Bolles sweeps individual, team awards at Bale-N-Trail Cross Country Original

The first weekend in September finished with a conclusion that would be more appropriate in November.


Bolles’ Charles Hicks won the Bale-N-Trail Cross Country Original on Saturday morning in a photo finish that featured an all-out-sprint to the line over Jacob McLeod from Trinity Christian (Ga.)

Hicks’ time of 15:26.9 was two tenths of a second ahead of McLeod and marked the first time in four competitive races that he beat the Georgian.

“Last year coming around (a late) turn, it was me and McLeod and I didn’t have much left in the tank. This year, I got injured during track season, so I did a lot of swim workouts,” Hicks said. “I feel like I have put on a little bit of muscle.”

“I was feeling really good coming around here,” Hicks said. But, I waited and waited and waited so I didn’t go too early because I know he has a really good kick and he is a really strong fighter. I left it as late as I could and then when I heard my coach shout at me to go, I went all out. I saw what I could make of it. I pulled in front of him. He pulled in front of me. I pulled in front of him and in the end I was lucky enough.”

The pair finished 1-2 at Bale-N-Trail last year, but it was McLeod who pulled away from Hicks at the end.

In the 16-year history of the event, no runner had ever won in consecutive years and no boys finished first on two different occasions. McLeod came as close as possible to breaking both records, but Hicks overcame him on the final turn less than 100 yards from the finish line.

“I don’t think I have the speed work in me yet,” McLeod said. “I tried to give it everything I had, but came up a little bit short.”

McLeod, the two-time Georgia Independent Schools Association Class AAA champion finished 15th at the Foot Locker national finals last year — one of five underclassmen to finish in the Top 20. Saturday was his first race of the 2017 season, and the senior said both he and Hicks have improved since they initially met in the 3,200 meters during the 2016 track and field season.

Hicks and McLeod were two of the 1,197 runners who were at the muddy starting line in St. Johns on Saturday morning.

All seven St. Johns County boys cross country programs competed, with St. Joseph senior Sean Snyder crossing the line first among the local contingent with a personal-best time of 16:31.3. He was eighth overall and helped St. Joseph’s boys finish 16th as a team with 399 points.

St. Johns County had three boys teams finish in the top 10. Creekside, who won state titles in each of the last two years was fifth with 187 points. Junior Matt Ortiz was the Knights’ top finisher in 20th place with a time of 16:58.6.

Race hosts Bartram Trail were seventh with 196 points and Ponte Vedra was ninth with 243 points.

The girls race was not nearly as competitive. Bolles senior Caitlin Collier led from the opening gun and was not challenged by the field of 220 runners. Her time of 18:34.52 was 38 seconds ahead of Creekside sophomore Claire Openshaw. No other girls broke the 20-minute barrier.

“I knew I was probably going to be by myself, or with at least one other girl, so it was just staying mentally tough in these conditions,” Collier said. “It was a little muddy. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Especially, with this type of race you have to stay mentally tough and every time something bad pops into your head like ‘Oh, I want to quit.’ You have to push back and keep on going.”

Collier, the FHSAA Class 2A individual champion last year said she was nervous entering his first meet of the 2017 season because she only began training last week. She took a few weeks off to recover after competing in the 800 meters at the Pan-American Junior Athletics Championships in Peru six weeks ago.

For Collier the most enjoyable part of running is when it’s all over and the work that is done behind the scenes is witnessed by a broader audience. She wasn’t the only Bolles runner who has put in the work in the offseason as the Bulldogs won the overall meet with 34 points.

Bolles managed to win despite the fact Creekside placed three runners in the top five. Openshaw was followed by freshman Blake Petrick in fourth (20:19.6) and freshman Hannah Jacobbe in fifth with a time of 20:21.

“Our team is killing it,” said Creekside freshman Lauren Bolnick. “I think we are doing amazing. It’s a great group of girls. Coach Mandy (Yates) and Coach (Beth) Toner, they have been making us train really hard and train our butts off. I think it will be a great season.”

Few could argue with Bolnick’s point. Two weeks into the season, Openshaw has a pair of top-2 finishes and as a team Creekside has finished second and third with four of its top six runners being freshmen. Petrick, Jacobbe and Bolnick are joined by Ashlyn Iliff who finished 24th with a time of 21:12.8.

“We’ve worked really hard all summer,” Claire Openshaw said. “The whole team has worked hard. I want to beat my (personal record) from last year and work toward that.”


Girls Results


1. Bolles 34

2. Creekside 48

3. Satellite 106

4. Ponte Vedra 110

5. Bartram Trail 218

6. Mandarin 248

7. Ocala Vanguard 265

8. Fletcher 278

9. St. Joseph 283

10. Providence 312

11. Bishop Kenny 316

12. Episcopal 318

13. Stuart South Fork 326

14. St. Augustine 360

15. Nease 392

16. Fleming Island 408

17. Gainesville Eastside 425

18. Paxon 480

19. Seabreeze 506

20. Ridgeview 526

21. New Smyrna Beach 562

22. Sandalwood 599

23. Bishop Snyder 653

24. Daytona Beach Father Lopez 708

25. Atlantic Coast 723


1.Caitlin Collier, Bolles, 18:34.6

2.Claire Openshaw, Creekside, 19:12

3.Rachel Shapiro, Bolles, 20:13

4. Blake Petrick, Creekside 20:19

5.Hannah Jacobbe, Creekside, 20:21

6. Karmen Leroy, Trinity Christian, 20:21.5

7. Marie Groppel, Satellite, 20:22

8. Layne Rivera, Bolles, 20:30.4

9. Claire Moritz, Ponte Vedra, 20:30

10. Lydia Reimer, Ponte Vedra, 20:33

Boys Results


1.Bolles 54

2. Satellite 110

3. Ocala Vanguard 11

4. Bishop Kenny 183

5. Creekside 187

6. Fleming Island 194

7. Bartram Trail 196

8. New Smyrna Beach 199

9. Ponte Vedra 243

10. Mandarin 261

11. Seabreeze 367

12. Stuart South Fork 375

13. Nease 380

14. St. Augustine 386

15. Episcopal 391

16. St. Joseph 399

17. Bishop Snyder 443

18. Ridgeview 444

19. Orange Park 499

20. Fletcher 634

21. Lee 648

22. Menendez 698

23. Gainesville Eastside 707

24. Middleburg 717

25. Atlantic Coast 728

26. Paxon 730

27. Daytona Beach Father Lopez 782

28. Sandalwood 856

29. Baldwin 904


1.Charles Hicks, Bolles, 15:26.9

2.Jacob McLeod, Trinity Christian, 15:27.1

3.Joey Fitzpatrick, Ocala Vanguard, 15:40.2

4. Nathan Jubran, Bishop Kenny, 15:40.6

5.Andrew Miller, Fleming Island, 16:10.8

6.Chase Rivera, Bolles, 16:14.0

7.Aidan O’Gorman, New Smyrna Beach, 16:24

8.Sean Snyder, St. Joseph, 16:31.3

9. Payne Meyer, New Smyrna Beach, 16:34.9

10. Quillian Holland, Trinity Christian, 16:38,3

Recent Bale-N-Trail winners

2016: Boys: Jacob McLeod, 15:39. Girls: Kayley Delay, 18:40.

2015: Boys: Matthew Clark, 16:28.79. Girls: Kayley Delay, 18:20.44

2014: Boys: Sukhi Khosla, 15:37.6. Girls: MacKenzie Wilson, 18:41.9

2013: Boys: Kevin Mills, 15:37.50. Girls: Karen Xiang, 18:13.5

2012: Boys: Josh Brickell, 15:11.8. Girls: Allie Buchalski, 18:28.91