Thursday, October 7, 2010

Clendinen and Luca lead Raa to LCS Titles

The Leon County Schools' 2010 cross-country season closed on Wednesday, October 6, with the League Championship Meet at the Apalachee Regional Park Trail. The Raa girls took home the league title, outscoring Swift Creek 32 to 48. Raa's Rebecca Clendinen won the individual title, finishing a few steps ahead of runner-up Lindsay Hughes of Raa. Raa likewise took home the boys' championship trophy with a winning score of 23 points, while Raa's Wil Luca and Sukhi Khosla took the top two spots in the race.

The girls ran at 6:00pm ET. 96 runners charged from the line across the first meadow, but the early leaders soon faded away. By the halfway point of the two-mile race, as the runners followed the weaving path through the jungle, Zoe Sheldon of Swift Creek was setting the pace, with Raa's Lindsay Hughes and Rebecca Clendinen half a step back, and Swift Creek's Madeline Horgan right behind them. Horgan fell back first, and then Sheldon gave up the lead to the pair from Raa. Clendinen broke away at the end, beating Hughes to the finish line, 13:34 to 13:36. It was Clendinen's fourth win in four outings, completing a perfect LCS cross-country season. Sheldon and Horgan picked up third and fourth place for Swift Creek in 13:47 and 14:09. Raa, however, also picked up sixth (Christiana Dogan), tenth (Brittany Asbury), and 13th (Kelly Ervin) for a winning team total of 32. Raa ended the season having won three of the four meet in the LCS season, with Swift Creek having won the season opener, "The Battle at Tom Brown."

When the boys' race started at 6:30 pm, 155 runners almost immediately found themselves running behind Raa's Will Luca. By the mile mark of the two-mile race Raa's Sukhi Khosla had moved into second with Anthony Walker of Cobb following closely in his wake, but Luca was still up front. As the runners climbed up out of the jungle Luca maintained his lead over Khosla and Walker, while Raa's Evan Francis moved up into fourth. Luca appeared to be close to exhaustion as he crossed the finish line, but he crossed it first, running 11:35. Khosla was runner-up in 11:40, and Walker held off the charging Francis, 11:43 to 11:44. With Jason Benn in sixth and Devon Foster in eleventh, Raa ended up with 24 points and the championship, completing a perfect four-for-four LCS season.

As the sun set on Apalachee Regional Park it also set on the 2010 Leon County Schools' middle-school cross-country season. Meet director Gary Kenney, however, did make a pitch for a post-season competition, the inaugural Florida Middle-School State Championship in Lakeland on November 13. And cross-country certainly isn't over at Apalachee Regional Park Trail--not even for this week, with college competition slated at the Florida State University Invitational on Friday (10/8) evening and high school racing on Saturday (10/9) morning.

Girls' Team Standings
  1. Raa, 32 *
  2. Swift Creek, 48 *
  3. Montford, 74 *
  4. Cobb, 107
  5. Deerlake, 121
  6. Fairview, 153
  7. Fort Braden, 201

    * Qualified for the state championship

Top Ten Girls
  1. Rebecca Clendinen (Raa) 13:34
  2. Lindsay Hughes (Raa) 13:36
  3. Zoe Sheldon (Swift Creek) 13:47
  4. Madeline Horgan (Swift Creek) 14:09
  5. Maddy Kennan (Cobb) 14:13
  6. Christiana Dogan (Raa) 14:18
  7. Alex Wallace (Deerlake) 14:20
  8. Haley Jacobs (Montford) 14:21
  9. Jewels Krueger (Montford) 14:24
  10. Brittany Asbury (Raa) 14:27

Boys' Team Standings
  1. Raa, 24 *
  2. Montford, 83 *
  3. Swift Creek, 89 *
  4. Cobb, 90
  5. Fairview, 122
  6. Deerlake, 132
  7. Griffin, 191
  8. Fort Braden, 241

    * Qualified for the state championship.

Top Ten Boys
  1. Wil Luca (Raa) 11:35
  2. Sukhi Khosla (Raa) 11:40
  3. Anthony Walker (Cobb) 11:43
  4. Evan Francis (Raa) 11:44
  5. Hunter Scott (Montford) 11:48
  6. Jason Benn (Raa) 11:49
  7. Jaryd Walton (Swift Creek) 11:52
  8. Ryan Olin (Montford) 11:55
  9. Kyle Buchholz (Cobb) 11:59
  10. Evan Wilson (Fairview) 12:10


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