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.