Friday, July 4, 2014

Firecracker victories for Garcia and Slater

Joseph GarciaLincoln High alumnus Joseph Garcia celebrated Independence Day, 4 July 2014, with a win at Capital City Kiwanis’ 32nd annual Firecracker 5K. Garcia posted a 17:06 for the 3.1-mile tour of Tallahassee’s Cascades Park, the first of 431 athletes to finish the race. Katie Slater, an incoming freshman at Florida State University, was the first woman in the Firecracker, placing 14th overall in 18:58.

Garcia took off early in the race. How fast a start did he get? When the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, the American Revolutionary War had already been going on for a year, and a peace treaty was still seven years away. If Washington’s Continental Army had started as fast as Garcia, the war would have been over before the awful winter at Valley Forge and Benedict Arnold wouldn’t have had time to become a traitor. Garcia was leading right after the start, and seemed uncatchable when he passed the mile mark in 5:16. As it turned out, he was uncatchable, getting farther and farther ahead as the course wound around Cascades Park. And wind it did.

Michael Martinez“There were a lot of turns,” said Garcia. “I felt like a snake. It reminded me of indoor track.”

Garcia doesn’t like indoor track.

He does have some affection for outdoor track, though, especially the 1500 meters and the mile. The middle distances are in his near-future racing plans. "I'm running at the Ernie Sims meet, the 1500. I'm really looking forward to that."

While Garcia was cruising by the mile mark in 5:16, Tallahassee master runner Michael Martinez was back in fifth place. Martinez overtook fellow master Geb Kiros, then passed Adam Greenstein and Ryan Truchelut to move into the second spot. Chasing Martinez, Carl Nordhielm was also moving up through the field. While Garcia got the win in 17:06, Martinez held off Nordhielm to finish runner-up in 17:42. Nordhielm was third in 17:50, and Geb Kiros fourth in 18:05. Adam Greenstein outkicked Reikan Lin for fifth, 18:07 to 18:09.

Katie SlaterThe Firecracker 5K wasn’t Katie Slater’s first race in Tallahassee. While competing for Estero High, in just the past year Slater had raced an 18:38 5K at the FSU Cross-Country Invitational at Apalachee Regional Park, raced there again in the State Finals, and posted a 5:07.71 for 1600 and a 2:18.20 for 800 on the Mike Long Track in April's FSU Relays. The Firecracker 5K should be just the first of many more Tallahassee races for Slater, who has signed to run for Coach Karen Harvey’s Lady Seminoles.

Slater arrived at Cascades Park on the morning of the race with two other Florida State athletes, Carly Thomas and Leon Araceli. All three were soon far ahead of the rest of the women’s field, with Slater leading both Thomas and Araceli. Slater steadily widened the gap, taking the women’s title in 18:58. Thomas broke away from Araceli during the second half of the race to finish second in the women’s standings, placing 19th overall in 19:44. Araceli was the third woman finisher, 23rd overall in 20:04. Jillian Heddaeus finished fourth on the women’s side, 27th overall in 20:44. The top woman master was Paula O’Neill, 48th overall in 22:43.

It was the first year that the Firecracker was run in Cascades Park, and the second year that the race was held in Tallahassee. For thirty years the Greensboro Kiwanis staged the race annually in Gadsden County. The Greensboro club hosted their last Firecracker in 2012, and the Capital City Kiwanis took over in 2013, moving the race to Cascades in 2014. The record 431 finishers seems to indicate that the new venue is a hit, although the course may need some work. After all, no one wants Joseph Garcia to feel like a snake.

Top Ten Men, 2014 Capital City Kiwanis Firecracker 5K
  1. 17:06 ~ Joseph Garcia (M, 18)Carl Nordhielm
  2. 17:42 ~ Michael Martinez (M, 48)
  3. 17:50 ~ Carl Nordheilm (M, 51)
  4. 18:05 ~ Geb Kiros (M, 47)
  5. 18:07 ~ Adam Greenstein (M, 23)
  6. 18:09 ~ Reikan Lin (M, 24)
  7. 18:21 ~ Sean Hudson (M, 44)
  8. 18:25 ~ Ryan Truchelut (M, 28)
  9. 18:26 ~ Drew Hart (M, 17)
  10. 18:34 ~ Tony Guillen (M, 45)
Carly Thomas and Leon Araceli
Top Ten Women, 2014 Capital City Kiwanis Firecracker 5K
  1. 18:58 ~ Katie Slater (F, 18)
  2. 19:44 ~ Carly Thomas (F, 20)
  3. 20:04 ~ Leon Araceli (F, 18)
  4. 20:44 ~ Jillian Heddaeus (F, 31)
  5. 22:27 ~ Tiffany Roddenberry (F, 29)
  6. 22:32 ~ Urska Dobersek (F, 31)
  7. 22:43 ~ Paula O' Neill (F, 53)
  8. 23:14 ~ Jamie Williams (F, 28)
  9. 23:36 ~ Holley Campbell (F, 16)
  10. 23:51 ~ Tsige Tadesse (F, 41)

Recent winners of the Firecracker 5000m
4 July 201417:06, Joseph Garcia18:58, Katie Slater
4 July 201318:22, Roger Schmidt20:53, Katie Showman
4 July 201216:14, Stanley Linton22:36, Nancy Stedman
4 July 201117:20, Joel Piotrowski21:35, Stephanie Stout
3 July 201018:45, Cliff Skelton22:29, Nancy Stedman
4 July 200916:46, Daniel Lee19:26, Emily Ness
4 July 2008
4 July 200718:05, Tony Guillen21:51, Julie Clark
4 July 200617:40, James Cook20:03, Julia Vola
4 July 200516:44, Jeff Dubias20:30, Heather Bailey
3 July 200415:48, Caleb Carmichael18:39, Kara Newell
4 July 2003
4 July 200216:57, Jason Fulghum22:07, Janice Hochstein
4 July 200117:22, Paul Hoover17:53, Sarah Docter-Williams
4 July 200015:57, Gary Droze18:10, Sarah Docter-Williams
4 July 199916:37, Tim Simpkins17:56, Sarah Docter-Williams
4 July 199816:05, Damian Wilson17:35, Sarah Docter-Williams
4 July 1997
4 July 199615:45, Gary Droze19:13, Carrie Weyant
4 July 199416:07, Gary Droze18:19, Lisa Herman
4 July 199016:55, Bill Crooks19:10, Vikki Saga
4 July 198916:47, Paul Hoover20:27, Mae Cleveland
4 July 198817:02, Paul Hoover
From 1983 to 2012 the Firecracker 5000 was run in Gadsden County
from Sycamore to Greensboro.
In 2013 the Firecracker 5000 was run in Tallahassee on trails in

Phipps Park.
In 2014 the Firecracker 5000 was run in Tallahassee from Cascades
Park on a USATF Certified Course.


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