A Strong STATEment for Tallahassee

Jana Stolting, November 21, 2009

What a day for Tallahassee cross country! The 2009 State Championship Meet was everything it was built up to be and more, especially for the throng of runners hailing from the 850. With two state championship teams, three individual champs, and a plethora of runners inside the top ten, the Big Bend brought home a treasure trove of hardware.

In the girls’ 1A race, Maclay took second overall, with Holy Trinity narrowly dashing their dreams of a championship by a mere five points. The Lady Marauders were led by Jana Stolting (third in 17:51.60), Stefanie Kurgatt (fourth in 18:02.96), Kristin Sweeney (fourteenth in 19:30.51), and Shelby Salimone (seventeenth in 19:39.91).

Maclay’s boys finished a solid fourth overall in the 1A boys’ race. Patrick Swain repeated as state champion, winning in a time of 15:44.98. Behind him, teammates Austin Stevens (twelfth in 16:36.03), Jacob Coates (thirty-ninth in 17:30.82), Travis Covert (forty-second in 17:34.58), and Dennis Keane (forty-ninth in 17:43.82) rounded out the top five.

No Tallahassee teams were represented in the 2A races, but there were two individuals in the boys’ race. Dieumy Duclos, of Godby High School, finished in twenty-sixth place in a time of 16:31.05. His teammate, Terrell Bryant ran 17:00.24, to claim fifty-fifth place. 

The 3A races provided yet another showcase of the dominance of the Leon boys and Chiles girls. In the boys’ race, Matt Mizereck claimed the top spot for the third time in as many years in 15:21.64. Behind him, teammates Will Stanford (fourth in 15:51.88) and Riley Doherty (fifth in 15:52.37) provided a solid support system for the Lions, guaranteeing them the win. In the same race, the Chiles boys took fifteenth overall, led by Brandon Lingerfelt’s forty-sixth place finish in a time of 16:50.65.

The Chiles girls came, saw, and conquered, just as predicted, winning with a team score of forty points. They were led by overall winner, Carly Thomas who just outkicked her teammate to claim first with a time of 18:20.97. Bolstered by strong showings from Lily Williams (second in 18:21.48), Kendall Andrews (tenth in 18:55.99), and Jodie McGuff (19:13.57), Chiles easily took home the gold.

As the 2009 cross country season draws to a close, the feeling is bittersweet. With my senior year rapidly disappearing, I know I was more than a little nostalgic as I waved goodbye to Little Everglades Ranch for the last time. And yet, there was also a feeling of excitement for all that Tallahassee’s young distance stars have accomplished, and for what still lies ahead. For some, there is still more work to be done next weekend, at the Footlocker South Regional Meet in Charlotte, North Carolina. For others, it is time to air out the shoes for a week or two before heading back out to the trails to prepare for track season. I, for one, cannot wait to make the trip up to Charlotte to take my shot at a top ten finish and a trip to Nationals, and I am not alone in my anticipation. I know for a fact that Matt Mizereck will be making the trip as well, and he may be joined by one or more fellow Lions. Perhaps this will be the year that a Tally native finally gets to San Diego. With the way things have gone thus far, it certainly isn’t outside of the realm of possibility.