Sunday, September 1, 2013

Harris and Khosla take on all challengers at the Challenge

Madison HarrisFrom 2006 to 2011 Godby's Cougar Challenge marked the start of high school cross-country season in Florida's Big Bend. The meet treated athletes to a, well, challenging course on the slopes and trails of Tallahassee's Phipps Park. The Cougar Challenge went missing in 2012, but it was back on the calendar in 2013, so the harriers were back in Phipps Park on August 31.


Godby Cougar Cross-Country ChallengeCompetition opened with the 5K for high school girls at 8:00 AM. Running through fog, Wakulla High senior Madison Harris had the lead by midway through the second kilometer, with Meagan Giddens of Taylor County and Margaret Wiedeman following closely. The race didn't stay close, though, as Harris steadily widened the gap en route to a 20:35 win. Sophomore Giddens was second in 21:09, and Margaret Wiedeman third in 22:14. As Taylor County's sole entry, Giddens didn't count in the team standings, giving the Wakulla girls three points for their first two runners, the strongest start possible. But while Wakulla waited for its third runner, Leon High put Gray Kinch (4th, 22:44), Zoe Sheldon (5th, 22:47), Audrey Dogan (6th, 23:00), and Grace Lockhart (7th, 23:00) across the line. Add Mary Dixon (10th, 23:12) and Leon had all five scorers in the top ten, giving the Lions a mathematically unbeatable 27 points and the team title. Wakulla scored 58 points to take the runner-up spot, while the Maclay School girls were third with 67.


Team Standings, High School Girls, 2013 Cougar Cross-Country Challenge
Leon High School
  1. Leon High School, 27
  2. Wakulla High School, 58
  3. Maclay School, 67
  4. Lincoln High School, 98
  5. Aucilla Christian Academy, 123
  6. Florida High School, 153

Top Ten High School Girls, 2013 Cougar Cross-Country Challenge
  1. 20:34.79 ~ Madison Harris (Wakulla) 12
  2. Meagan Giddens21:08.14 ~ Meagan Giddens (Taylor County) 10
  3. 22:13.82 ~ Margaret Wiedeman (Wakulla) 12
  4. 22:43.20 ~ Gray Kinch (Leon) 9
  5. 22:46.04 ~ Zoe Sheldon (Leon) 9
  6. 22:59.05 ~ Audrey Dogan (Leon) 9
  7. 22:59.41 ~ Grace Lockhart (Leon) 10
  8. 23:09.59 ~ Lydia Wiedeman (Wakulla) 11
  9. 23:09.80 ~ Savannah Fisher (Lincoln) 12
  10. 23:11.51 ~ Mary Dixon (Leon) 11

What Madison Harris did to the field in the girls race, Sukhi Khosla did to the boys. The Leon High junior recorded a 16:47 win in the 3.1-mile race finishing nearly half a minute ahead of the runner-up, Griffith Rutherford (2nd, 17:15) of North Florida Christian. Maclay School runners Connor Daughton (3rd, 17:42) and Jack Rutledge (4th, 17:46) followed, and with Jake Mazziotta (7th, 18:12) Maclay had three runners in the top ten. Leon countered with top-ten finishes by Wil Luca (6th, 18:07), Kyle Buchholz (8th, 18:20), Jarod Hoffman (9th, 18:22), and James Dodson (10th, 18:24), giving the Lions five runners in the top ten, 34 points, and the team title. Maclay earned runner-up honors with 42 points, while North Florida Christian edged Wakulla 122 to 124 for third.


Team Standings, High School Boys, 2013 Cougar Cross-Country Challenge
  1. Leon High School boys cross-country teamLeon High School, 34
  2. Maclay School, 42
  3. North Florida Christian, 122
  4. Wakulla High School, 124
  5. Lincoln High School, 129
  6. Chiles High School, 143
  7. Aucilla Christian Academy, 159
  8. Florida State University School, 214
  9. North Bay Haven, 276

Top Ten High School Boys, 2013 Cougar Cross-Country Challenge
  1. 16:46.31 ~ Sukhi Khosla (Leon) 11
  2. 17:14.08 ~ Griffith Rutherford (North Florida Christian) 12
  3. 17:41.01 ~ James Connor Daughton (Maclay) 12
  4. 17:45.66 ~ Jack Rutledge (Maclay) 12
  5. 18:00.73 ~ Hunter Scott (Lincoln) 11
  6. 18:06.83 ~ Wil Luca (Leon) 11
  7. 18:11.49 ~ Jake Mazziotta (Maclay) 9
  8. 18:19.15 ~ Kyle Buchholz (Leon) 11
  9. 18:21.77 ~ Jarod Hoffman (Leon) 12
  10. 18:23.24 ~ James Dodson (Leon) 10

In the two-mile race for middle school girls, Maclay School sixth-grader Regan Hermeling took individual honors, outrunning runner-up Summer Williams of Florida State University School 14:52 to 15:26. But you need five runners to have a team in cross country, and Fairview was the only school to put five runners on the course. Led by Paris King (3rd, 15:30), Fairview won an unopposed team title, scoring a perfect 15 points.


Top Ten Middle School Girls, 2013 Cougar Cross-Country Challenge
  1. 14:51.62 ~ Regan Hermeling (Maclay) 6
  2. 15:25.52 ~ Summer Williams (Florida State) 7
  3. 15:29.02 ~ Paris King (Fairview) 7
  4. 15:38.44 ~ Carina Richardson (Fairview) 8
  5. 15:41.92 ~ Kamryn Brown (Flor​ida State) 7
  6. 16:11.06 ~ Nadia Batchelor (Maclay) 8
  7. 16:15.77 ~ Jirah Arnold (Fairview) 7
  8. 16:16.52 ~ Kiarra Jordan (Fairview) 7
  9. 16:20.33 ~ Olivia Borshel (Maclay) 6
  10. 16:23.99 ~ Rosalea Marshall (Raa) 8

Augusta Raa Middle School, a perennial contender in cross-country in the Leon County Schools' middle school competition, gave notice that they may be back in 2013. The first league meet was still ahead, scheduled for 4 September 2013 at Fort Braden, but at the Cougar Challenge Jacob Dodson and Benjamin Smith went one-two for the Rams, running 12:28 and 13:14. Smith had been in a dogfight for the runner-up spot, coming in just ahead of Maclay's Max Eastman (3rd, 13:16), Fairview's Joseph Jones (4th, 13:17), and Raa's Drew Feeley (5th, 13:17). With Dodson, Smith, and Feeley accounting for eight points, Raa went on to score 41, winning the team title. Maclay School made it into the runner-up spot just ahead of Fairview Middle, 61 to 62.


Team Standings, Middle School Boys, 2013 Cougar Cross-Country Challenge
  1. Raa M​iddle​ School, 41
  2. Maclay​ School, 61
  3. Fairview M​iddle​ School, 62
  4. Commun​ity Chr​istian School, 72
  5. Flor​ida State University​ School, 96

Top Ten Middle School Boys, 2013 Cougar Cross-Country Challenge
  1. 12:27.05 Jacob​ Do​dson (Raa) 8
  2. 13:13.13 Benjamin​ Sm​ith (Raa) 8
  3. 13:15.69 M​ax E​astman (Maclay) 7
  4. 13:16.20 J​oseph Jon​es (Fairview) 8
  5. 13:16.70​ Drew​ Feeley (Raa) 8
  6. 13:21.51 Avery Whaley (Commun​ity) 7
  7. 13:23.12 Harr​ison Obrec​ht (Maclay) 8
  8. 13:33.36​ Tow​nse​nd Porcher (Fairview) 7​
  9. 13:35.21 Pace Wi​lson (Maclay​) 8
  10. 13:36.39​ Thor​ Swa​nson (Flor​ida State) 8

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