Saturday, October 9, 2010

Del Monte and Wollrath the class of their fields at FSU Invitational

For the first time in the history of the meet, the Florida State Invitational Cross-Country Meet went to a two-day format. Day one featured the collegiate races, which meant that day two, Saturday, 9 October 2010, belonged to the high schools. No more waiting for the college races to be over with. No more ceding the best weather of the morning to the college runners.

Of course, it also meant that the high school boys had to be at the starting line waiting for the gun at 7:40am. Everything comes with a price.

The last of a light morning mist was just disappearing from Apalachee Regional Park when 162 athletes set out around the two-loop boys' 5K course. The leaders hit the 1600m mark in 4:54. There was a large group of them. Even at 3000m, eight runners were still within a step or two of each other up front--Holy Trinity's Joey Castagnaro, Daniel Moore, and David Kilgore, Chamberlain's Max del Monte, Collins Hill's Andy Gonzalez, Estero's Aaron Rojas, Mandarin's Eduardo Garcia, and Maclay's Patrick Swain. Max del Monte, though, was the one who fought free of the pack for a 15:36.78 win, just off of Matt Mizereck's 2009 course record of 15:34.27. Eduardo Garcia followed del Monte into the chute at 15:39.80, and then Holy Trinity's attack began. David Kilgore (15:46.29) and Joey Castagnaro (15:49.64) took third and fourth for Trinity, and Daniel Moore (15:55.36) added a sixth place to the team's total. But while Holy Trinity was waiting for their fourth and fifth runner, Estero put all five of their scorers across the line. Led by Aaron Rojas (16:06.41), Estero took seventh, 12th, 13th, 14th, and 16th for a team total of 62 and the Invitational championship. With 67 points, Holy Trinity had to settle for the runner-up trophy. No one can say it wasn't close, though, and Holy Trinity would have come out on top in dual meet scoring, 27 to 30.

Four runners got out in front of the field of 165 in the first 300m of the high school girls' 5K--Julie Wollrath of Holy Trinity was following Rachel Petrik of Fort Myers, Kacy Smith of Estero, and Stefanie Kurgatt of Maclay. At three kilometers Wollrath was only following Kacy Smith. After that, Wollrath ran out of people to follow and led the way across the finish line in 17:49.60, breaking Jana Stolting's FSU Invitational record for the course of 18:28.83. Smith followed, placing second 17:57.02, while the next two spots went to Teresa Ristow (18:17.09) of Holy Trinity and Kurgatt (18:42.36) of Maclay. Petrick hung on for fifth in 18:58.90, but then another Estero runner--Maria Frank (19:01.16)--crossed the line, presaging another battle in the team standing between Holy Trinity and Estero. But although Trinity had the fastest runner in the race in Wollrath, Estero once again put six runners across the line before Trinity's fifth scorer finished. Estero won the girls' team title with 43 points, and Holy Trinity totaled 53 to take the runner up position.

Wollrath, incidentally, is in eighth grade. It's early to speculate, but it's also impossible to ignore that she has a chance to win an unprecedented five FSU Invitational titles in a row.

With the morning growing brighter and a bit warmer, the Invitational concluded with two junior varsity / open races, in which you could spot a few coaches running if you looked closely enough. They, at least, will have first-hand knowledge of what it's like to run the course at the Apalachee Regional Park Trail. For spectators, if you stand at the oak hammock near the finish line you can see 700m of the 2500m loop, including the starting line. All together you can see about 1800m of a 5K race from the oak hammock. If you'd like to see even more, a short "coaches trail" leads from the oak hammock to the north side of the loop, where you can see the runners racing through the jungle along Lower Lake Lafayette. For a variety of reasons, you may never see a FHSAA state championship meet at Apalachee Regional Park. But from the level of competition at this year's FSU Invitational, most races at the state meet would be a step down.

High School Boys' Team Standings
  1. Estero, 62
  2. Holy Trinity, 67
  3. Collins Hill, 149
  4. Winter Springs, 170
  5. Maclay, 179
  6. P.K. Yonge, 197
  7. St. Cloud, 209
  8. Lincoln, 220
  9. Mandarin, 228
  10. Matanzas, 237
  11. Chamberlain, 238
  12. Ponte Vedra, 315
  13. Alpharetta, 346
  14. Choctawhatchee, 430
  15. Marianna, 464
  16. Wakulla, 468
  17. Florida State, 477
  18. Eastside, 505
  19. Godby, 508
  20. Tift County, 530
  21. Columbia, 557
  22. North Florida Christian, 594
  23. Aucilla Christian, 651
  24. Rickards, 683

Top Ten High School Boys
  1. Max del Monte (Chamberlain) 15:36.78
  2. Eduardo Garcia (Mandarin) 15:39.80
  3. David Kilgore (Holy Trinity) 15:46.29
  4. Joey Castagnaro (Holy Trinity) 15:49.64
  5. Patrick Swain (Maclay) 15:50.36
  6. Daniel Moore (Holy Trinity) 15:55.36
  7. Aaron Rojas (Estero) 16:06.41
  8. Jacob Slupecki (Lincoln) 16:18.45
  9. Andy Gonzalez (Collins Hill) 16:18.96
  10. Garrett Westlake (P.K. Yonge) 16:23.82

High School Girls' Team Standings
  1. Estero, 43
  2. Holy Trinity, 53
  3. Fort Myers, 123
  4. Collins Hill, 130
  5. Choctawhatchee, 210
  6. Matanzas, 212
  7. Maclay, 232
  8. Winter Park, 240
  9. Steinbrenner, 253
  10. Winter Springs, 275
  11. St. Cloud, 300
  12. Aucilla Christian, 328
  13. P.K. Yonge, 359
  14. Wakulla, 367
  15. Alpharetta, 371
  16. Columbia, 420
  17. Tift County, 454
  18. Eastside, 466
  19. Ponte Vedra, 479
  20. Leon, 488
  21. Lincoln, 507
  22. Florida State, 554
  23. Marianna, 667

Top Ten High School Girls
  1. Julie Wollrath (Holy Trinity) 17:49.60
  2. Kacy Smith (Estero) 17:57.02
  3. Teresa Ristow (Holy Trinity) 18:17.09
  4. Stefanie Kurgatt (Maclay) 18:42.36
  5. Rachel Petrik (Fort Myers) 18:58.90
  6. Maria Frank (Estero) 19:01.16
  7. Chloe Whitworth (Collins Hill) 19:02.72
  8. Katy G Solis (Estero) 19:06.08
  9. Kristen Yocom (Winter Springs) 19:15.73
  10. Sydney Williams (Collins Hill) 19:18.89



  1. So, Herb, are you kicking yourself for just missing the left-most runner in that amazing 8-wide shot of the boys at 3K - great shot! And great job announcing all the races at the meet.

    Thanks for your coverage, Doug

  2. Doug, I don't think there were any photos where I wasn't wondering what was going on just beyond the edge of the frame. It was that kind of morning. Sometimes the ARP seems remote, but it's a short drive to see top teams from Miami to Atlanta competing.

    Maclay All-Comers still ahead on Oct. 28 for the Tallahassee fans!