Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Stan Linton races 14:45, Katie Sherron 17:40 at the Palace Saloon 5K

Gulf Winds Track Club's 46th annual Palace Saloon 5K was two and a half years in the coming, but it finally arrived on the streets of Tallahassee, Florida on Saturday morning, 9 October 2021. Stan Linton was the fastest athlete in the race, making the 3.1-mile trek from Messer Park to the Palace Saloon in 14:45. Katie Sherron was the first woman, placing eleventh overall in 17:40.

Stan Linton
Stan Linton

The 2019 Palace Saloon 5K had been a race where four runners finished under 16:00. David Barney and Ricardo Estremera had gone 14:38, two-time winner Stan Linton ran 15:05, and Andrew Smith went 15:36. After two postponements and a cancellation, the race was back in 2021, and so were Barney and Linton.

Seconds after the start, Linton was already leading. It wasn't a fluke. Two kilometers into the race, he was a hundred meters ahead. That gap would only grow on Jackson Bluff Road, up Michelob Ridge, over Budweiser Creek, and across the finish line.

David Barney
David Barney

"I was right around 4:41 and 4:41 for the first two miles," said Linton. "Then around two miles the wheels started to come off and I fell asleep on the hill. That mile was 4:52. And coming across Budweiser Creek I saw 14:30 on the clock and knew I wasn't going to get 14:36."

14:36 was Paul Waldron's winning time in the 1986 Palace, the best time in the race since the course was certified. Linton's 14:45 fells short of that mark, but it was still his best road 5K, and it earned him his third Palace win.

Alberto Mena
Alberto Mena

"That was good," said Linton. "It was an okay day."

Behind Linton, David Barney broke away from the pursuit group to take second in 15:34. Fordham University cross-country alum Alberto Mena was third in 15:38. Tallahassee Community College frosh harrier Leo Rutledge placed fourth in 15:50. Matt Mizereck, a three-time Florida high school cross-country state champion, finished fifth in 15:55, making five athletes under 16:00. Leonardo Canete was the fastest master runner in the race, coming in tenth overall in 17:38.

Katie Sherron
Katie Sherron

One place, two seconds, and a few steps behind Canete, women's champ Katie Sherron was throwing down a a 17:40.

"It felt great!" said Sherron. "I've never won Palace before."

Sheryl Rosen
Sheryl Rosen

Sherron won the women's competition by over half a kilometer, leading from wire to wire. It wasn't as easy as she made it look, though, especially the late-race climb up Michelob Ridge.

"That hill!" said Sherron. "My last mile was the slowest."

Sheryl Rosen, top woman in the 2013 Palace, finished runner-up to Sherron in the women's standings, placing 30th overall in 19:44. Eighth-grader Clifton Lewis was the third woman and 34th overall in 19:59. Tallahassee schoolteacher Vicky Droze was the first woman master and sixth female finisher, 48th overall in 22:06.

Clifton Lewis
Clifton Lewis

284 athletes finished the 2021 Palace Saloon 5K. Gulf Winds Track Club of Tallahassee, Florida chip-timed the race. The 47th annual Palace Saloon 5K is scheduled for Saturday morning, 23 April 2022.

Top Ten Men, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2021 Palace Saloon 5K
  1. 14:45, Stan Linton (M, 27)
  2. 15:34, David Barney (M, 27)
  3. 15:38, Alberto Mena (M, 23)
  4. 15:50, Leo Rutledge (M, 18)
  5. 15:55, Matthew Mizereck (M, 29)
  6. 16:23, Tristan Cravello (M, 22)
  7. 17:05, Vincent Fetchero (M, 21)
  8. 17:16, Ryan Bausback (M, 23)
  9. 17:36, Ryan Truchelut (M, 35)
  10. 17:38, Leonardo Canete (M, 43)

Top Ten Women, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2021 Palace Saloon 5K
  1. 17:40, Katie Sherron (F, 39)
  2. 19:44, Sheryl Rosen (F, 37)
  3. 19:59, Clifton Lewis (F, 13)
  4. 20:33, Julia Hellman (F, 22)
  5. 22:02, Amelia Bryant (F, 33)
  6. 22:06, Vicky Droze (F, 46)
  7. 22:13, Alexis Thompson (F, 22)
  8. 22:26, Annalise Maillet (F, 25)
  9. 22:27, Laura McDermott (F, 41)
  10. 22:42, Arielle Valdes (F, 18)

Palace Saloon 5K Champions, 1975 - 2021
9 October 202114:45, Stan Linton17:40, Katie Sherron284
13 April 201914:39, David Barney17:38, Ann Centner864
21 April 201815:15, Justin Garrard18:05, Ani Veltcheva815
15 April 201715:16, Stanley Linton17:58, Ani Veltcheva1043
16 April 201615:53, Nick Merrett18:13, Ani Veltcheva1048
11 April 201515:29, Tyler Udland17:54, Lauren Poulos1314
12 April 201415:52, Chris Lake17:45, Amy Hines1303
20 April 201315:46, Stanley Linton17:49, Sheryl Rosen1389
14 April 201216:07, Josh Myers17:20, Lindsay Zeiler1190
16 April 201115:48, Chris Lake 18:24, Lindsay Zeiler 1064
10 April 201015:45, Chris Lake 17:42, Christina Woytalewicz 1214
11 April 200916:21, John Robida 18:11, Lisa Johnson 1022
12 April 200815:25, Nick Sunseri 18:46, Lisa Johnson 782
14 April 200716:12, J. P. Cook 17:14, Breeda Willis 537
15 April 200616:04, Justin Cross 18:33, Stephanie Liles 456
16 April 200516:06, Lee Willis 16:31, Breeda Willis 318
10 April 200416:39, Shawn Patterson 18:29, Breeda Willis 299
12 April 200316:26, Martin Littlefield 19:21, Tricia Snyder 257
13 April 200217:22, Chris Stanley 21:03, Allison Eagen 189
14 April 200116:51, Art Remillard 19:05, Kate Wallace 219
15 April 200015:39, Paul Spangler 17:19, Anna Pichrtova 217
17 April 199915:45, Robert Pautienus 17:22, Sarah Docter-Williams 261
18 April 199816:18, Jason Carter 17:29, Sarah Docter-Williams 238
19 April 199715:53, Gary Droze 17:37, Sarah Docter-Williams 169
6 April 199615:55, Gary Droze 17:59, Jane Johnson 134
8 April 199516:01, Tim Simpkins 17:48, Jane Johnson 188
2 April 199414:56, Robin Rogers 17:51, Lisa Herman 252
3 April 199315:30, Andy Palmer 19:37, Carrie Hunnicutt 270
11 April 199215:48, Gary Droze 17:45, Paula Johnson ?
13 April 199115:10, Gary Droze 18:20, Vikki Saga 371
14 April 199014:57, David Keen 18:38, Vikki Saga
15 April 198915:23, Rick Miller 19:05, Yvonne Gsteiger
9 April 198815:30, Rick Miller 17:55, Karen MacHarg
11 April 198715:03, Jacob Hoesly 17:33, Karen MacHarg
12 April 198614:36, Paul Waldron 18:44, Paige Dempsey
9 March 198515:39, Rick Miller 17:52, Margaret Coomber
18 February 198415:32, Greg Doss 16:34, Kristy McDermott
16 April 198314:52, Rick Miller 16:38, Darien Andreu
20 March 1982??????????
21 March 198115:02, Dennis Lunne 18:16, Janice Gage
8 March 198014:59, George West 19:37, Marty Graham
10 March 197914:55, Tom Herron 17:37, Kathy Moore
25 February 197814:30, George West 17:45, Laura Ledbetter
15 January 1977George West?????
14 August 197614:37, George West 18:05, Janice Gage
15 November 197518:17, David Price 19:56, Janice Gage


Friday, October 8, 2021

Seventh-graders Annabelle Wiktorski and Jonathan Kiros take LCS Cross-Country titles

In Tallahassee, Florida, Thursday, 7 October 2021 was a day for seventh-graders at Apalachee Regional Park. There, at the Leon County Schools Middle School Cross-Country Championship, Montford seventh-grader Annabelle Wiktorski won the girls' 3K, running 11:58. In the boys' 3K, Deerlake seventh-grader Jonathan Kiros took first in 10:46. Deerlake took the girls' team title with 23 points, and the Swift Creek boys edged Montford for the championship 44 to 47.

Annabelle Wiktorski
Annabelle Wiktorski

The league championship was the seventh and final meet of Leon County Schools' longest middle school cross-country season ever. The season had begun at Apalachee Regional Park on 26 August 2021; it was ending at Apalachee Regional Park. Competition opened at 6:00 PM with the girls' 3K. After 800 meters, London Mellen was leading. A Deerlake eighth-grader, Mellen had won the girls' 3K at the Fort Braden Run, the second meet of the season. She wasn't the only champion in the field. Montford's Annabelle Wiktorski, a few steps behind Mellen, had won the girls' race at the Everhart Invitational. Running in third, Deerlake eighth-grader Abbey Griffin had won at the Mustang Stampede, the Falcon Invitational, and the Mabry Invitational. Following Griffin was Deerlake eighth-grader Kyra Swart, the 2019 LCS cross-country champion. Just off Swart's shoulder was Chloe Molen; that Deerlake eighth-grader had won the season opener at Apalachee Regional Park.

Mellen was still leading with a kilometer to go, but only Wiktorski and Griffin had stayed with her. During the next half a kilometer, the course began to climb, ending with Apalachee Regional Park's most notorious uphill--the Wall. At the top of the Wall, the leaders had dropped Griffin and there were only 500 meters left in the race. Then Wiktorski made her move.

London Mellen
London Mellen

"It was about the last 400 meters, right after we came over the big hill, the Wall," recalled Wiktorski.

Wiktorski spent the final 400 meters opening a gap on Mellen, ultimately claiming the LCS title in 11:58. Mellen was second in 12:13 and Griffin third in 12:21. Andi Vilardo, a Montford seventh-grader, took fourth in 12:23.

Abbey Griffin
Abbey Griffin

For Wiktorski, it was a far different race from the season opener, where she had finished fourth on the same course.

"I went a lot harder than the first one," said Wiktorski. "12:51 then and 11:58 today. It felt shorter today, though."

Top Ten Girls
Top Ten Girls

When it came to team scoring, the story was all Deerlake. For the seventh time in the seven-meet season, the Deerlake girls put up a mathematically unbeatable score. This time it was 23 points, the lowest total by a girls' team since the LCS Championship moved to ARPXC in 2010. Mellen and Griffin were of course part of the Bucks' low score, and so were sixth-grader Honesty Daniel (5th, 12:37), sixth-grader Chloe Molen (6th, 12:43), and seventh-grader Kaia Ables (7th, 12:51). Eighth-grader Kyra Swart (8th, 12:52) also cracked the top ten for Deerlake. It was the third year in a row that Deerlake had won the girls' title.

Deerlake Girls
Deerlake Girls, Team Champs

Wiktorski's Montford Mustangs were second in the team standings with 39 points. Raa, led by eighth-grader Kennedy Bell (10th, 12:54), placed third with 94 points.

Girls' Team Standings, Leon County Schools 2021 Middle School Cross-Country Championship
  1. Deerlake, 23
  2. Montford, 39
  3. Raa, 94
  4. Cobb, 102
  5. Swift Creek, 136
  6. Fairview, 137
  7. Nims, 220
  8. Griffin, 241

Top Ten Girls, Leon County Schools 2021 Middle School Cross-Country Championship
  1. 11:57.52, Annabelle Wiktorski (Montford) 7
  2. 12:13.00, London Mellen (Deerlake) 8
  3. 12:20.19, Abbey Griffin (Deerlake) 8
  4. 12:22.91, Andi Vilardo (Montford) 7
  5. 12:36.31, Honesty Daniel (Deerlake) 6
  6. 12:42.60, Chloe Molen (Deerlake) 6
  7. 12:50.58, Kaia Ables (Deerlake) 7
  8. 12:51.10, Kyra Swart (Deerlake) 8
  9. 12:52.52, Savannah Stanley (Montford) 7
  10. 12:53.52, Kennedy Bell (Raa) 8

In twelve years of LCS Middle School Cross-Country Championships at Apalacheee Regional Park, Annabelle Wiktorski is one of three seventh-graders to win the girls' race. But before 2021, only eighth-graders had won the boys' 3K at the Championship. Jonathan Kiros of Deerlake started the 2021 race as if he intended to be the first seventh-grader to win the boys' event, leading the field past the 800-meter mark.

Jonathan Kiros
Jonathan Kiros

"I wanted to get out front and play to my strengths," explained Kiros.

Asa Swope, a Swift Creek eighth-grader, stayed in contact with Kiros. Aside from Swope and Kiros, no other athlete had won a boys' race during the 2021 season--going into the championship, Swope had four victories and Kiros two. With the 2021 title on the line, Kiros left the rest of the field far behind, but Swope was always just a few steps behind. Through the piney woods, across the shell bridge, and up the Wall, it was a two-person race. And on the homestretch, it was indeed a race.

Asa Swope
Asa Swope

"In the last hundred meters, he came out of nowhere," said Kiros.

Kiros held off Swope's final challenge, eking out a close win. Both runners were clocked in 10:46. A seventh-grader had won the title. Another seventh-grader, Jack Koon of Fairview, took third in 11:18.

Jack Koon
Jack Koon

Swift Creek eighth-graders Kinglsey Knispel and Thoren Knispel took the next two places, running 11:20 and 11:34 to give their team three runners in the top ten. But Montford also had three in the top ten, with eighth-grader Matthew Hauser sixth in 11:37, seventh-grader Gavin Poucher seventh in 11:42, and eighth-grader Jaxon Pelham tenth in 11:54. Montford also scoring performances by seventh-grader Trent Parsons (11th, 11:55) and eighth-grader Jackson Beener (13th, 11:58), giving the Mustangs 47 points.

Swift Creek responded with seventh-graders Cooper Rideout (14th, 12:00) and Zakaria Hemenway (19th, 12:29). The Wolves had 44 points, their second win of the season, and the 2021 boys' team title.

Swift Creek Boys
Swift Creek Boys, Team Champs

Kiros and Deerlake were third with 65 points. Koon and Fairview took fourth with 79.

The races over, the trophies awarded, the long LCS Middle School Cross-Country season was over. There was track to look forward to in the spring, but that was far in the future. Closer at hand, there was post-season cross-country.

"I think next Friday I may race at the FSU Invitational," said Annabelle Wiktorski. "I'm pretty tired with all these races, though."
Top Ten Boys
Top Ten Boys

Other athletes plan on a break from racing, if not from competition.

"I'm more focused on the math team at Deerlake," said Jonathan Kiros.

Boys' Team Standings, Leon County Schools 2021 Middle School Cross-Country Championship
  1. Swift Creek, 44
  2. Montford, 47
  3. Deerlake, 65
  4. Fairview, 79
  5. Cobb, 144
  6. Raa, 176
  7. Fort Braden, 231
  8. Griffin, 233
  9. Nims, 249

Top Ten Boys, Leon County Schools 2021 Middle School Cross-Country Championship
  1. 10:45.68, Jonathan Kiros (Deerlake) 7
  2. 10:45.97, Asa Swope (Swift Creek) 8
  3. 11:17.31, Jack Koon (Fairview) 7
  4. 11:19.66, Kingsley Knispel (Swift Creek) 8
  5. 11:33.08, Thoren Knispel (Swift Creek) 8
  6. 11:36.23, Matthew Hauser (Montford) 8
  7. 11:41.03, Gavin Poucher (Montford) 7
  8. 11:45.21, Emari Thomas (Fairview) 6
  9. 11:52.35, Antonio Clements (Cobb) 6
  10. 11:53.85, Jaxon Pelham (Montford) 8

2021 Leon County Schools
Middle School Cross-Country Season Summary
MeetTeam ChampIndividual Champ
ARPXC (Story)
26 August 2021
Deerlake, 1812:37, Chloe Molen (Deerlake ) 6
Fort Braden (Story)
2 September 2021
Deerlake, 2512:54, London Mellen (Deerlake) 8
Mustang (Story)
7 September 2021
Deerlake, 2211:55, Abbey Griffin (Deerlake ) 8
Everhart (Story)
15 September 2021
Deerlake, 2712:07, Annabelle Wiktorski (Montford) 7
Falcon (Story)
23 September 2021
Deerlake, 2112:07, Abbey Griffin (Deerlake) 8
SportsPlex (Story)
1 October 2021
Deerlake, 2512:13, Abbey Griffin (Deerlake) 8
Championship (Story)
7 October 2021
Deerlake, 2311:58, Annabelle Wiktorski (Montford) 7
MeetTeam ChampIndividual Champ
ARPXC (Story)
26 August 2021
Deerlake, 4911:28, Jonathan Kiros (Deerlake ) 7
Fort Braden (Story)
2 September 2021
Swift Creek, 6011:29, Asa Swope (Swift Creek) 8
Mustang (Story)
7 September 2021
Montford, 4511:02, Asa Swope (Swift Creek ) 8
Everhart (Story)
15 September 2021
Montford, 3511:10, Jonathan Kiros (Deerlake) 7
Falcon (Story)
23 September 2021
Montford, 4711:05, Asa Swope (Swift Creek) 8
SportsPlex (Story)
1 October 2021
Montford, 3911:10, Asa Swope (Swift Creek) 8
Championship (Story)
7 October 2021
Swift Creek, 4410:46, Jonathan Kiros (Deerlake) 7

Leon County Schools Middle School Cross-Country Championships
Apalachee Regional Park, 2010 - 2021
DateTeam ChampIndividual Champ
6 October 2010Raa, 3213:34, Rebecca Clendinen (Raa) 8
28 September 2011Swift Creek, 3113:24, Zoe Sheldon (Swift Creek) 7
26 September 2012Swift Creek, 3612:49, Audrey Dogan (Raa) 8
2 October 2013Swift Creek, 4313:00, Ana Wallace (Deerlake) 8
1 October 2014Deerlake, 3612:12, Lawton Campbell (Deerlake) 8
7 October 2015Swift Creek, 3512:08, Emily Molen (Deerlake) 8
5 October 2016Montford, 4413:33, Paige Churchill (Swift Creek) 6
4 October 2017Swift Creek, 2713:14, Paige Churchill (Swift Creek) 7
4 October 2018Swift Creek, 2812:04, Paige Churchill (Swift Creek) 8
3 October 2019Deerlake, 3612:17, Kyra Swart (Deerlake) 6
28 October 2020Deerlake, 2712:22, Sophia Youngberg (Montford) 8
7 October 2021Deerlake, 2311:58, Annabelle Wiktorski (Montford) 7
DateTeam ChampIndividual Champ
6 October 2010Raa, 2411:35, Wil Luca (Raa) 8
28 September 2011Raa, 5811:42, Evan Francis (Raa) 8
26 September 2012Montford, 5611:49, Matthew Cashin (Raa) 8
2 October 2013Montford, 3711:19, Jacob Dodson (Raa) 8
1 October 2014Fairview, 4411:59, Tavaris King (Griffin) 8
7 October 2015Montford, 5011:34, Nile Bryant (Raa) 8
5 October 2016Swift Creek, 4411:38, Weston Blake (Swift Creek) 8
4 October 2017Deerlake, 5011:31, Ben Kirbo (Montford) 8
4 October 2018Deerlake, 3810:07, Wyatt Townsend (Deerlake) 8
3 October 2019Fairview, 3310:08, Patrick Koon (Fairview) 8
28 October 2020++
7 October 2021Swift Creek, 4410:46, Jonathan Kiros (Deerlake) 7
Note: LCS held middle-school cross-country championships before 2010.
This table summarizes the history of the championship at ARPXC.


Sunday, October 3, 2021

Encore wins at the Pine Run 20K for Chris O'Kelley and Sheryl Rosen

"It hurts for the first ten-and-a-half miles," explained Chris O'Kelley. "After that, it's the worst race you've ever run."

Chris O'Kelley
Chris O'Kelley

That was O'Kelley's description of the 12.4 miles of the Pine Run 20K at Tall Timbers, an annual fixture on the Tallahassee, Florida distance-running scene. But on Saturday morning, 2 October 2021, O'Kelley was mostly putting the hurt on the other runners at the 42nd Pine Run. He won the race by more than 800 meters, running 78:02. Sheryl Rosen was the top woman in the field, placing eleventh overall in 95:20.

North of the Beadel House at Tall Timbers, the race started at 7:35 AM. Seconds later, Leonardo Canete was in the lead. A Tallahassee master runer, Canete opened a gap of over 100 meters by the end of the first mile. The race wasn't over, though. During the second half, Chris O'Kelley began to close on Canete. Then he caught him.

Leonardo Canete
Leonardo Canete

"It was around eight-and-a-quarter or eight-and-a-half miles," recalled O'Kelley. "When I passed him it was my fastest mile of the race. I was trying to get as far ahead of him as I could before the hills."

The hills come in the last three kilometers of the race, a pair of climbs out of the low area around Lake Iaomnia. O'Kelley had 200 meters on Canete before reaching the base of the first hill, and only widened the gap during the climb. Out of sight and out of reach, O'Kelley came across the finish line first in 78:02. Canete took second in 81:24, the first master runner in the race. Tristan Lanasa was third in 84:45.

Tristan Lanasa
Tristan Lanasa

It was O'Kelley's second Pine Run win; he had taken first in 2017 as well. 2017 was also the year of Sheryl Rosen's most recent women's title at the Pine Run. Going into 2021, Rosen had five Pine Run wins, one on the old course and four at Tall Timbers. Her 84:02 at the 2011 Pine Run stood as the fastest time by a woman on the Tall Timbers course.

Rosen didn't need to go that fast in 2021, winning the women's division by over two kilometers in 95:20. 1500 meters into the race she was already leading the women's field, trailed by master runner Laura Reina. Rosen wasn't waiting around for anyone; she passed thirteen kilometers before any of the other women had gone twelve. By then Reina was contesting second place with another master runner, Ali Kelly. Reina broke contact with Kelly during the fifteenth kilometer, while Alison Thumm moved up to challenge Kelly.

Sheryl Rosen
Sheryl Rosen

Reina ended the race second in the women's standings, placing 25th overall in 1:46:30. Thumm took third in the women's standings, breaking away from Kelly in the hills and finishing 26th overall in 1:47:07. Kelly was the fourth woman and 28th overall in 1:48:08.

The Pine Run 20K was first run in 1977, conducted by the Troy Track Club in International Paper's Southlands Experimental Forest, south of Bainbridge, Georgia. International Paper sold the property after the 2006 race, and the Pine Run was homeless until 2008, when the Gulf Winds Track Club conducted the first Pine Run 20K at Tall Timbers Research Station.

Laura Reina
Laura Reina

Since then, it has been an annual race with interruptions. In 2018 the Pine Run was canceled due to damage from Hurricane Michael. In 2020, Gulf Winds Track Club and Tall Timbers canceled the race again, a casualty of COVID-19. Like everyone else, Tall Timbers had suffered pandemic shutdowns.

"We haven't had any groups out here for twenty months," observed Neil Fleckenstein before the 2021 race. Fleckenstein is Planning Coordinator at Tall Timbers Research Station.

Alison Thumm
Alison Thumm

Here's hoping that this was just the first group, and the first in another uninterrupted series of annual Pine Runs.

114 athletes finished the 2021 Pine Run 20K. Gulf Winds Track Club chip-timed the race.

Top Ten Men, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2021 Pine Run 20K
  1. 1:18:02, Chris O'Kelley (M, 28) Tallahassee, FL
  2. 1:21:24, Leonardo Canete (M, 42) Tallahassee, FL
  3. 1:24:45, Tristan Lanasa (M, 28) Miramar Beach, FL
  4. 1:27:06, Kyle Kraeft (M, 32) Tallahassee, FL
  5. 1:30:03, Ryan Truchelut (M, 35) Tallahassee, FL
  6. 1:30:56, Brad Busboom (M, 33) Tallahassee, FL
  7. 1:31:11, Hong-Guo Yu (M, 53) Tallahassee, FL
  8. 1:32:50, Paul Guyas (M, 43) Tallahassee, FL
  9. 1:34:08, Bobby Duggleby (M, 31) Tallahassee, FL
  10. 1:34:39, Bill McNulty (M, 63) Tallahassee, FL

Top Ten Women, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2021 Pine Run 20K
  1. 1:35:20, Sheryl Rosen (F, 37) Tallahassee, FL
  2. 1:46:30, Laura Reina (F, 57) Tallahassee, FL
  3. 1:47:07, Alison Thumm (F, 44) Tallahassee, FL
  4. 1:48:08, Ali Kelly (F, 49) Tallahassee, FL
  5. 1:55:00, Laura Sellati (F, 42) Tallahassee, FL
  6. 1:55:28, Tsige Tadesse-Kiros (F, 54) Tallahassee, FL
  7. 1:56:30, Lorraine Cornillie (F, 30) Orlando, FL
  8. 1:57:39, Nancy Stedman (F, 59) Tallahassee, FL
  9. 1:59:34, Deirdre McCarthy (F, 42) Tallahassee, FL
  10. 2:00:24, Sherri Wise (F, 40) Tallahassee, FL

Champions of Gulf Winds Track Club's Pine Run 20K, 1977 - 2021
15 October 197767:19, Herb Wills86:21, Rosemary Desloge124
14 October 197869:30, Jim Eastman81:21, Janice Gage167
13 October 197971:28, Louis Floyd86:29, Laura Ledbetter144
11 October 198071:57, Kirk Fechter98:20, Michelle Jernigan134
10 October 198175:05, Jeff Doherty99:40, Marianne Crawford101
9 October 198267:00, Herb Wills97:17, Kathe Brookover106
22 October 198369:32, Herb Wills85:43, Patti Sudduth128
20 October 198472:37, Kirk Fechter89:55, Donna Miller107
19 October 198568:54, Herb Wills88:22, Patti Sudduth71
18 October 198671:20, Bill Crooks87:31, Janice Gage Hochstein146
17 October 198768:58, Tom Swiersz85:56, Kay Capozzi125
15 October 198865:36, Herb Wills82:29, Paula Johnson170
14 October 198969:46, Herb Wills89:53, Jodi Waldron139
13 October 199069:55, Herb Wills85:10, Donna Miller113
12 October 199165:43, Jessie Close88:16, Mary Jean Yon150
17 October 199266:34, Gary Droze82:17, Carrie Hunnicutt141
16 October 199375:26, Paul Hoover80:53, Paula Johnson134
15 October 199472:45, Tim Simpkins80:18, Jane Johnson147
14 October 199577:39, Tim Simpkins82:46, Jane Johnson146
12 October 199674:32, Tim Simpkins80:30, Jane Johnson172
11 October 199771:36, Gary Droze80:12, Sarah Docter-Williams156
10 October 199873:12, Gary Droze81:35, Jane Johnson125
9 October 199980:41, Robert Pautienus82:23 Sarah Docter-Williams170
14 October 2000 79:28, Art Remillard82:43, Jane Johnson150
13 October 200180:57, Tim Unger84:03, Sarah Docter-Williams128
12 October 200283:37, Tim Bolton86:46, Jane Johnson137
11 October 200384:14, David Yon97:27, Lisa Whitworth79
9 October 200483:01, David Guerra91:55, Jane Johnson94
9 October 200579:41, Myles Gibson89:55, Jane Johnson136
14 October 200678:22, Jay Wallace81:31, Sheryl Rosen108
No race held in 2007
11 October 2008 77:45, Vince Molosky 87:32, Kati Gosnell142
2 October 2009 75:22, Jay Wallace 86:21, Sheryl Rosen155
9 October 2010 73:39, Vince Molosky 90:21, Jane Johnson243
8 October 2011 73:15, Kevin Sullivan 84:02, Sheryl Rosen180
13 October 201274:48, Vince Molosky95:05, Jane Johnson199
12 October 201374:27, Stanley Linton85:36, Sheryl Rosen171
11 October 201472:10, Chris Lake87:09, Elspeth Turner164
10 October 201669:46, Stan Linton83:54, Allison Eagen181
7 October 201780:31, Chris O'Kelley91:59, Sheryl Rosen103
Race canceled in 2018
5 October 201984:34, Chris Jones97:40, Katie Sherron111
Race canceled in 2020
2 October 202178:02, Chris O'Kelley95:20, Sheryl Rosen114
From 1977 to 2006 the race was run at International Paper's Southlands
Experimental Forest south of Bainbridge, Georgia.
From 2008 to 2021 the race has been run at Tall Timbers Research Station
at the north end of Leon County, Florida.


Saturday, October 2, 2021

Abbey Griffin and Asa Swope were spectacular at the SportsPlex

Florida State University's Rec SportsPlex is located on the far west side of Tallahassee, Florida. Leon County Schools has held two middle school cross-country meets there--the Falcon Invitational in 2020 and the inaugural Mabry Invitational on Friday night, 1 October 2021. Deerlake's Abbey Griffin has won her race in both meets, most recently taking first in the Mabry Invite girls' 3K, running 12:13. Asa Swope isn't undefeated at the SportsPlex, but he still won the boys' 3K at the Mabry Invitational, going the distance in 11:10. Deerlake took first in the teams standings of the girls' 3K with 25 points; Montford was the top boys' team, scoring 39 points.

Asa Swope
Asa Swope

When the 2020 Falcon Invitational was at the FSU Rec SportsPlex, Leon County Schools athletic director Scott Hansen realized that the lighting at the facility would make a night meet possible. Acting on that idea, he added the 2021 Mabry Invitational to the 2021 middle school cross-country calendar, scheduling the meet for a 7:30 PM start at the SportsPlex.

That 7:30 race was the girls' 3K. In her four winning runs at Leon County Schools middle school cross-country meets, Abbey Griffin has established a pattern of close finishes. In her first win at the SportsPlex, the Falcon Invitational, Griffin beat Montford's Sophia Youngberg by inches, both runners clocked in 12:30. Griffin's first win of the 2021 season came at Montford's Mustang Stampede, where the eighth-grader squeaked by Annabelle Wiktorski of Montford, 11:55 to 11:56. The Falcon Invitational was likewise decided on the homestretch, with Griffin just ahead of Deerlake's London Mellen, 12:07 to 12:10.

And at the Mabry Invitational?

"Abbey got me in the last 400 meters," said Montford seventh-grader Annabelle Wiktorski, the runner-up.

FSU Rec SportsPlex
FSU Rec SportsPlex

It had still been close. Griffin ran 12:13, Wiktorski 12:14. Deerlake sixth-graders Honesty Daniel and Chloe Molen took the next two places, Daniel third in 12:47 and Molen fourth in 12:52.

Deerlake put two more runners in the top ten--Seventh-grader Chloe Houge placed seventh in 13:19 and eighth-grader Madeline Morris was tenth in 13:54. That gave the Deerlake girls 25 points and another Buck victory.

Montford and Wiktorski scored 35 points, taking second. Cobb edged the Raa girls for third, 101 to 105. Cobb's first finisher was seventh-grader Mallory Brown (12th, 14:37), Raa's was eighth-grader Kennedy Bell (8th, 13:32).

2021 Mabry Invitational Girls' Team Standings
  1. Deerlake, 25
  2. Montford, 35
  3. Cobb, 101
  4. Raa, 105
  5. Swift Creek, 125
  6. Fairview, 131
  7. Griffin, 222
  8. Fort Braden, NTS
    Woodville, NTS

Top Ten Girls, 2021 Mabry Invitational
  1. 12:12.05, Abbey Griffin (Deerlake) 8
  2. 12:13.94, Annabelle Wiktorski (Montford) 7
  3. 12:46.96, Honesty Daniel (Deerlake) 6
  4. 12:51.23, Chloe Molen (Deerlake) 6
  5. 13:01.00, Savannah Stanley (Montford) 7
  6. 13:17.53, Haley Heitmeyer (Montford) 7
  7. 13:18.06, Chloe Houge (Deerlake) 7
  8. 13:31.47, Kennedy Bell (Raa) 8
  9. 13:51.52, Andi Vilardo (Montford) 7
  10. 13:53.40, Madeline Morris (Deerlake) 8

There were no close finishes for Asa Swope in the boys' 3K. In the sixth meet of the season, it was Swope's fifth race and his fourth win. Other runners led early, but by the end of the first kilometer the Swift Creek eighth-grader was ahead of everyone. Swope wasn't challenged after that and went on to win by over 100 meters in 11:10. Another Swift Creek eighth-grader, Kingsley Knispel, grabbed the runner-up spot with a 11:34. Fairview seventh-grader Jack Koon held off two Montford runners--seventh-grader Gavin Poucher and eighth-grader Matthew Hauser--to take third in 11:43. Poucher was fourth and Hauser fifth, both in 11:44.

Boys' 3K
Boys' 3K

Two more Montford athletes made the top ten, with seventh-grader Trent Parsons eighth in 11:59 and eighth-grader Jackson Beener ninth in 12:01. Once Montford eighth-grader Edward Bass was across the finish line thirteenth in 12:31, the Mustang boys had 39 points and first place, their fourth straight win.

Swope's Swift Creek Wolves were second with 58 points. Fairview and Jack Koon tallied 62 points to take third in the field of nine teams.

One meet, the seventh, is left in the 2021 Leon County Schools middle school cross-country season. That final event is the Leon County Schools League Championship at Apalachee Regional Park on Thursday, 7 October 2021. The girls' 3K will start at 6:00 PM with the boys' 3K following at 6:30 PM.

2021 Mabry Invitational Boys' Team Standings
  1. Montford, 39
  2. Swift Creek, 58
  3. Fairview, 62
  4. Deerlake, 90
  5. Raa, 148
  6. Cobb, 153
  7. Fort Braden, 226
  8. Griffin, 231
  9. Woodville, 233

Top Ten Boys, 2021 Mabry Invitational
  1. 11:09.54, Asa Swope (Swift Creek) 8
  2. 11:33.80, Kingsley Knispel (Swift Creek) 8
  3. 11:42.17, Jack Koon (Fairview) 7
  4. 11:43.30, Gavin Poucher (Montford) 7
  5. 11:43.88, Matthew Hauser (Montford) 8
  6. 11:52.50, Emari Thomas (Fairview) 6
  7. 11:56.13, Thoren Knispel (Swift Creek) 8
  8. 11:58.20, Trent Parsons (Montford) 7
  9. 12:00.66, Jackson Beener (Montford) 8
  10. 12:12.15, Antonio Clements ( Cobb) 6


Friday, October 1, 2021

Clifton Lewis and Maxwell Wester conquer at the Crusader Cross-Country Classic

If you saw Clifton Lewis running in Tallahassee, Florida on Thursday, 30 September 2021, you might have thought that she was doing a solo workout. You would be wrong, though; Lewis was racing the girls' 3K at Holy Comforter Episcopal School's Crusader Classic Cross-Country Meet. It would have been a forgiveable error, because the eighth-grader finished the race almost half a kilometer ahead of the field, logging a winning 11:17. The girls' race may have been lacking in drama up front, but not so the boys' 3K. In that race, Mariana seventh-grader Maxwell Wester outkicked Luke Meli, a Community Christian eighth-grader, for the win, 10:46 to 10:47. The Maclay girls took the team title in their race with a near-perfect 17 points, and Community Christian placed first in the boys' race with 53 points.

Clifton Lewis
Clifton Lewis

Clifton Lewis also won the Crusader Classic girls' 3K in 2020; that year a soaking ran fell during the race and the runners had to start in waves due to COVID-19. In 2021 the weather was fair and Lewis got to face all her competitors on the starting line. She didn't face them for long. Once the race was under way, Lewis spent most of the 3000-meters around the Holy Comforter grounds running away from her rivals. After Lewis had logged her winning 11:17, Maclay seventh-grader Ellie Mazziotta finished as runner-up in 13:25. Another Maclay seventh-grader, Lilly Bell, was third in 11:30.

Mazziotta and Bell weren't the only Marauders in the top ten. Maclay eighth-grader Mae Deison was fourth in 13:38, with Maclay sixth-grader Mary Price a close fifth in 13:39. Seventh-grader Aurora Earlywine completed the Maraders' scoring, finishing ninth in 14:09. The Maclay girls had 17 points and their third straight Crusader Classic win.

Community Leadership placed second with 68 points behind seventh-grader Ashlynn Naumann (11th, 14:30), their first finisher. Trinity Catholic edged Riversprings for third in the team standings, 74 to 77. Trinity's top runner was sixth-grader Danielle Sasso, eighth in 14:06, while Riversprings was led by sixth-grader Aerynson Smith, seventh in 14:03.

2021 Crusader Classic Team Standings (Girls)
  1. Maclay, 17
  2. Community Leadership, 68
  3. Trinity Catholic, 74
  4. Riversprings, 77
  5. Wakulla, 119
  6. Franklin County, NTS
    Holy Comforter Episcopal, NTS
    Tallahassee Classical, NTS
    Florida State, NTS
    Cornerstone, NTS
    Jefferson County, NTS
    Community Christian, NTS
    Marianna, NTS

Top Ten Girls, 2021 Crusader Classic 3K
  1. 11:16.29, Clifton Lewis (Unattached) 8
  2. 13:24.57, Ellie Mazziotta (Maclay) 7
  3. 13:30.82, Lilly Bell (Maclay) 7
  4. 13:37.56, Mae Deison (Maclay) 8
  5. 13:38.27, Mary Price (Maclay) 6
  6. 13:53.78, Addyson Paul (Franklin County) 7
  7. 14:02.60, Aerynson Smith (Riversprings) 6
  8. 14:05.03, Danielle Sasso (Trinity Catholic) 6
  9. 14:08.66, Aurora Earlywine (Maclay) 7
  10. 14:27.63, Genevieve Gillespie (Trinity Catholic) 6

After Maxwell Wester and Luke Meli had fought for first, with Wester prevailing 10:46 to 10:47, there was another homestretch struggle third place. This time, three athletes came charging for home. Trinity Catholic eighth=grader Mark Moore dashed in ahead of the other two, taking third in 11:21. Eighth-grader Charles Wilson of Community Christian followed, fourth in 11:22, A few steps back, Trinity Catholic sixth-grader James Mogg placed fifth in 11:24.

With Meli and Wilson, Community Christian had put two runners in the top ten, but so had Trinity Catholic, Holy Comforter, Marianna, and Maclay. Community Christian's remaining three scorers were eighth-grader Benjamin Reeves (14th, 12:13), sixth-grader Landon Reeves (20th, 12;43), and eighth-grader Jeremy Collier (21st, 12:45). That gave the Chargers 53 points and first place, Community Christian's first ever win at the Crusader Classic.

Maclay edged Wester's Marianna team for second, 62 to 63. Maclay's first finisher was eighth-grader Collins Dickson, ninth in 11:41. Hosts and 2020 champs Holy Comforter placed fourth with 72 points, led by eighth-grader Luke Springer (6th, 11:32). Of fourteen schools represented in the boys' race, seven had full teams.

Racing returns to Holy Comforter on Tuesday afternoon, 12 October 2021, with the Tallahassee Open. The girls' 3K is scheduled for 5:15 PM ET, with the boys' 3K following at 5:45.

2021 Crusader Classic Team Standings (Boys)
  1. Community Christian, 53
  2. Maclay, 62
  3. Marianna, 63
  4. Holy Comforter Episcopal, 72
  5. Trinity Catholic, 83
  6. Community Leadership, 158
  7. Cornerstone, 219
  8. Knights Running Club, NTS
    Florida State, NTS
    Riversprings, NTS
    Franklin County, NTS
    Tallahassee Classical, NTS
    Wakulla, NTS
    Jefferson County, NTS

Top Ten Boys, 2021 Crusader Classic 3K
  1. 10:45.35, Maxwell Wester (Marianna) 7
  2. 10:46.50, Luke Meli (Community Christian) 8
  3. 11:20.21, Mark Moore (Trinity Catholic) 8
  4. 11:21.86, Charles Wilson (Community Christian) 8
  5. 11:23.51, James Mogg (Trinity Catholic) 6
  6. 11:31.05, Luke Springer (Holy Comforter Episcopal) 8
  7. 11:33.04, Myles Libert (Marianna) 8
  8. 11:40.42, Randon Manausa (Holy Comforter Episcopal) 7
  9. 11:40.94, Collins Dickson (Maclay) 8
  10. 11:47.82, Logan Phipps (Maclay) 6


Sunday, September 26, 2021

At the Fairgrounds Abbey Griffin and Asa Swope take prizes in the Falcon Invitational

The North Florida Fairgrounds in Tallahassee was an unfamiliar site for a Leon County middle school cross-country meet, but the winners were familiar enough. There, on Thursday, 23 September 2021, at the fourth annual Falcon Invitational, Deerlake eighth-grader Abbey Griffin won the girls' 3K for the second time in the 2021 season, running 12:07. Asa Swope picked up his fourth win in the boys' 3K, where the Swift Creek eighth-grader ran 11:05. The Deerlake girls scored 21 points for their fifth straight win of 2021, and the Montford boys won for the third week in a row, putting up 47 points.

Abbey Griffin
Abbey Griffin

In 2018, Fairview Middle School hosted the first Falcon Invitational at Phipps Park. The meet moved to the FSU Rec SportsPlex in 2020. The 2021 Invitational moved again, this time to a venue almost on the doorstep of Fairview--the North Florida Fairgrounds. It was a new location for Leon County Schools' middle school cross-country, and a new location for Tallahassee distance running in general. Two decades earlier the Tallahassee Turkey Trot had finished at the Fairgrounds, but no race had ever been run entirely on the property. At the fourth annual Falcon Invitational, the Fairgrounds was the scene of two races.

The first was the girls' 3K. The starting gun fired at 6:00 PM. After the first kilometer, Deerlake eighth-grader London Mellen led the race, followed by Montford seventh-grader Annabelle Wiktorski. Also wearing Deerlake green, sixth-grader Chloe Molen and eighth-grader Abbey Griffin were a few steps further back. Of the first four races of the season, Molen, Mellen, Griffin, and Wiktorski had each won one. At the Fairgrounds one of them could break that tie.

London Mellen
London Mellen

The leaders lost Molen during the second kilometer. Mellen still led with 500 meters to go, but Griffin had passed Wiktorski. Griffin grabbed the lead during the final 200 meters and charged for home, getting there first with a 12:07. Mellen was second in 12:11 and Wiktorski third in 12:12. Andi Vilardo, a Montford seventh-grader, placed fourth in 12:27.

The next three places belonged to Deerlake Bucks. Eighth-grader Kyra Swart was fifth in 12:41, Molen was sixth in 12:43, and sixth-grader Honesty Daniel was seventh in 12:46. Their fifth runner across the finish line, the Deerlake girls had 21 points and first place in a field of eight teams. It was the fifth win of the season for the girls in green.

Led by Wiktorski, Montford placed second in the teams standings with 39 points. Raa scored 99 points, taking third. Raa's top runner was eighth-grader Kennedy Bell, twelfth in 13:55.

2021 Falcon Invitational Girls' Team Scores
  1. Deerlake, 21
  2. Montford, 39
  3. Raa, 99
  4. Cobb, 113
  5. Swift Creek, 121
  6. Fairview, 147
  7. Nims, 228
  8. Griffin, 232
  9. Fort Braden, NTS
    Woodville, NTS

Top Ten, 2021 Falcon Invitational Girls' 3K
  1. 12:06.81, Abbey Griffin (Deerlake) 8
  2. 12:10.88, London Mellen (Deerlake) 8
  3. 12:11.34, Annabelle Wiktorski (Montford) 7
  4. 12:26.32, Andi Vilardo (Montford) 7
  5. 12:40.39, Kyra Swart (Deerlake) 8
  6. 12:42.60, Chloe Molen (Deerlake) 6
  7. 12:45.71, Honesty Daniel (Deerlake) 6
  8. 12:49.43, Savannah Stanley (Montford) 7
  9. 12:55.58, Madeline Morris (Deerlake) 8
  10. 13:02.74, Haley Heitmeyer (Montford) 7

The boys got their turn to race on the Fairgrounds at 6:30 PM. Swift Creek eighth-grader Asa Swope and Jonathan Kiros, a Deerlake seventh-grader, had split the first four races of the season, each winning two. At the Falcon Invitational, the fifth meet of 2021, they were sharing the lead after the first kilometer of the boys' 3K. By the two-kilometer mark, Swope had opened a gap. During the third kilometer the gap only grew wider, as Swope went on to win in 11:05. Fairview seventh-grader Jack Koon moved into third during that final kilometer and had started to close on Kiros, but the Deerlake seventh-grader held on to finish runner-up in 11:30. Koon was third in 11:31. Kingsley Knispel, a Swift Creek eighth-grader, placed fourth in 11:32.

Asa Swope
Asa Swope

Montford seventh-grader Gavin Poucher was fifth in 11:34. For perhaps the first time ever in a Leon County Schools middle school cross-country meet, ten schools had full teams in the boys' race. Led by Poucher's performance, Montford placed first among those ten teams, scoring 47 points. The other Mustang scorers were eighth-grader Matthew Hauser (8th, 11:44), seventh-grader Trent Parsons (10th, 11:58), and eighth-graders Jackson Beener (11th, 12:00) and Edward Bass (13th, 12:15).

Behind Swope and Knispel, Swift Creek was second with 59 points. Kiros and the Deerlake Bucks were a close third with 62. Scoring 78 points, Koon and host school Fairview placed fourth.

Jonathan Kiros
Jonathan Kiros

Leon County Schools middle school cross-country returns to the Florida State University Rec Sportplex on Friday evening, 1 October 2021, for the penultimate meet of the season. The League championship follows on Thursday, 7 October 2021, at Apalachee Regional Park.

2021 Falcon Invitational Boys' Team Scores
  1. Montford, 47
  2. Swift Creek, 59
  3. Deerlake, 62
  4. Fairview, 78
  5. Cobb, 144
  6. Raa, 164
  7. Griffin, 218
  8. Woodville, 253
  9. Fort Braden, 255
  10. Nims, 261

Top Ten, 2021 Falcon Invitational Boys' 3K
  1. 11:04.51, Asa Swope (Swift Creek) 8
  2. 11:29.11, Jonathan Kiros (Deerlake) 7
  3. 11:30.64, Jack Koon (Fairview) 7
  4. 11:31.74, Kingsley Knispel (Swift Creek) 8
  5. 11:33.92, Gavin Poucher (Montford) 7
  6. 11:40.33, Antonio Clements (Cobb) 6
  7. 11:42.35, Thoren Knispel (Swift Creek) 8
  8. 11:43.26, Matthew Hauser (Montford) 8
  9. 11:55.82, Emari Thomas (Fairview) 6
  10. 11:57.72, Trent Parsons (Montford) 7

Falcon Invitational Champions
2018 - 2021
DateTeam ChampIndividual Champ
27 September 2018Swift Creek, 3411:27.82, Maya Tang (Deerlake) 8
26 September 2019Swift Creek, 4412:30.55, Kyra Swart (Deerlake) 6
23 October 2020Montford, 3012:29.07, Abbey Griffin (Deerlake) 7
23 September 2021Deerlake, 2112:06.81, Abbey Griffin (Deerlake) 8
DateTeam ChampIndividual Champ
27 September 2018Deerlake, 359:49.60, Wyatt Townsend (Deerlake) 8
26 September 2019Fairview, 3010:10.03, Patrick Koon (Fairview) 8
23 October 2020Deerlake, 6311:21.44, Neal Porter (Montford) 8
23 September 2021Montford, 4711:04.51, Asa Swope (Swift Creek) 8
The Falcon Invitational was in Phipps Park in 2018 and 2019, at the
FSU Rec SportsPlex in 2020, and at the North Florida Fairgrounds in 2021.