SJCDS wins District Boys’ Cross-Country Championship

SJCDS wins District Boys’ Cross-Country Championship
Back row: Richard Wilson, Head Coach Greg Stratton, James Wilson, Jacob Holyer, Timmy Jackson, Teague Dunagan, Walker Cowherd, Cade Zehner (holding trophy), Adan Herrera, Matthew Stratton, Richard Nichols, Jake Kailes, Michael Robinson, Assistant Coach Jordan Noble. Front row: Ayla Frisbee, Rebecca Stratton, Kaitlyn Phillips, Sofia Conde, Evelyn Hanson, Sarah Robinson, Sarah Mejias.

Matthew Stratton, a junior at St. Johns Country Day, took home the individual title to lead his team to victory in the boys’ cross-country team Class 1A District Championship Oct. 29.

The victory ended a 16-year drought for the Spartan boys, who last won the championship in 2004. Stratton’s win in the districts was the second time ever that a St. Johns harrier took home individual championship laurels.

Meanwhile, the St. Johns girls’ team exceeded expectations and finished second.

Both teams advanced to the regional championship, which was held at Cecil Field Nov. 6. At the regional, the boys’ varsity will attempt to qualify to run in the state championship for the fifth consecutive year, while the girls’ varsity aimed for a 15th consecutive state championship appearance. The state championship was held in Tallahassee. 

The weather was perfect – pleasant and breezy – for the race at the New World golf complex at Cecil Field. All five Spartans finished among the top 20. At the start, Stratton pulled away early and was never threatened. He cruised home in 17:27 to become the individual champ. In third place was Nichols, a freshman, who came back from an injury to shave 34 seconds off his time and log his all-time personal best of 17:58, breaking the 18-minute barrier for the first time. He was followed by his teammates Jake Kailes at 18:18 for fourth place, Walker Cowherd placed sixth in 18:53, 19 seconds better than his previous personal best. Cade Zehner at 20:44 for 18th place, which was his best individual race of the season. 

Stratton, Nichols, Kailes, and Cowherd were named to the All District team.

In the girls’ race, St. Johns finished second as a team behind Providence but ahead of Bishop Snyder. The Spartan’s first three runners posted their personal bests. Seventh grader Rebecca Stratton led her team with a sixth-place finish of 22:16, her personal best by 11 seconds. She was followed by her teammate Evelyn Hanson in seventh place who logged her personal best time of 22:35 for her best race of the season. Rounding out the team was Sarah Robinson in 11th place at 23:29, a personal best and her best run of the year, Sofia Conde in 13th place at 23:38 and Sarah Mejias at 18th place with 25:29. 

Rebecca Stratton, Hanson, Robinson and Conde were named to the All District team.

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