Szklany cruises to another big win

Posted on 19 October 2017 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Lighthouse Point’s Ryan Szklany is making the most of his senior cross country season.

The Highlands Christian Academy 17-year-old won a major invitational for the third time this season as he captured the Pine Crest Cross Country Invitational at Tradewinds Park in Coconut Creek last week.

Szklany ran a 17:08.70 on the 5K layout to win the boys varsity race by 11 seconds over runner-up Robert Pedroza, a sophomore from Key West High School, who ran a 17:19.52. They were the only two runners to run faster than 18-minutes in the boys race.

Szklany also won the individual championship in the Boys High School Select Division at the FSU Pre-State Invitational at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee, as well as the 35th annual Spanish River Invitational at South County Park in Boca Raton.

When he won the Pre-State meet, Szklany started out in sixth place at the mile mark as he went out in 5:00.7, but by the second mile he had moved up to first. With a strong finishing burst, he held off Lakewood Ranch’s Jonathan Reid to clock 16:21.3. Reid was second with a time of 16:25.1.

The first mile we went out far and, after that, there was a group of a two or three guys that were about 20 meters ahead that I wanted to catch before they broke away,” said Szklany, who was third at last year’s Class 1A state cross country championships. “I was able to stay with them and pushed ahead.”

This is good for confidence, knowing that I could hold down a strategy,” Szklany added. “I was a little disappointed because I didn’t get a PR, but I was able to get my second fastest time of the season and I am happy with that.”

Szklany said he is starting to return to the form he was at two years ago when he ran his personal best time of 16:13.00.

I just think the development is starting to pay off,” Szklany said. “I think the training is starting to catch up a little bit. I am starting to transition back into it.

I know what the course is now and I am a little more used to where I should go a little harder or maybe lay back a little bit,” Szklany said of the 5K layout at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee. “I have that aspect of it and also being able to compete against the guys I am going to be racing against to kind of get to know their strategies and race against them.”

Trevor Foley, who transferred from Nature Coast Tech (Class 2A) to Citrus Park Christian (1A) before last year’s track season, is going to be Szklany’s main rival. Foley’s best time is 15:20, so Szklany will have his work cut out for him as his best time this season is a 16:16.40 and his personal best is a 16:13.0, which he ran in the Foot Locker South event in Nov. 2015.

In their lone head-to-head meeting, Foley won the Flrunners.com Invitational 18 Race of Champions Boys Division at Holloway Park in Lakeland on Sept. 30. Foley won the event with a 15:54.64 clocking, while Szklany covered the distance in 16:23.15. Szklany was third in the Jim Ryun Invitational by Fellowship of Christian Athletes (16:35.80).

Szklany has his sights set on competing in college at Emory Riddle.

I haven’t committed anywhere yet,” Szklany said. “It is giving me a little more drive to keep working hard and training hard to make sure I am there at the end of the season.”

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