The Belen Jesuit Boys Make Huge Statement With A Dominating Win, And A Few Records, At The Southern Showcase
Photo Credit: Spencer Cox
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What does a perfect day look like in cross country?
It would be hard to argue with the day the Belen Jesuit boys put together on Saturday at The Southern Showcase in Huntsville, Alabama.
Not only did the No. 6 Wolverines claim the invitational win with 73 points, beating No. 3 Jesuit and No. 12 Farragut, but in doing so the squad also lowered their nation-leading average down to 15:12.
Moreover, the team's lead man, No. 1 Joshua Ruiz, earned the individual win in 14:38.79. That performance is the fastest time any boys runner from the state of Florida has ever run for 5K.
And to put a bow on top? Freshman Marcelo Mantecon clocked a time of 14:52.59, which surpasses the all-time freshman 5K best of 14:53.79, which Keegan Smith ran in 2021 at this very same meet.
The reigning NXN qualifiers look every bit as good in 2023.
But of course, that was only the first major storyline from The Southern Showcase. Beyond Ruiz, eight boys ran under 15 minutes on the course -- course-correcting performances after a muddy-RunningLane XC Championships in December produced some outlier times on the fastest 5K course in America.
Ravenwood's Miles Ramer, fresh off a commitment to the University of Tennessee, was second overall in 14:39.50, while Alabama No. 1 Ethan Edgeworth was third in 14:40.85, Georgia No. 1 Tommy Latham was fourth in 14:41.01 and South Carolina No. 1 Jake Liebert was fifth in 14:43.67.
Knoxville Catholic's Keegan Smith, clocking his third performance at this meet since his freshman year, lowered his best on the course by three seconds, finishing fifth in 14:49.41.
New Orleans Jesuit, meanwhile, was second overall in the team standings behind Belen.
While the squad was without Michael Vocke, a Louisiana 1,600m state champion who is the team's No. 2 behind Brady Mullen, they still looked good, clocking a team average of 15:29. Mullen was ninth overall in 15:02.
Farragut, nationally-ranked in MileSplit's preseason top 25 and Tennessee's top team, was third overall with a 15:35 average. A total of six teams had averages under 16 minutes for 5K.
TEAM SCORES PLACE TEAM POINTS SCORERS TIMES 1 Belen Jesuit Preparatory School 73 1+7+14+16+35 (42+64) 1:06 1-5 Split | 15:12 Avg 2 Jesuit 124 9+11+21+33+50 (53+94) 1:00 1-5 Split | 15:29 Avg 3 Farragut High School 148 10+12+18+31+77 (105+144) 1:17 1-5 Split | 15:35 Avg 4 Brother Martin 185 20+25+27+43+70 (79+148) 0:44 1-5 Split | 15:47 Avg 5 Huntsville HS 209 8+28+54+56+63 (69) 1:16 1-5 Split | 15:48 Avg 6 Marist 280 4+22+46+89+119 (125) 2:06 1-5 Split | 15:53 Avg
The girls championship race, meanwhile, produced four girls under 18 minutes.
Independence's Jaynie Halterman, who was third in the race last year, won with a time of 17:38.52.
Caroline Hood (17:42), Abby Merner (17:50) and Katelynn Dollar (17:58) were second, third and fourth, respectively.
The Brentwood girls dispatched the field, scoring 66 points on a precise 17-second spread. Nobody else was really even close, with Auburn (AL) finishing second with 154 points.
Brentwood locked in for an 18:25 average.
GIRLS 5000 METER RUN FINALS PLACE ATHLETE TEAM RESULT POINTS 1 Jaynie Halterman 12 Independence High School 17:38.52 1 2 Caroline Hood 12 Pace Academy 17:42.38 2 3 Abby Merner 10 Auburn 17:50.85 3 4 Katelynn Dollar 12 Creekview 17:58.78 4 5 Lily Bowen 11 Harpeth Hall School 18:09.23 5 6 Caroline Couch 10 Maclay School 18:09.39 6 7 Rachel Haws 11 Brentwood High School 18:13.55 7 8 Sarah Tole 9 Auburn 18:14.24 8 9 Emma Brooke Levering 11 Homewood HS 18:17.65 9 10 Lucy Cramer 9 Parkview Baptist 18:18.30 0
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