By David Yon


The rain gods did not answer the runners’ or race directors’ prayers and Saturday evening was a beautiful, warm summer night for the 2004 Pot Luck Bash. The result was a record turnout for the Bash (136 finishers), which has slowly grown over the last three years. Those who came got treated to an evening of running, great food, music and a chance to see and recognize some of the Big Bend’s top high school athletes. Missing were the downpours of the last two years that brought big smiles to runners faces. Mary and Dennis Register grabbed up a couple friends and, in what we hope will be a new tradition, cooked up one mean low boil. Special thanks to them not only for their effort, but for a very generous donation of food. Hobson Fulmer brought 35 pounds of shrimp that he contributed to the boil as well. It was the rave of the evening!

The race doesn’t start until every runner raises their arms to show two bare wrists – watches are not allowed in the prediction run. It is amazing how close some of the predictions come too. Craig Willis won the top price by missing his predicted time of 27:13, by one second when he ran 27:14. Nick Yonclas only missed his time by two seconds to grab second. He predicted 32:00 and ran 32:02. Keith Berry only missed by three seconds. Statistician extraordinaire Fred Deckert reported that the average difference between predicted time and actual time was 2:41 seconds, amazing given the terrain. Runners do know their bodies.

It was a grand prix race, so there was lots of hard, tough running. Caleb Carmichael was first over all in a time of 23:05 good enough to best Tim Unger who ran 23:44. Tim was top master as well. Kara Newell was first woman with a time of 25:59, while Seeley Lovett was second in 27:20. Jane Johnson was the top master with a time of 27:45 and third overall.

The stars of the evening though were the high school athletes recognized for their outstanding performances during the past year. The Chenoweth Fund awards $500 scholarships to each of the top male and female cross country runners and to the top male and female track and field athletes. This year’s winners were:

Female Cross Country Runner: Maria Hampton (Chiles High School) (Bright Futures scholar, 4.5 GPA, signed with Georgia Tech, 5th in state in CC, best time of 18:57, All Big Bend, All-State. Ran 800 in 2:24; 1600 in 5:10, 3200 in 11:15.)

Female Track and Field Athlete: Simone Clark (Rickards High School), Led Big Bend in 100H/300H/HJ; 2nd 100H at state in 14.49, 4th in 300H in 44.18, ran 4×400. Has a scholarship to Jacksonville University. Bright Futures Scholarship and 3.2 GPA. “Simone is a very positive and energetic young lady…She enjoys being around children and her heart is as big as her radiant smile.”

Male Cross County Runner: Stephan Smith (Chiles High School), 4th in State cross country, 15:43 5K, All-state, 2nd in state 800, ran 1:51.74, 1500 ran 4:21, 4.15 GPA, Bright Futures. Scholarship to the University of Kentucky.

Male Track and Field Athlete: Ellis Gauldsen (Godby High School), 2nd High Jump at state, jumped 7 feet at Seminole Invitational, scored over 20 points at state championship meet in high jump, long jump, triple jump and relay.

Finalist for the award included:
Kyra Mobley (Lincoln) (2nd state 800, 2:17.83)
Karla Savery (Chiles) (2nd state Pole Vault, 11 feet; 300 hurdles, 47.94, 4 years all-state, Bright Scholars, scholarship University of Florida)
Fritz Stoppelbein (Wewahitchka) Made region cross country meet even though his team did not have team. 2nd team Big Bend.
Kayla Parker (Florida High) (At state track meet she was 5th in 100H, 15.16; 5th high jump, 5.02; state champ in long jump, 18-04.25; 6th in triple jump, 35-05.75)
Adrianna Piekarewicz (Maclay) (2nd best CC time in area, 19:37; 3rd in state in 1600, 5:17.40; 6th in 3200, 12:11.61)
Brandon Paul (North Florida Christian) (2nd in state in 100, 11.06; 9th in 200 23.51, anchor 4×100)
Michele Jenije (North Florida Christian) (State triple jump champ, 37-08.50.)

The Pot Luck Bash is a fund raiser for the Chenoweth Endowment Fund. The Fund is one of GWTC’s many efforts to promote the sport of running and track and field in the Big Bend area. The fund has a special emphasis on youth running. As of June 5, it has awarded more than $32,000 in assistance to deserving athletes. For more information.

Complete results.