Another Year Ends
Kristin Sweeney, November 21, 2012
After hours of work from Tallahassee’s runners, coaches, and community, the 2012 cross-country season reached its end at the state meet last Saturday. As a senior, it was a day of memories, excitement, and sadness. For Tallahassee runners, the state meet was the perfect opportunity for successful races: we slept in our own beds, we ate our own home cooked food, we raced and worked out at the ARP all season, we knew the fastest way to drive to the course and avoid traffic, and we anticipated the gorgeous, cool weather. Without our running community, however, none of these hometown advantages would have been possible. Thank you to the countless volunteers throughout Tallahassee who made this course the best Florida course and who donated their time and energy to creating the best state meet ever. I think the out of town competitors were pretty impressed by the ARP!
When the gun went off starting the ladies 3A race, it was still chilly and overcast. Using her knowledge of the course to her advantage, Lady Timberwolf Rachel Givens started out slightly behind the front-runners. However, she knew the leaders would slow down throughout the second loop, and that is exactly when she decided to make her move. In the last kilometer, Givens gained quite a bit of ground, and she eventually took the lead. Winning by ten seconds, Givens took the state title! Not only did she perform well for herself, but she also helped her team to a third place finish overall. Her teammates, Sara Lane (31st - 19:32.21) and Ashton McMurray (32nd – 19:32.35), worked together to contribute to the team, too. Leon’s sole runner, Autumn Wable, also finished her season strongly, and her time was 20:06.
The guys 3A competitors followed their female counterparts. Dipping under 16-minutes with a 15:58, Leon’s Sukhi Khosla, who is only a sophomore, finished thirteenth in an extremely competitive boys’ race. His teammate, Will Henderson, finished up his senior year with a 16:04 for twentieth place. Cade Zimmerman was the lead runner for Chiles, and he was thirty-second (16:18). Although Chiles barely beat Leon for the district title, the Lions got their revenge by beating Chiles at the region meet. At the final meet of the season, Leon and Chiles were still battling for team place, and the Lions prevailed. Leon finished sixth while Chiles was seventh.
By ten o’clock, the temperature had increased slightly, and the 1A ladies were geared up to race. Maclay’s Kristin Sweeney finished seventh in 19:01, and the Marauders were tenth overall. Although I am biased, I think the boys’ 1A race had the biggest upset of the day. Going into the meet, Maclay was ranked third by at least 100 points behind the second place team. However, these guys took advantage of being at home. The team’s fastest runner and only senior, Travis Covert, ran a perfect race, and he finished eighth in 16:18. His teammates, Jack Rutledge (19th – 16:49), Alex Artecona (21st – 16:50), and Connor Daughton (23rd – 16:54) also ran strategic races. In the end, the Marauders were the state meet runner-up!While the 2012 cross-country season is officially over, many of these athletes will compete in post-season races such as Footlocker South, the FACA Senior Meet, and the Turkey Trot. Thank you to the entire running community in Tallahassee for making this year possible. Literally, we would not have been able to compete without you! Personally, my high school running career has been wonderful because of Gulf Winds Track Club and the welcoming running atmosphere that Tallahassee offers. For me, the state meet was just one example of all that the Tallahassee running community has done for high school running: you have timed at numerous meets, you have shown us the trails, you have offered racing opportunities weekly, you showed us the excitement of running from a young age through the summer track series and the jingle bell run, and you cheered for us every step of the way. I know that no matter what I do or where I go, I will keep and value my love for running. I owe that zeal to this community, and I appreciate it more than I can express. I know that my fellow senior runners feel the same way. Thank you, and Happy Thanksgiving!