Last Report before the Big One
 

Jana Stoltz, November 16, 2008
 

This past weekend, area runners proved they are ready for Dade City with spectacular showings at the region meets. The Leon boys and Chiles girls both asserted their dominance, and other teams from the Big Bend reminded the rest of the state not to count them out as contenders.

Both the 1A region 1 and the 3A region 1 meets were held at the Miccosukee Greenway. In all likelihood, these races will be the last to be run at Eden Field. The dreary skies and light rain of the morning matched the melancholy mood of the Greenway’s last hurrah, but just as the 1A girls were taking their marks on the starting line, the sun broke through the clouds, brightening the collective moral. (Could it be a sign?) Maclay’s Jana Stolting used the boost to her advantage, taking first in a time of 18:26. Teammate Shelby Salimone had a rough day, but still managed a 20:05 for seventh place. Fellow marauder, Kristin Sweeney, ran a 20:19 for tenth place. Despite a strong showing by Maclay, however, P.K. Yonge edged them out to take first place overall. While the Marauders settled for second here, they can now focus on State.

The 1A boys’ race was a similar story. Whitney Strickland, of North Florida Christian, won with a time of 16:16. With a good overall showing, the boys of North Florida Christian managed to slide into sixth place, and will be heading to Dade City next weekend. Patrick Swain led the Maclay boys with a second place finish (16:36). Teammate, Patrick Griffin was next for the Marauders with a seventh place finish in a time of 17:12. Alas, it was once again P.K. Yonge who slipped ahead of Maclay to take the overall win. The boys of Maclay had to take a cue from their ladies and start looking to state while accepting second place.

In the girls’ 3A race, Chiles stole the show. Led by Carly Thomas, who finished first with a time of 19:01, and bookended by Kendall Andrews, who finished fifth with a time of 19:14, the Timberwolves swept the top five spots, posting a perfect score of 15 points. They easily outran their competition, leaving second place, Fort Walton Beach, 61 points behind. The Leon girls ran an impressive race led by Claire Stodghill’s sixth place finish (19:15). Overall, the Lions took third, and will be moving on to state.

The boys’ 3A race was similarly decisive, this time in the favor of Leon. Teammates, Matt Mizereck and Will Stanford took first and second respectively (15:44 and 15:46). Fellow lion, Riley Doherty ran a time of 16:15 for fourth place. With a final score of 26 points, Leon coasted to an authoritative win. The Chiles boys, led by Brandon Lingerfelt’s twenty-second place finish (17:01), managed fifth place overall and will also be going to state.

Away from the action at the Greenway, Bartram Trail High School hosted the 2A region 1 meet, where Godby hoped to make it to state. This dream was realized when the Cougars took fifth overall. They were led by Dieumy Duclos, who ran 16:52 to take fourth place. Next for Godby was Kendall Matthews in sixth place with a 17:06. Brandon Alexander rounded out their top three with a 17:42 finish, good enough for twenty-fourth place. While the Godby boys celebrated, their female teammates missed the cut for state, taking eleventh place overall. The girls of Godby have had a terrific season, however, and will certainly be a team to watch in the future.

With the region meets drawing to a close all across the state, only one race remains. Next weekend, the best of the best will battle for the state title. The state meet is notorious for both breakouts and breakdowns, and it remains to be seen which it will bestow unto the runners of the Big Bend.