Monday, September 27, 2010

Tales from the Trail, the second annual Quail Trail

With a menu that included a 5K road race and an invitational cross-country meet, the second annual Quail Trail was like a distance-running buffet. You might not like everything on the table, but you certainly could find something to satisfy your athletic appetites. The event was held south of Thomasville, Georgia at Pebble Hill Plantation. Competition opened at 8:00am ET on 25 September 2010 with the Quail Trail 5K road race, continued with a high school girls' invitational 5K cross-country run, a high school boys' invitational 5K cross-country run, and a two-mile middle school race.

Quail Trail Open 5K

The morning of running started on the back lawn of the main house of Pebble Hill with over 200 runners charging toward a narrow gap in a hedge leading onto a gravel driveway. Florida State University grad student Kevin Cook was in the lead by the end of the first half mile. By the mile mark Cook was in command, running by himself well out in front. "The first mile was okay," recalled Cook after the race, "but the uphills on the second mile were tough." Cook's splits reflected that, as he ran 4:58 on the opening mile but fell to 5:07 on the next. He responded with a 5:01 third mile, and finished the race with a 15:41 victory. The runner-up, FSU cross-country runner Dominick Cabrera, was at least 200 meters back, finishing in 16:27. Thomasville's John Carico was the top master in the race, placing 21st overall in 20:05.

Kara Taylor didn't have quite as easy a time in the women's race as Cook did with the men. Taylor was among a large group of other members of the FSU women's cross-country team early in the race. At the mile she was in front, but just barely--Chelsi Woodruff and Kaitlyn Iselborn were a step behind, with Kailand Cosgrove not much farther back. Taylor broke away in the second half of the race, though, outrunning Iselborn for the win, 18:40 to 18:57. Behind Iselborn, Woodruff hung on for third in 19:15, while Lauren Ross moved up to beat out Cosgrove for fourth, 19:37 to 19:39.

"The only tough thing about the first mile was the fumes and dust that the Gator was kicking up," commented Cook. Actually, the lead vehicle was a Kawasaki Mule rather than a Gator, but it was kicking up a lot of dust on the unpaved parts of the course--the roads were dry after many days without rain. A lead bicycle might have made things more comfortable for the leaders. Still, Cook and the rest of the runners have to count themselves luckier than last year's Quail Trail competitors. In the 2009 race, the lead vehicle almost immediately took the runners off course and everyone got to run closer to five-and-a-half kilometers than five kilometers. That problem was solved this year, though, so maybe next year the race director can find a lead vehicle that doesn't bury the leaders in a cloud of dust and diesel.

Top Ten Men, Quail Trail 5K
  1. Kevin Cook, 15:40.13
  2. Dominick Cabrera, 16:26.84
  3. Nathan Duby, 16:56.13
  4. Sean Quinn, 16:56.70
  5. Gleb Rudenko, 17:20.57
  6. Darrin Gibson, 17:24.70
  7. Pablo Navarrette, 17:24.98
  8. Daniel Silva, 17:54.16
  9. Stephen Robbins, 19:20.40
  10. Pete Kaus, 19:31.62

Top Ten Women, Quail Trail 5K
  1. Kara Taylor, 18:39.96
  2. Kaitlyn Iselborn, 18:56.55
  3. Chelsi Woodruff, 19:14.48
  4. Lauren Ross, 19:36.17
  5. Kailand Cosgrove, 19:38.61
  6. Mary C Fleming, 19:43.95
  7. Amber Imm, 19:44.50
  8. Kendall Andrews, 19:56.69
  9. Bib #143, 19:59.62
  10. Shelby Salimone 20:09.42

High School Girls' Invitational 5K Cross-Country Run

While other runners started the race with a panicked charge for the lead, Stefanie Kurgatt patiently ran her own race. Around 800m the Maclay School sophomore glided into the lead. Kurgatt might have waved everyone goodbye at that point, because they saw very little of her after that. She ran away from the field to win in 20:20, Kurgatt's third straight high school cross-country win of the 2010 season. Lowndes's Allison Peters finished runner-up in 21:30, the first of four Lowndes runners to finish in the top ten. With that kind of scoring from their front four, Lowndes won the team title with 56 points. Maclay, the 2009 champions, placed second with 92 points. Florida State University School was third with 118.

Top Ten, High School Girls' 5K
  1. Stefanie Kurgatt (Maclay) 20:19.68
  2. Allison Peters (Lowndes) 21:29.46
  3. Chelsea Walker (Valdosta) 22:06.16
  4. Ashley Powell (Lowndes) 22:22.82
  5. Maggie Powell (Lowndes) 22:37.54
  6. Katie Utley (Tift) 22:38.67
  7. Kendal King (Tift) 22:44.14
  8. Sarah Sorensen (Aucilla Christian) 22:56.13
  9. Alex Hahn (Lowndes) 22:58.50
  10. Kirsten Kielma (Valdosta) 23:06.08

High School Girls' Team Standings
  1. Lowndes, 56
  2. Maclay, 92
  3. Florida State, 118
  4. Valdosta, 128
  5. Tift, 150
  6. Lee County, 194
  7. Thomasville, 195
  8. Colquitt County, 201
  9. Aucilla Christian, 202
  10. Bainbridge, 206
  11. Thomas County Central, 387
  12. John Paul II, 399
  13. Cairo, 409
  14. Echols, 436
  15. Early County, 443
  16. Brooks County, NTS
  17. Berrien County, NTS
  18. Pelham, NTS
  19. Taylor County FL, NTS

High School Boys' Invitational 5K Cross-Country Run

One of the coaches at the meet was wearing a T-shirt with this slogan:

This should have been required reading for the entries in the high school boys' 5K, many of whom started off as if the race were a 100-yard dash, and many more who took off as if it were a 440-yard dash (which is what us old folks call the 400 meters). By 800m, though, Hunter Honeycutt of Tift County was at the front of the field. At the beginning of the month Honeycutt had been in Scotland, competing in the ITU Duathlon World Championships. Now he was back in Georgia, seeing how well he could race without a bicycle. Quite well, as it turned out. Honeycutt ran to a 17:28 victory, breaking David Daniels' 2009 course record of 17:39. Maclay's Jacob Coates outraced Timmy Evans of Valdosta 17:57 to 18:01 in the closing yards of the race to take the runner-up spot. Maclay put three runners in the top ten and all five of their scorers in the top twelve to total a winning 40 points, taking the team title. Valdosta was second with 66 points, and Tift County used their Ace from Honeycutt to put together an 86-point hand for third place.

Top Ten, High School Boys' 5K
  1. Hunter Honeycutt (Tift) 17:27.72
  2. Jacob Coates (Maclay) 17:56.09
  3. Timmy Evans (Valdosta) 18:00.09
  4. Grif Rutherford (Thomasville) 18:03.83
  5. Trey Edwards (Florida High) 18:10.14
  6. Travis Covert (Maclay) 18:24.48
  7. Doyle Wallace (Valdosta) 18:45.06
  8. Joseph Garcia (Florida State) 18:47.10
  9. Dennis Keane (Maclay) 18:56.60
  10. Lyndon Jones (Lowndes) 19:05.39

High School Boys' Team Standings
  1. Maclay, 40
  2. Valdosta, 66
  3. Tift, 86
  4. Florida High, 126
  5. Lowndes, 133
  6. Colquitt County, 201
  7. Cairo, 212
  8. Bainbridge, 218
  9. Thomasville, 260
  10. Early County, 266
  11. Fitzgerald, 313
  12. Berrien County, 420
  13. Cook County, 442
  14. Pelham, 446
  15. Echols County, 554
  16. Thomas County Central, 599
  17. Lee County, NTS
  18. John Paul II, NTS
  19. Aucilla Christian, NTS
  20. Brooks County, NTS
  21. Community Christian, NTS

Middle School Two-Mile Cross-Country Run

At the end of a long morning of racing, the middle school athletes lined up in the starting meadow for their two-mile race. Chase Harris of Bainbridge, Georgia' Grace Christian Academy ran to a 10:52 win. Well behind Harris, Thomasville Middle School's T. J. Witherspoon outkicked Brookwood's Stephen Robbins for second, 11:47 to 11:48 (Robbins had run the open 5K earlier, placing ninth in 19:21). Aquilla Hayes of Tift County Middle School was the fastest girl, racing to a 12:52. Tift County's Blakely Bergeron outfought Lindsey Poole of Maclay for the runner-up spot, 13:09 to 13:10.

Top Ten, Middle School Boys' 5K
  1. Chase Harris (Grace Christian) 10:51.15
  2. TJ Witherspoon (Thomasville) 11:46.63
  3. Stephen Robbins (Brookwood MS) 11:47.72
  4. Hudson May (Colquitt Co.) 12:03.61
  5. Brett Bailey (Pelham) 12:08.24
  6. Garrett May (Colquitt Co.) 12:12.83
  7. Lamar Wynn (Lee Co. MS) 12:13.15
  8. Ryan Littleton (Colquitt Co.) 12:16.58
  9. Darius Baker (Tift Co. MS) 12:24.63
  10. Mathew Baun (St. John's) 12:27.70

Top Ten, Middle School Girls' 5K
  1. Aquilla Hayes (Tift Co. MS) 12:51.99
  2. Blakely Bergeron (Tift Co. MS) 13:08.54
  3. Lindsey Poole (Maclay) 13:09.81
  4. Gracen Booker (Lee) 13:43.52
  5. Taylor Copeland (Aucilla Christian) 13:44.08
  6. Brianna Moore (Tift Co. MS) 13:53.91
  7. Kaylyn Baker (Tift Co. MS) 14:01.74
  8. Perra Harrell (Grace Christian) 14:05.20
  9. Megan Giddens (Aucilla Christian) 14:13.03
  10. Yasmin Montezuma (Colquitt Co.) 14:29.23



  1. No official results yet, but I can tell you the boys team title actually was won by Maclay. Scorer inadvertently transferred the tie-breaker place of "89" to the outside of the team envelope as the final score for the team. Maclay actually scored 41 points (2, 6, 10, 11, 12) to win by 40 points or so. On a great note, the 4 actual races that were staged went off without a hitch this year. Looking forward to next year's 3rd annual event - no doubt all of the bugs will be exorcised by then.

  2. Oh ya - almost forgot to thank you for being there and for the pics. Really a great location for running and for shooting runners (pics of, that is).


    Several more shots at (mostly Maclay runners, as you might glean from the website title)

  3. Thanks for the heads-up on the team standings. At least I can change my post fairly easily; the Moultrie Observer went to print with the incorrect team standings (also reporting that the Valdosta girls placed fourth and seventh).

    Are your photo albums more or less permanent? If they don't go away when you need to recycle the space, I'd like to include links to them.


  4. "more or less permanent" is an exceptional description for my galleries. The boychild has 2 and a half more years of running at Maclay, so I would say they will be up for at least that long. I do know that some of my older links need to be repaired... I'll get right on that.