By David Yon


A full weekend saw two road races (including one where a home boy did good), a regional high school meet, a state high school meet, a third place finish for a GWTC team in Pensacola, an American 10,000 meter record on the track and a funeral.

In Bainbridge, Georgia Greg Waddell used home field advantage to pull away from Dwayne Maddron to win the Riverside Artfest 5K Run. Greg and Dwayne burned the first mile at sub 5:30 pace dropping two other runners who tried to go out with them. The first mile is flat and fast as it runs along the Flint River. Just after the mile mark though there is a short, sharp uphill climb that takes you into the heart of Bainbridge. Greg began to put the race away here and as he made the loop through town and headed home he charged back down the same hill in the lead. He crossed the finish line in an unofficial time of 17:15, just 15 seconds up on Dwayne Maddron who finished at 17:30. Dwayne won the masters title with his second place finish. The first woman was Kate Herzog (I think) in a time of 22:31 (I think again.) The crowd was small for this year’s event, but the event was well organized. It is a fun course that should attract more runners.

Maclay Gardens hosted the Miles for Meals 5K (complete results) and Jerry McDaniel captured his first overall win in a time of 19:12. He and Chuck Davis went after it for 2.9 miles, with Chuck leading most of the way before Jerry pulled away. Sue Williams won the women’s race in 23:19. The course is tough, with a significant portion off road, but the surroundings are beautiful and the cause is terrific. Angie Goodman reported that there were 99 finishers, the biggest group she has seen in the three years she has been directing this race.

The Region 1, Class 4A meet was held at Mike Long track on Thursday night and it was mostly a show for out of town schools. Orlando Evans won the boys competition and Lake Mary took the girls. Lincoln took fifth in the boys event, led by state qualifiers Antonio Cromartie and Craphonso Thorpe. Craphonso won the 100-meter event in a time of 10.69, while Antonio took second in the 110-meter hurdles in 14.37. Leon finished nineteenth, with Omar Morgan moving on to state in the shot put with a fourth place toss of 50-8.75 and Andre Jamison advancing in the 110 hurdles with a fourth place finish of 14.79. Lincoln also took the 4×100 relay title with a time of 41.83. On the girls side Lincoln finished eighth, while Leon was fourteenth. Megal Atias led Lincoln by qualifying for state in the 1600 (third in 5:12.52) and 3200 (third in 11:22.39). Marsha Laws jumped 18-0.25 to capture third and advance in the long jump. Yakeshia Daniels was second in the 400-meter race with a time of 58.67 to advance for Leon. Crystal Footman rounded out the Leon qualifiers with a fourth place toss of 34’06.50″ in the shot.

The story was a bit better in the Class 1A state meet. Port St. Joe reclaimed its place at the top of the heap by winning the boys title with 90.50 points, while Maclay took third place. Florida High’s girls took third place just ahead of Chiles and Maclay. Reggie Quinn won titles in the 100, 200 and 400 meter races to lead Port St. Joe. Ryan Deak scored points in three events – a personal best 1:58.83 for fourth in the 800, a 4:22.45 in the 1600 and a 9:40.17 in the 3200 for second in both events. Matt Katz had a personal best 4:26.81 to claim fourth in the 1600 and then came back to grab third in the 3200 with a 9:51.60 personal best that included a ferocious last lap kick. Rolf Steier of Berkley Prep won both events with times of 4:18.08 and 9:30.93. Ryan had less than twenty-five minutes between the 800 and the 3200. You can imagine what that did to his legs on the last lap. Danny Pellegrino took second in the 300-meter hurdles and fourth in the pole vault for Maclay. Craig McLure broke a six-person long jam in the long jump on his last attempt by clearing 6’6″ on his last jump.

Florida High used its strength in the relays to take third as their girls finished second in the 4×100, third in the 4×400 (4:08.61), and first in the 4×800 (10:03.70). Kara Newell of Maclay turned in the outstanding distance effort capturing the 1600 and 3200 titles. In the 1600, Kara ran a personal best 5:06.62 to climb up from last year’s sixth place finish and beat the defending state champ, Zita Magloire of Chiles High School. Zita ran 5:15.19 for second place. In the 3200 Kara also improved from last year and beat the defending champ (Christa Benton) by running 11:00.92 to Christa’s 11:11.09. Molly Jones competed in the 400-meter race, high jump (3rd), long jump (6th) and triple jump (2nd) to score big points for Maclay. In addition to her second place finish in the 1600, Zita defended her state title in the 800 running 2:19.48. Ninth grader Karla Savery jumped 10’0′ to finish second place in the pole vault. It was a huge improvement at a critical time over her previous personal best of 9-3. (Thanks to Bob Deak for help with some of the facts in the 1A results.)

David Close, 39, was buried on Saturday after a long battle with cancer. David is the brother of Jessie Close. The service was held at the St. Peter Primitive Baptist Church. It was obvious that David had touched many as the church was packed with family and friends. Our thoughts are with the Close family, especially Jessie.

Mebrahtom Keflezighi broke the American 10,000 meter record in the Stanford Cardinal Invitation with a time of 27:13.98. Mark Nenow held the previous record of 27:20.56. Alan Culpepper also ran a fast 10,000, 27:33.93 to finish second among the U.S. runners. Abraham Chebii (Kenya) ran 27:04.20 to win the race and record the fastest time ever run on U.S. soil. One of last year’s high school stars dubbed part of the “future of U.S. distance running” had a strong debut. Donald Sage (the fourth fastest high school miler in history) ran 3:39.99 to take second in the 1500, a very good opening park for the Stanford freshman.