There were three sections of the boys' 3200. Seeding had relegated the 2016 state cross-country champions in class 1A and class 4A, Mount Dora Christian sophomore Gabriel Curtis and Winter Springs senior Matt Doyle, to section two. Two other 2016 cross-country champs, Pottorff of class 2A and Chiles junior Michael Phillips of class 3A, were in section three with the top seeds. It didn't necessarily look like the fast section during the first half of the race. The pace started out ambitiously enough, with the leaders running the first 400 in under 67 seconds. The next three laps, though, averaged a sluggish 70 seconds each, bringing the field through 1600 around 4:37.
Then they started racing. The pace picked up during the fifth lap as Pottorff dashed out into the lead. Pottorff continued to push through laps six and seven, while the rest of the field backed off, seeming to be gathering strength for the final 400 meters. But when the bell lap opened, Pottorff was more than 30 meters ahead.
Phillips of Chiles kicked hard, trying to chase down Pottorff. Creekside senior Matthew Clark followed in Phillips' wake. Neither, though, could make up the ground they'd given up to Pottorff after the 1600 mark, and Pottorff hung on to win in 9:03.44. Phillips was second in 9:05.22 and Clark third in 9:07.36.
The three section of the high school girls' 3200 followed. Seeding isn't perfect. No one would argue that Winter Park junior Rafaella Gibbons, the two-time defending champion in the event, didn't belong in section three. It was also clear that two-time state cross-country champion Tsion Yared deserved a spot in the third section. Colquitt County junior Elizabeth Funderburk, though, ended up seeded in section two.
Funderburk followed North Fort Myers senior Kayla Easterly through the first 1600, then took over when Easterly started to fade. Finishing strong, Funderburk posted a 10:42.16, a time fast enough to win the girls' 3200 at the Relays in six of the last twelve years. Any athlete in section three was going to have to beat Funderburk's time in order to win.
Alyson Churchill started section three at a pace fast enough to put her well under Funderburk's 10:42.16. Actually, Churchill started off fast enough for a runner headed out to break 10:00. Only East Lake senior Jennifer Lima dared to try to stick with Churchill. But while the Lincoln frosh had slowed by midway through the race, passing the 1600 in 5:03.73, Lima was out of contact and Churchill was still moving faster than the rest of the field. Churchill struggled on the last lap, but the race was over. She crossed the finish line in 10:23.81, the 2017 FSU Relays champion in the 3200 for high school girls. Rafella Gibbons made up some ground on Churchill during the final lap, but not enough to challenge the Lincoln frosh nor enough to better Funderburk's time. Gibbons was third in 10:45.20. Tsion Yared was third in 10:45.48, Jupiter frosh Alexanra Del Re was fourth in 10:46.25, and Jennifer Lima fifth in 10:48.46.
2017 Florida State University Relay high school boys' 3200, top ten
- 9:03.44, Caleb Pottorff (Lincoln Park) 12
- 9:05.22, Michael Phillips (Chiles) 11
- 9:07.36, Matthew Clark (Creekside) 12
- 9:12.31, Nicholas Deal (Creekside) 12
- 9:13.66, Matthew Newland (Chiles) 11
- 9:14.12, Trenton Mandato (Trinity) 12
- 9:14.88, Joshua Collins (Belen Jesuit) 11
- 9:17.02, Tanner Chada (Hinckley-Big Rock) 12
- 9:19.02, Skylar Stidam (Christian Academy of Indiana) 11
- 9:21.85, John Cacciatore (Satellite) 12
2017 Florida State University Relay high school girls' 3200, top ten
- 10:23.81, Alyson Churchill (Lincoln) 9
- 10:42.16, Elizabeth Funderburk (Colquitt County) 11
- 10:45.20, Rafaella Gibbons (Winter Park) 11
- 10:45.48, Tsion Yared (Pine Crest) 9
- 10:46.25, Alexandra Del Re (Jupiter) 9
- 10:48.46, Jennifer Lima (East Lake) 12
- 10:48.54, Hannah Schneidewind (Niceville) 11
- 10:50.86, Amanda Beach (Melbourne Central Catholic) 12
- 10:53.85, Kaylee DuPont (South Forsyth) 11
- 10:54.14, Ana Wallace (Chiles) 11
|High School 3200-meter winners, Florida State University Relays, 2006 - 2017|
|24 March 2006||9:38.76, Daniel Roberts (Crested Butte) 12||11:20.32, Alison Babb (Oak Hall) 12|
|30 March 2007||9:29.73, Joseph Franklin (Godby) 11||11:34.31, Katy Swain (Maclay) 11|
|28 March 2008||9:15.18, Joseph Franklin (Godby) 12||10:42.71, Kayla Hale (Holy Trinity) 11|
|27 March 2009||9:06.78, Derek Wehunt (Sickles) 11||11:02.90, Jana Stolting (Maclay) 11|
|26 March 2010||9:02.87, Matt Mizereck (Leon) 12||10:41.54, Jana Stolting (Maclay) 12|
|25 March 2011||9:12.16, Kikanae Punyua (Glenelg) 12||10:34.90, Kacy Smith (Estero) 10|
|23 March 2012||9:10.37, Andres Arroyo (Colonial) 11||10:30.53, Lily Williams (Chiles) 12|
|22 March 2013||9:07.38, Mac Macoy (Vestavia Hills) 11||10:15.70, Carmen Carlos (McGill-Toole) 12|
|21 March 2014||8:59.50, Sukhi Khosla (Leon) 11||10:50.94, Emily Edwards (Fort Myers) 12|
|27 March 2015||9:03.57, Sukhi Khosla (Leon) 12||10:42.20, Rafaella Gibbons (Winter Park) 9|
|25 March 2016||9:08.54, Noah Perkins (Seffner Christian) 12||10:35.64, Rafaella Gibbons (Winter Park) 10|
|24 March 2017||9:03.44, Caleb Pottorff (Lincoln Park) 12||10:23.81, Alyson Churchill (Lincoln) 9|
- Complete results of the 2017 Florida State University Relays at pttiming.com
- 2010 story, “Friday Night Lights: 3200m Invitational at FSU Relays”
- Find upcoming races, fast and scary fast, on the Trouble Afoot! calendar