FSU Invitational/Pre-state Race
Kristin Sweeney, October 10, 2012
As I pulled off Apalachee Parkway into Apalachee Regional Park, I was surprised to see the football fields covered in cars. After parking as far away as possible from the starting line, I started the trek toward the race scene. It was an awesome walk. Walking down the dirt road under the live oak canopy, I was surrounded by dozens of runners, fans who had traveled from near and far, and an indescribable and exciting atmosphere that can only be created by an enormous race. How cool to have the Florida running community visit MY hometown for the FSU Invitational/Pre-state Race. Thank you, Gulf Winds Track Club and the entire Tallahassee running community for making this possible. The countless hours of work put into this course have definitely paid off. As a senior, I thought it was a neat experience to wake up after sleeping in my own bed, make the relatively short drive to a gorgeous course, and encounter the energetic buzz that I did at the ARP last Saturday.
Because there were so many runners from around the state, the ARP course was run many, many times throughout the weekend. Friday night, the college athletes charged the loop, and Saturday morning starting at 7:40 and lasting until 11:45 high school runners followed in their tracks. In the Large Schools Race, Autumn Wable from Leon won with a time of 20:30. By the time she raced, the morning mist had definitely worn off, and the sun was blazing – so kudos to her for staying tough! She led the Lady Lions to fourth place overall. Lincoln was eleventh in the same division. Maclay’s ladies ran the last varsity race of the morning. Kristin Sweeney (3rd – 20:28), Caroline Willis (4th – 20:53), and Elizabeth Santoro (6th – 21:01) all finished in the top ten and helped the Marauders claim the runner-up trophy. Florida High’s ladies were seventeenth, and JPII finished nineteenth.
The guys also had some impressive performances. Continuing to have a breakthrough season, Sukhi Khosla from Leon came through in 15:54. Not only did he shatter the 16-minute barrier, but he also finished eleventh in the Elite Race as a sophomore. He led the Lions to eleventh overall. Lincoln also earned eleventh in their division, the Invitational Boys. Showing that he has returned strong from an injury, Trevor Touchton finished twelfth in 16:47 just two seconds ahead of his teammate, Joseph Garcia (14th -16:49). Maclay, North Florida Christian, Florida High, and JPII competed in the Small Schools Division. With their team taking the win, Marauders Travis Covert (3rd – 16:56), Jack Rutledge (5th - 17:15), and Alex Artecona (12th - 17:56) ran tough races. NFC’s Alex Strickland was also in the top pack, and he finished ninth in a time of 17:40. Overall, NFC also earned ninth. Florida High was twentieth, and JPII was twenty-first.
The only team to venture away from Tallahassee last weekend was Chiles! They journeyed to Oakville, Alabama for the Jesse Owens Classic. Although this was also a large competition, the Timberwolves represented Tallahassee well. In the Elite boys division, Cade Zimmerman finished eighteenth (16:39) which helped the team to fifth place overall. Winning the race in a 19:06, Rachel Givens was the champion of the Girls Silver division. Her teammates Sara Lane (19:36) and Ashton McMurray (19:45) finished fourth and fifth respectively.
With just a few weeks left in the regular season, the post-season anticipation is already beginning. Teams are putting in their final workouts leading up to the district, region, and state meets. Having a statewide competition here last weekend was merely a foretaste of next month’s state meet, which will also be right here in Tallahassee!