillip Darby, 32, in 17:56; Nick Camarata, 37, of Orange Park, in 19:44; Jason Arnold, 44, of Green Cove Springs, in 18:36; Brad Smith, 49, in 18:19; Soren Brockdorf, 51, in 20:36; Sean McCormack, 57, of Fleming Island, in 19:43; Bill Phillips, 64, in 19:48; Steve Williams, 69, in 25:51; Bruce Holmes, 71, in 22:10; Paul Smith, 77, in 28:04, and Elmer Schroer, 86, of Jacksonville, in 38:34.