St. Johns Sheriff’s Office, Ponte Vedra cross country team host car wash
PONTE VEDRA BEACH — Ponte Vedra senior Maggie Dykstra was a freshman the last time her school’s cross country teams held their annual car wash.
Rain ruined the 2019 wash and the pandemic thwarted last year’s effort.
Finally, after a three-year hiatus, the boys and girls teams continued their long-standing tradition last weekend. The Sharks hosted their yearly fundraiser at the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday.
Dykstra was happy she and the other 134 runners could do the car wash because it typically helps everyone get acquainted and build team chemistry before they start competing.
“The bonding helps us know that we have a team behind us,” Dykstra said. “Cross country is such a mentally and physically demanding sport that you need to know that you have people supporting you. This is a way to reinforce that mindset.”
The Sharks have had the car wash even before head coach Rob Circelli took over as head coach five years ago. The money the team raises funds several expenses including travel, meets, water, food and safety lights.
Boys All-Area:Meet the St. Johns All-County boys’ cross country team
Girls All-Area:Meet the St. Johns All-County girls’ cross country team
Several cars filed into the parking lot Saturday to support the team. The Sharks lined the streets outside the office holding up homemade signs advertising the fundraiser and jars to collect donations. Three other groups handled washing, rinsing and drying.
One of the first cars the long-distance runners cleaned was Sheriff Robert Hardwick’s.
Hardwick, whose mantra is “too easy,” was happy to help revive the Sharks’ wash.
“It’s too easy to get involved in our kids’ lives,” Hardwick said. “It’s exciting when you can give back just by being a part of something.”
After the decent turnout, the Sharks may be eyeing another wash at the end of the year, Circelli said. The most joyous aspect of the event, though, was seeing athletes just be high school kids and support one another, he said.
“There’s nothing these kids won’t do for their teammates, high school and cross country program,” Circelli said. “We have the best and brightest that Ponte Vedra has to offer on their cross country team.”