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Spanish River High School boys’ and girls’ cross country coach Doug Horn couldn’t have been happier with his teams’ performances in the 39th annual Spanish River Invitational at South County Regional Park in Boca Raton.
“I was very pleased with the way the boys and girls performed,” he said. “We had a new school 5K cross country record by Sam Jaramillo breaking a 16-year-old school record.
“Our next three boys ran season bests to finish third as a team behind Viera, the No. 1-ranked team in Florida, and the reigning state champions, Columbus. The girls also took third behind state-ranked Our Lady Lourdes and Viera. That also included a great effort by Samantha Sadorf, who led our team.”
Spanish River turned in the best performance for any Boca Raton school in the meet, which took place over two days. The Class 2A, Class 1A varsity, and JV races, along with the middle school races were on Friday, while the Class 4A, 3A, and 4A-3A junior varsity races were contested on Saturday.
Spanish River’s boys placed third with 122 points, just ahead of fifth-place Boca Raton (158). Viera, led by senior Michael Toppi’s 15:08.7 clocking, cruised to the team title with 20 points. Christopher Columbus was second with 64. Cypress Bay (257) was the top Broward finisher in the Class 4A meet.
“I felt good for most of the race,” said Spanish River senior Sam Jaramillo, who broke the school record with a time of 15:57.5 and finished third overall. “I just wanted to go out there and compete and place as well as I could against some great competition. I have worked hard for this all year and put a lot of work in during the summer. I knew when a fast race came along, I’d be ready.”
West Boca senior Ryan Douihech was fifth (16:02.5) in the Class 4A race, while Boca Raton senior Collin Brooks was 11th (16:12.20). Spanish River senior Japrince Gaines took 19th (16:50.80).
Spanish River’s girls (87 points) edged out Park Vista by two points for the third spot in the 4A competition.
Spanish River senior Samantha Sadorf took third in the girls’ race with a 19:51.4 clocking. Park Vista’s Elise Ratledge placed fifth (20:22.0). Spanish River senior Zoe Pustilnik (20:48.6) and Park Vista junior Jessica Reason (20:44.7) cracked the top-10 placing eighth and ninth, respectively.
“I felt pretty dead,” said Sadorf, who was just five seconds off her personal best time. “It was pretty hot and I felt tired the first mile. The last mile was pretty rough too, but I finished. This makes me feel really good and to be able to represent Spanish River this way. When I was a freshman, I was running the bottom of the JV and now I am at the top of the varsity.”
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Sophomore Katelyn Sadorf was 16th (21:16.60), Boca Raton senior Alexis Villarose was 25th (21:58.00) in the Class 4A race.
In the Class 2A boys’ race, Saint Andrew’s runner William Romac was runner-up with a time of 16:11.40. Port Charlotte senior Tyler Wadsworth won the race with a time of 16:08.70. Scots senior Damien Carlsson placed fourth with a 16:38.40 clocking.
In the Class 2A girls’ race, FAU High School senior Maisha Atkinson was the top Boca Raton finisher clocking 21:45.08 to take 24th overall, while St. John Paul II Academy senior Grace Lopez (22:17.90) was 16th as the top finisher.
There were a total of 108 teams and 1,861 finishers. Horn said there were more registered and either didn’t finish the race or didn’t show up. He said that number was among the top fields in the history of the meet.
“I think 2019 was a little bigger,” Horn said. “I think cross country as a whole took a hit because of COVID. We didn’t really get the middle school development of athletes with two consecutive years of no middle school track and field.”