1999 Eagle Invitational

October 16, Niceville, Florida

Hurricane Irene may not have dropped rain on the Tallahassee area, but it still disrupted cross country plans for some area teams. Instead of heading south toward Titusville, local teams went west to Niceville for the Eagle Invitational. Maclay, Leon and Lincoln all competed in the Division I race, while lots of other local schools participated in the Division II and JV meets. Maclay continued its outstanding season by taking second in both the boys and girls Division I meets. Leon was eighth in the boys race, while Lincoln was 10th in the boys race and 15th in the girls division. Niceville dominated the boys race with 32 points and three finishers in the top five. Maclay scored 67 points for second place. St. Paul’s Episcopal won the girls race with 88 points to second place Maclay’s 110.

St. Paul’s Margaret Martin ran 18:43 to win the girls race. Kara Newell bounced back strongly from some recent disappointments to finish fourth overall in 19:01, just ahead of Leon’s Amy Coburn who ran an outstanding 19:04. These are the fastest times that I am aware of for Big Bend area runners this year. Jennifer Emo (Maclay, 11th, 19:19), Nichole Posey (Maclay, 12th, 19:25) and Allie Hunter (Lincoln, 19th, 19:55) all finished in the top 20 overall.

Phillip Laird of Niceville demonstrated why he is ranked third in the state in division four, taking the boys title in 15:21. Michael Joanos (Leon) returned to the top spot in the Big Bend area by finishing second in 15:39. Thure Caire showed he is finally returning to form as Maclay’s top runner, crossing the finish line in 15:48, for what I believe was his fastest time this year. Ryan Deak was the only other area runner in the top ten, finishing just under the 16:00 minute barrier for Maclay. Joel Serna (Maclay, 14), Larry Rivers (Leon, 15) and Matt Katz (Maclay, 17) rounded out the area’s top 20 finishers. Phillip Perry (16:39) and Brian Hendrix (16:51) were the top Lincoln finishers.

The division II races were very competitive. Marianna actually had a slower total time than Wewahitcka, but still had fewer points from places to nip its rival by one point and take the boys title. Maclay’s second team was third, only three points back. Apalachicola, led by Tyler Fulmer and Suryan Jama, placed fifth. Rod Givens from Port St. Joe broke the tape in the boys race when he ran a 16:07 to win. Chester Udell was second, in16:57, solidly in front of North Florida Christian’s Charles Wright, who finished just over 17:03.

Chiles High led the girls competition in division II, paced by Zita Magloire’s winning time of 21:00. Teammate Kristine Isom was second in 21:18. Jenny Edmiston led Apalachicola High’s girls team to a fourth place finish by running 22:07. Kayla Lee ran 23:19 for 14th place.

Next week is the Panhandle Championship in Marianna. This meet is one of the year’s best and is a good indicator of who is ready for state.