Panhandle Championships - The Stoltz Report

Jana Stolting, 10-26-08

This past weekend, area runners competed in Marianna at the Panhandle Championship.  It was a great day at the races, and a terrific showcase of the Big Bend’s finest athletes.

On the girls’ side, Lily Williams led Chiles with a first place finish (18:02).  Carly Thomas was their second girl, finishing third overall (18:41).  Jodie McGuff (19:10), Kendall Andrews (19:14), and Kaia Hampton (19:18) finished fourth, fifth, and sixth respectively to round out Chiles’ top five and give them a near perfect score of nineteen points for the overall win.  Maclay’s girls managed to grab third place, led by a second place finish by Jana Stolting and a seventh place finish by Shelby Salimone.  Leon’s girls took fifth, led by an eighth place finish by Claire Stodghill (19:41).

The boys’ race was equally impressive.  Whitney Strickland of North Florida Christian won in a time of 15:55.  The next finisher from the Big Bend was Maclay’s Patrick Swain, who took fifth in a time of 16:17.  Swain led the Marauders to a fourth place finish.  The second Maclay finisher was Austin Stevens in twelfth place with a time of 16:46.  Then came Patrick Griffin in twenty-first place with a time of 17:07.  Leon’s boys were led by Eric Hoofnagle’s tenth place finish (16:40).  Next for the Lions was David Twitchell in eleventh (16:43).  Leon had two more finishers under seventeen; Michael Dobson (fifteenth with a 16:51) and Robert Palmer (eighteenth with a 16:57).  Overall, the Leon boys (who were running their B-team) took second.  Chiles claimed the eighth spot, led by a twenty-sixth place finish by Brandon Lingerfelt (17:10).  On his heels was teammate, Sam Sutton (twenty-seventh with a 17:11).  Taylor Buzzard was their third finisher (fortieth with a 17:19).  Lincoln’s boys were led to a twelfth place finish by Connor Holcombe (forty-fifth with a 17:26).

In the girls’ middle school two mile race, the Big Bend claimed both the first and second finishers.  Cece Williams, younger sister of Lily Williams, took the win with a 12:13.  Stephanie Kurgatt, of the More Otters Track Club took second with a 12:21.  Overall, the More Otter girls took third.

On the boys’ side, Travis Covert of the More Otters Track Club was the first Big Bend finisher and third overall with a time of 11:49.  Teammates Cody Stevens and Jack Rutledge finished eleventh and twelfth respectively.  Overall, the More Otter boys took second.
With City Championships this Friday being the last regular season meet, it seems State is just around the bend.  

Undoubtedly, this year’s post season meets will produce some of the fastest times both in the Big Bend’s and in Florida’s history.  That being said, one of the most fun meets to participate in and to watch will be the City Championships, hosted by Maclay High School, this Friday afternoon.  The course is creative and costumes are encouraged… oh, and there will be mud. 

Complete Results at