Pre-State - Fast TimesJana Stolting. October 18, 2009
This past weekend, local high school squads trekked down to Dade City to participate in the Pre-State Invitational. Big Bend athletes made it worth the gas money it took to get down there with outstanding performances on both the girls’ and boys’ sides.
In the elite girls’ race, Chiles dominated the field, winning first place overall. The Lady Timberwolves placed four runners in the top ten. They were led by Lily Williams, who finished in fourth place with a time of 18:34.42. Behind her, teammates Carly Thomas (sixth in 18:45.66), Rachel Givens (eighth in 18:55.82), and Kendall Andrews (tenth in 19:04.06) rounded out the top pack. In the same race, the ladies of Leon placed twenty-seventh overall, led by Allison Clarke (one hundred twenty-sixth place in 21:33.85).
Maclay’s Lady Marauders competed in the Small Schools race, and proved equally as dominant, taking the overall victory. Just as the Chiles girls did in their race, Maclay placed four girls in the top ten. The charge was led by Jana Stolting, who placed first overall and cracked the eighteen minute barrier with a time of 17:51.12. Behind her, teammates Stefanie Kurgatt (second in 18:27.73), Kristin Sweeney (sixth in 19:34.68), and Shelby Salimone (ninth in 19:51.77) sealed Maclay’s top-spot fate.
On the boys’ side, the elite race provided yet another opportunity for Leon’s Matt Mizereck to show the state what he can do. He charged up the famed finish hill to take first place in 15:20.44, which was over three seconds ahead of his closest competitor. His win, along with teammate, Riley Doherty’s twenty-second place finish (16:10.76) propelled the Lions to a sixth place overall standing. This is quite a feat considering the Lions’ usual number two runner, Will Stanford, is still not back to full strength after battling sickness for the past few weeks. The Chiles boys also ran in the elite race, placing eighteenth overall. They were led by Sam Sutton’s forty-seventh place finish, in a time of 16:37.09.
Maclay’s boys ran in the Small Schools race, finishing a solid fourth overall. Top Marauder, Patrick Swain, buried the field, winning in a time of 16:07.48. Teammates, Austin Stevens (fifteenth in 17:25.04), Jacob Coates (twenty-sixth in 18:00.75), and Travis Covert (twenty-seventh in 18:03.45) rounded out the Marauder charge.
Overall, it was another great weekend of racing for area athletes, who proved they can compete with the state’s best runners and come out on top. Next weekend, local teams will flock to Marianna for the highly anticipated Panhandle Championship, a meet that has been known to produce fast times and nail-biting finishes. With the weather finally turning crisper and cross country season truly kicking into high gear, there is no telling what awe-inspiring performances next weekend’s battle royal will produce, but I, for one, cannot wait to toe that line.