Holy cow! A perfect 15

By David Yon

Local cross country powers Chiles and Maclay High Schools have battled each other in a number of meets this year and used to share the same division. Chiles moved up to 2A this year, while Maclay continues to compete in the class 1A division. I am sure the rest of the local schools would like to see them beat each other up a little more and leave them alone. No such luck though as Chiles completely dominated the Class 2A district meet in Marianna by sweeping the top five places to score a rare “perfect 15” and capture the 2A boys district title. Maclay was nearly as good in winning the 1A boys (19 points) and girls (17 points) district titles, capturing four of the top five places in each race to win those titles. Chiles’ girls were one step behind the boys phenomenal performance, taking second place behind Pensacola Catholic (43 to 35 points).

While the Big Dogs took the headlines, the day’s most heart warming story was the rise of the North Florida Christian cross country team from rag tag strays to regional qualifiers as runner after runner set personal bests to lift both the girls and boys teams into the next round. Coaches Judy Alexander and Brian Corbin found the right formula to bring their kids to the year end meet in their best shape – good enough for sixth place finishes for both teams. In the 3A class Rickards and Lincoln’s girls captured fifth and sixth place respectively to move on to the regionals. In the boys’ division, Leon (fourth) joined Lincoln (fifth) and Godby (eighth) in advancing. Marianna joined Chiles in moving on to regionals in the girls and boys 2A class. Wakulla High’s boys took sixth place to advance. The advancing teams had lots of help from GWTC members as Gary Droze, Brian and Judy, Scott Gowan, Ron Christen and Manny Joanos, among others, led their teams as coaches.

There were lots of individual stars as well. Ryan Deak led Maclay’s effort with a course record 15:27 winning time. The rest of Maclay’s top five included Alex Brickler (17:14), Ross McMillen (17:27), Casey Clayton (18:10). Jennifer Emo called upon patience and persistence to overcome a string of injuries in her running career and enable her to capture the 1A district title in a time of 19:39, just ahead of rising star and teammate Adriana Piekarewicz who ran 19:57. Betsy McQueen (20:19), Jessica Allen (21:20 and Meredith Fraser (21:26) rounded out the Maclay scorers. Chiles was led by Alex Militech who edged out teammate Herbie Thiele 15:49 to 15:59 for the title. Teammates Stephen Smith (16:44), Hunter Cook (16:46) and Stephen Andrews completed the Chiles sweep. Maria Hampton was the top Chiles finisher for the girls with a fourth place finish in 20:23. Her teammates Karla Savery (20:27), Kelly Savery (20:40) Layne Maifarth (21:07) and Shannon Timmann (22:17) completed the team scoring. The top NFC runners were Jeff Given (19:30) and Kara Taylor (25:41). Rajhan Delaney (16:59) led Godby, while Logan Wolcott (17:12) and Andrew Mannheimer (17:12) were Leon’s top performers. James Dexter (17:38) was Lincoln’s top finisher and Stephen Arnold was first for Rickards in 18:03. On the girls side, Allie Hunter (Lincoln) took third place overall in 20:03 just ahead of Rickard’s LaShaunta Arnold who ran 20:03.

For more results: http://www.milesplit.com/results/FL/2002/index.htm