By David Yon
Quick now, who is the best middle distance runner in the USA these days? Wasn’t there some guy named Webb who was supposed to be the country’s savior not so long ago? Can you name a miler or 800 meter specialist since Steve Scott? How about since Jim Ryan? This guy was the first person to be ranked number one in both the 800 and the 1500 in the U.S. since Rick Wohlhuter did it in 1976. He did his college tour of duty just north of here in Atlanta where he was an ACC champion at Georgia Tech. And before the year is out he could possibly own the American record at both 800 and 1500 meters, if not the mile. His name is David Krummenacker and he is the only American runner to run under 1:45 and 3:32, having run the 800 in 1:43.95 and the 1500 in 3:31.91. The American records are 1:42.60 (Johnny Gray) and 3:29.77 (Sydney Maree). Steve Scott holds the mile record at 3:47.69. Krummenacker became the first U.S. runner to win two Golden League meets at 800 meters, capturing meet titles in Paris and Rome. These are places U.S. runners hardly ever win races above 400 meters. He kicked off this season by winning the World Indoor 800m title.
FSU Coach Bob Braman just finished up a banner year recruiting for cross country with six outstanding signees for the men’s team. And while he has recruited all over the world (well at least Europe) successfully one of his recruits comes right from Tallahassee. Herbie Thiele was a star runner for Chiles High School and the winner of the 2001 Chenoweth Fund Cross Country Runner of the Year Award. It has been an outstanding year for the FSU team as the men won the ACC Championship and women finished second. Distance records fell as his revamped program has become competitive on the national scene. Watch for both teams as they compete in the NCAA Regional competition May 30-31.
Runners battled the heat and the flying critters at this year’s Humanatee 5K in St. Marks. Youth ruled as Caleb Carmichael and Jason Fulghum battled it out for the top two spots. Carmichael (18) took the top spot with a time of 17:07, while recent Godby graduate Jason Fulghum (19) took second with a time of 17:27. James Dexter (18) made it three out of the top five for the young guns with his fifth place finish of 18:39. The “old” men to break up the youth trifecta were Tim Unger (17:34) and Larry Mengelkoch (17:38). (We will spare you the details of their advanced age.) The top woman was Lynn Markell in 23:34. Larry’s son, Paul, won the mile race in 7:26.
And speaking of youth, the boys track team became the first team in any sport at the new Chiles High School to win a state championship, taking the 3A title. Coach Scott Gowan won six titles while at Port St. Joe, but this was his first since moving to Tallahassee to take over the Timberwolves program four years ago. It was a thrilling win too as it was not decide until the boys finished third in the 4×400 relay. Democrat writer Brian McLaughlin said it best “Bottom of the ninth? Fourth-quarter rally? Move out of the way – the 4×400 relay comeback in track and field is even better.” Godby sprinter Nicole Marcus closed out her senior season by winning state titles in the 100 and 200 meter events running 12.06 and 20.44 for two big time PRs. Chinelo Ubaka ( discus 132-11) and Simone Clark (300 hurdles 43.24) also brought home state titles for Chiles and Rickards. Chiles joined Maclay and Florida High as local teams to bring back state titles.
On Sunday morning, the youth was on center stage again at Maclay Gardens. Only this time the old folks were not invited as the Bonnie and Felton Wright staged the second Red Hills Kids’ Triathlon. This quickly has become a premier local event, thanks in part to help from the Chenoweth Fund. Over sixty kids swam, biked and ran to glory at Maclay Gardens. The swimmers went off in waves based on age starting with the oldest and working down to the youngest, who by the way was five or six years old. The child was ready to skip the swim when club President and event volunteer, Jane Johnson, swooped her up in her arms and took her out to a stunned Joe Dexter. Joe, always willing to respond to the call, took the young competitor in his arms and began swimming around the buoys. You have never watched a real tri though until you have watched intense young competitors look way up in the sky to see an out of reach rack for bikes and, rather than freaking out, just pop the kick stand down and park the bike right under the bar. Is there a judge so heartless as to DQ such ingenuity? Tom Perkins and I got the great pleasure of holding the ribbon for each kid to break as they finished their run to complete the event. The mile wide smiles on the faces of the finishers seemed more than enough reward until one poor child started launching his breakfast at us from about 100 hundred yards out. He kept it up until Judy Alexander wrapped his finishing medal around his neck. It was a day for the kids though as every finisher received a medal and a goodie bag.
Finally, on Sunday afternoon the greatest group of people I know proved yet again that GWTC is something far more special than “just a running club.” Hilary Gardner has fought a courageous battle over the last year or so with kidneys that just can’t handle the job they are supposed to do. At last report they were handling less than 10% of the cleansing load they were designed to do. The only answer at this point is a kidney transplant. Hilary’s sister is right there to donate. But there is no cheap way to do it and even with insurance, there are many uncovered expenses. On Sunday afternoon, GWTC members packed a “Cheers for Hilary” pool party and brought more than $4700 to help out. Moondance (Mimi Hearn, Howard Rubin and the incomparable GWTC star, Bill McGuire) graciously played and kept the crowd dancing. This event was the first of two as the 2003 Celebrity Dinner to be held in June will also help this great cause. But you don’t have to wait until then if you want to help out, just drop a check made out to Lakeview Baptist/Hilary Gardner Fund and mail it to 3324 Charleston Road, Tallahassee, Fl 32309.
And of course it is deerfly season and the question of the week was – “how do you keep those evil creatures from peeling off your skin?” Martha Haynes reported the new Avon Skin So Soft worked down in St. Marks. Of course those are the weak kneed, can’t keep a decent species that fly down there. There was a report that certain colors repel them. And off course there is the question of how effective Karl Hempel’s great deer fly hat catcher worked. While I have personally seen hundreds, maybe thousands of the little buggers perish by this method; I must ask has anyone seen Karl since deerfly season started this year? Last I heard he was seen diving in the water to get away from them, then hoping on a bike hoping to out run them. (He made up some cover about tri training, but I know better.) Most recently, I heard a report he had gone south to the Keys till the season was over.