JACKSONVILLE - The top two runners in Clay County junior high school rosters; Oakleaf Junior High seventh grader John Keester IV and Green Cove Springs Junior High eighth grader Keegan Emanuel …
JACKSONVILLE - The top two runners in Clay County junior high school rosters; Oakleaf Junior High seventh grader John Keester IV and Green Cove Springs Junior High eighth grader Keegan Emanuel separated early from the race pack and cruised to a two-man duel won by Keester at the Northeast Florida Athletic Conference championship race held Friday at Cecil Field’s New World Golf course in Jacksonville.
Both Keester and Emanuel finished under 11 minutes for the 3K (1.7 miles) course with Keester out-kicking Emanuel to a 10 minute, 14.10 second finish with Emanuel runnerup in 10:48.70. In third was Oakleaf eighth grader Jose Grullon in 11:04.90 with Green Cove Springs’ Ronan Bozeman fourth in 11:10.10 and Cougar teammate Ryan Switzer fifth in 11:10.70.
For the girls, Oakleaf Junior High eighth grader Sierra Barrera won in 11:57.00 over Lakeside Junior High eighth grader Anna Rafalski’s 12:38.80 effort. third was Lake Asbury’s Nora Ibrahim in 13:27.00 with teammate Anjuli Mars fourth in 13:28.60. Fifth was Lindsey McCoy of Bradford Middle School in 13:38.30.
Runners are readying for the October 26 FLYRA Middle School state championships to be held at Holloway Park in Lakeland.
Bishop Kenny High School will host the north Florida Middle School State Qualifier on Wed., Oct. 17.
At last year’s middle school championship race, Nease High School freshman Rheinhardt Harrison, who won the St. Johns River Athletic Conference title at Middleburg High School on Sat., Oct. 6, won the title in 9:43.91. Oakleaf finished 23rd with Green Cove 25th in 2017. Keester, running unattached as a sixth grader, finished 99th in 11:31.90 with Emanuel finishing 164th in 12:05.01.
In the girls 3K championship race, it was Ani Veltcheva, an eighth grader at Abraham Lincoln Middle School in Gainesville, now a freshman at Gainesville High School, winning in 10:37.59 with Mei Chiang, an eighth grader at Orange Park Junior High then, now a Fleming Island High freshman, third at 11:22.63. Grace Adams, a freshman teammate at Fleming Island with Chiang, finished 24th in 11:56.25, running unattached.
On Saturday, also at Cecil Field’s New World Golf facility, in the Region 1A-2A-3A championship course preview, Fernandina Beach High had the top two finishers; John Sorensen, a senior, in 15:52.10, and Steven Durr, a sophomore, in 16:13.00. St. Johns Country Day School, led by sophomore Jake Kailes’ 22nd place finish in 17:45.20, had a limited roster and finished 12th in the 16 team field, with Fernandina Beach winning the team title over Lincoln High School out of Tallahassee.
For the girls, Pace High School senior Erica Fisher duked it out with Bishop Snyder senior Gianna Forte with Fisher outsprinting Fisher in 18:31.40 to Gorte’s 18:37.80. Bolles won the team title with 37 points with Pace second and Bishop Snyder third. St. Johns Country Day School, led by eighth grader Kaitlyn Phillips’ 28th place in 21:50.60, finished eighth in the 12 team field.