Stratton outduels Waiguru for Keystone 5K title

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KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – In one of the very few 5K road running races in the state, St. Johns Country Day School’s Matthew Stratton figured on cruising to the win until Clay High’s Carlton Waiguru decided to make the race interesting with a pesky chase that Stratton eventually pulled away from for the win Saturday morning in Keystone Heights.

“I thought he would die so I went out hard in the first mile,” said Stratton, a junior at St. Johns and last year’s Class 1A cross country second place finisher with a 15 minute, 39 second finish. “He was there for most of the race and I had to take him on one of the last hills.”

Stratton, who pulled away for the win in 16:22.90, had a contingency of Spartan teammates with him as coach Greg Stratton decided to let the boys flex a bit of muscle prior to the anticipated season start in the fall.

“We haven’t run a race in a while,” said Matt Stratton. “It’s a great experience to run a race and also to bring some teammates.”

The Freedom 5K is staged to benefit the Jordan Cooper Memorial Scholarship Fund, a volunteer non-profit named for a Keystone Heights High School student.

Waiguru, a regional finisher last year in Class 2A, finished second in 16:47.82 just ahead of women’s champion Eden Meyer who followed in 16:54.59.

Meyer, 23, a professional runner out of Atlanta, is a former Providence High standout and an NCAA nationals runner at 10K for the University of North Florida.

“I know the family that put the race back together and wanted to share in its return,” said Meyer. “The group up front was running a pretty good clip for this weather.”

Behind Waiguru, Julian Bautista of Gainesville took third in 17:04.60 with Ryan Collins, son to race director Kerry Collins, fourth in 17:49.08. Richard Nichols of Jacksonville took fifth male in sixth overall in 18:21.71.

The top five in the womens division had Holly Sanford, 44, of Fleming Island, as runnerup in 20:33.60, Sarah Searle, 23, of Starke, as third female in 17th overall in 21:32.73, Michelle Anderson of Gainesville as fourth female in 18th overall just eight seconds away from Searle in 21:43.97. Linda Ramsey of Ocala was fifth female in 21st overall in 21:36.86.

“Watching someone like Eden run was awesome, she was so smooth,” said Sanford. “I only saw her for the first 200 meters. We hung in there for the whole race despite not racing for a long time. This is the best speedwork and it doesn’t feel like July 4 unless you run a race.”

One notable competitor, Mark DeToro, a former Clay High wrestling standout and former coach, finished as the lone wheelchair competitor in 26:37.96.

There were 96 competitors in the event timed by Florida Race Day.

Age Groups

Male 30-39

1. Samuel Newhard, Melrose, 31, 20:48.33

2. Shawn Verdream, North Palm Beach, 38, 21:25.41

3. Mark Detoro, Green Cove Springs, 37, 26:37.96

Male 60-Over

1. Jim Garrison, Orange Park, 65, 24:30.41

2. Bruce Kritzler, Gainesville, 71, 26;08.12

3. David Golden, Keystone Heights, 60, 26:12.69

Female 50-59

1. Cindy Meagher, Citrus, 55, 28:20.20

2. Robin Dooley, Melrose, 52, 32:40.35

3. Dawn Monaghan, Keystone Heights, 53, 37:08.56

Male 50-59

1. Hank Gibson, Middleburg, 58, 20:35.06

2. Tony Hanneken, Keystone Heights, 50, 22:46.67

3. Aki Polvikoski, Gainesville, 51, 23:06.19

Female 40-49

1. Linda Ramsey, Ocala, 43, 22:35.03

2. Diana Howard, Melrose, 45, 30:53.99

3. Jenn Wright, Keystone Heights, 40, 30:54.05

Male 40-49

1. Craig Bost, Gainesville, 44, 23:48:28

2. Chris Thomas, Keystone Heights, 45, 24:40.43

3. Robert Ludwig, Keystone Heights, 48, 51:14.90

Female 30-39

1. Michelle Anderson, Gainesville, 34, 21:36.86

2. Pamela Gonzales, Melrose, 35, 23:21.53

3. Jennifer Sims, Keystone Heights, 30, 25;08.51

Females 20-29

1. Maggie McCloskey, Gainesville, 27, 22:38.98

2. Abi Loose, Melrose, 21, 29:09.13

3. Alivia Combass, Keystone Heights, 25, 30:35.29

Male 20-29

1. Ryan Collins, Keystone Heights, 25, 17:49.08

2. 20:58.13

3. Tristan Collins, Keystone Heights, 23, 21:11.33

Female 14-19

1. Haley Julius, Keystone Heights, 19, 29:07.44

2. Olivia Griffin, Keystone Heights, 14, 29:09.66

3. Ashton Ludwig, Keystone Heights, 18, 51:14.87

Male 14-19

1. Richard Nichols, Jacksonville, 14, 18:21.71

2. Tyler Griffin, Keystone Heights, 14, 20:59.38

3. Dominic Fertsch, East Palestine OH, 17, 21;04.35

Females 13-Under

1. Tommie Bost, Gainesville, 13, 22:38.75

2. R. Thomas, Keystone Heights, 7, 23:51.61

3. Rebecca Stratton, Orange Park, 13, 25:27.19

Male 13-Under

1. R. Thomas, Keystone Heights, 11, 21:18.53

2. J. Parmeter, Keystone Heights, 12, 27:07.15

3. T. Bebb, St. Johns, 12, 32:24.55

Female 60-Over

1. Carolyn Corgel, Elkton, 62, 24:07.93

2. Julie Bruey, Keystone Heights, 62, 29:11.57

3. Joanne Green, Keystone Heights, 61, 36;46.77

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