St. Joseph’s Sean Snyder, Creekside’s Claire Openshaw finish 3rd at state cross country championships

St. Joseph runner Sean Snyder’s personal record in a 5K race was about a full minute behind the PR of Citrus Park Christian’s Trevor Foley.


No one would argue if Snyder had headed into Saturday’s state cross country championships at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee with the goal of finishing his high school career with a PR. But he didn’t. He went in trying to win the Class 1A title.

And he still set a PR by about 20 seconds, finishing third with a time of 16:02.94. Foley won in 15:47.25, followed by Ryan Szklany of Pompano Beach Highlands Christian at 15:55.0.

“Sean went with (Foley) from the gun,” St. Joseph coach Justin Taylor said.

Snyder was even with Foley at the one-mile mark with a time of 4:47, about five seconds quicker than Snyder’s previous fastest first mile. Snyder even took the lead before Foley gained it for good at the steep hill known as “the wall.”

“Sean stuck with him for about two miles,” Taylor said. “It should have been a runaway. It should have been a runaway at the mile, but Sean made an honest race out of it, instead of conceding. We tell the kids, just race and the time will take care of itself. Sean embodied that today. He definitely left it all out there.”

Snyder led the Flashes to an 11th-place finish in their first team appearance at state in 20 years. St. Joseph’s girls team finished sixth — its top finish in school history. Emily Jackson led the Flashes in the girls 1A race with a time of 20:33.08 for 37th place.

A year after the Creekside boys won their second consecutive Class 3A title, the Creekside girls finished second Saturday behind Tallahassee Chiles. Two other St. Johns County girls teams also finished among the top 10 in 3A: Ponte Vedra was fourth, while Nease was sixth.

Five Creekside runners finished among the top 35, led by sophomore Claire Openshaw, who was third with a time of 18:09.08, just five-hundredths of a second behind second-place Emily Culley of Chiles. Four of those five Creekside runners are underclassmen.

Ponte Vedra senior Claire Mortiz finished eighth overall in 18:39.48. Creekside freshman Elizabeth Ileff (19:25.02) was 17th, while Nease freshman Naila Etique (19:41.22) finished 22nd.

Three county teams also finished among the top 10 in the Class 3A boys race. Bartram Trail was fourth with 186 points followed by Creekside just two points behind with 188 for fifth place and Ponte Vedra seventh with 217 points.

Thirteen county runners were clustered from 22nd to 57th place. Creekside’s Matt Ortiz (16:39.43, 22nd place) and Ian Smith (16:40.06, 23rd place) led the local contingent. Bartram’s Sean Popik was 25th at 16:40.56.

State Cross Country

Class 3A Boys

Team: 1. Belen Jesuit 57; 2. Tallahassee Chiles 111; 3. Ocala Vanguard 133; 4. Bartram Trail 186; 5. Creekside 188; 6. New Smyrna Beach 210; 7. Ponte Vedra 217.

Individual: 1. Michael Phillips (Chiles) 15:14.69; 2. Joshua Collins (Belen Jesuit) 15:39.32; 3. Joey Fitzpatrick (Vanguard) 15:57.30; 22. Matt Ortiz (Creekside) 16:39.43; 23. Ian Smith (Creekside) 16:40.06; 25. Sean Popik (Bartram Trail) 16:40.56; 31. Jack Adzeman (Bartram Trail) 16:48.42; 32. Antonio Romero (Ponte Vedra) 16:48.45; 33. Cameron Heinz (Ponte Vedra) 16:48.91; 39. Ryan Musil (Bartram Trail) 16:54.05; 40. Mark Woodruff (St. Augustine) 16:54.90.

Class 3A Girls

Team: 1. Tallahassee Chiles 30; 2. Creekside 97; 3. Niceville 175; 4. Ponte Vedra 180; 5. Seminole Osceola 209; 6. Nease 244.

Individual: 1. Ana Wallace (Chiles) 17:43.42; 2. Emily Culley (Chiles) 18:09.03; 3. Claire Openshaw (Creekside) 18:09.08; 8. Claire Moritz (Ponte Vedra) 18:39.48; 17. Elizabeth Ileff (Creekside) 19:25.02; 21. Naila Etique (Nease) 19:41.22; 26. Blake Petrick (Creekside) 19:54.93; 30. Mary Maloney (Nease) 20:00.18; 34. Tara Openshaw (Creekside) 20:07.84; 35. Hannah Jacobbe (Creekside) 20:07.88; 36. Darrah Reagan (Ponte Vedra) 20:12.36; 39. Avery Knehans (Ponte Vedra) 20:13.81.

Class 1A Boys

Team: 1. Mount Dora Christian 105; 2. Providence 170; 3. Citrus Park Christian 191; 11. St. Joseph 278.

Individual: 1. Trevor Foley (Citrus Park Christian) 15:47.25; 2. Ryan Szklany (Highlands Christian) 15:55.00; 3. Sean Snyder (St. Joseph) 16:02.94; 47. David Gonzalez (St. Joseph) 17:29.72; 75. Daquan Preston (St. Joseph) 17:58.88.

Class 1A Girls

Team: 1. Circle Christian 72; 2. Citrus Park Christian 74; 3. Oak Hall 129; 6. St. Joseph 235.

Individual: 1. Grace Blair (Oak Hall) 18:15.80; 2. Sinkenesh Parker (Circle Christian) 18:50.83; 3. Lydia Friedman (Citrus Park Christian) 19:01.47; 37. Emily Jackson (St. Joseph) 20:33.08; 50. Helena Willsau (St. Joseph) 20:48.63; 51. Morgan Sharp (St. Joseph) 20:49.29; 61. Isabella Goodwin (St. Joseph) 21:11.71.