Sunday, August 10, 2014

Second time in first place for Nordhielm and Bondarenko in the Sizzler 5K

Carl Nordhielm9 August 2014 wasn't just another torrid Saturday afternoon on Florida's St. George Island, it was the afternoon of the 17th annual Sizzler 5K. This year it turned out to be a race for repeat winners, with 2010 champion Carl Nordhielm returning to collect a second win in 18:02, while Polina Bondarenko added a second women's title to her Sizzler record by placing ninth overall in 20:25. 223 athletes finished the 3.1-mile race on the Island.

The Sizzler started at 6:00 PM with the runners heading east on Pine Street. Half a kilometer from the start a lead group of half a dozen runners had separated from the pack, with 2013 Sizzler winner Caleb Carmichael setting the pace. Carmichael soon decided that he wasn't going to be able to run with the leaders that day and dropped back, leaving five runners out in front--Carl Nordhielm, Bryce Cole, Albert Smythe, Michael Martinez, and Shawn Logan.

2014 SGI Sizzler 5KNordhielm broke away during the second half of the race, building up a lead of over 50 meters with a kilometer to go. The Tallahassee master runner continued to widen the gap on his way to an 18:02 win. Wakulla High sophomore Bryce Cole was second in 18:22. Joel Piotrowski overtook the fading runners from the lead group to finish third in 18:42. Wakulla High junior Albert Smythe placed fourth in 18:59. Nikita Bondarenko moved up during the race to take fifth in 19:41.

"The most painful races are the ones where I run the best," reflected Nordhielm after the Sizzler. "I always really hurt at this race, but I always perform well." The 2014 Sizzler must have been especially excruciating for Nordhielm; he ran over a minute faster than his winning time in 2010.

Polina Bondarenko first won the women's division at the Sizzler 5K in 2012, the year the race moved from June to August. She and her family live in Illinois, and they were vacationing on St. George Island. It's an annual trip for the Bondarenkos.

Polina Bondarenko"We come here on vacation for three weeks, get used to the heat, and have some fun," said Bondarenko.

In 2013, though, Polina Bondarenko was second in the women's standings to Tallahassee runner Renee Cox. Both runners were back for a rematch in 2014.

Half a kilometer after the start, Renee Cox was leading the women's field, just ahead of Lauren Davidson. Polina Bondarenko was a few steps behind. By two kilometers Davidson had faded back into third. Cox was still a few steps ahead of Bondarenko, but Bondarenko was coming. Just past Lighthouse Park, early in the second half of the race, Bondarenko passed Cox. After that, Bondarenko pulled steadily away on her way to a 20:25 win, her fastest run yet at the Sizzler. Cox was the women's runner up, placing 11th overall in 20:46. Chipola College cross-country runner Margaret Wiedeman was third on the women's side, finishing 21st overall in 22:41. Paula O'Neill (23rd, 22:51) was the top woman master and fourth female finisher. Lauren Davidson (25th, 23:02) ended the race fifth in the women's standings.

By September Polina Bondarenko will be back in Illinois running cross country for Oak Park River Forest High in the Chicago suburbs. "Swimming is my main sport now," insists Bondarenko. But next August on another hot day on St. George Island, running will be the only sport on the minds of Bondarenko and a few hundred other athletes at the 2015 Sizzler.

Top Ten Men, 2014 St. George Island Sizzler 5K
  1. 18:02 ~ Carl Nordhielm (M, 51)Bryce Cole, Albert Smythe
  2. 18:22 ~ Bryce Cole (M, 16)
  3. 18:42 ~ Joel Piotrowski (M, 44)
  4. 18:59 ~ Albert Smythe (M, 17)
  5. 19:41 ~ Nikita Bondarenko (M, 19)
  6. 19:56 ~ Philip Sura (M, 44)
  7. 19:57 ~ Travis Parks (M, 18)
  8. 20:12 ~ Michael Martinez (M, 48)
  9. 20:25 ~ Shawn Logan (M, 19)
  10. 20:34 ~ Lane Williams (M, 18)

Top Ten Women, 2014 St. George Island Sizzler 5K
  1. 20:25 ~ Polina Bondarenko (F, 14)Renee Cox
  2. 20:46 ~ Renee Cox (F, 27)
  3. 22:41 ~ Margaret Wiedeman (F, 19)
  4. 22:51 ~ Paula O'Neill (F, 53)
  5. 23:02 ~ Lauren Davidson (F, 23)
  6. 23:27 ~ Haleigh Martin (F, 15)
  7. 23:28 ~ Cora Atkinson (F, 20)
  8. 23:44 ~ Libby Coen (F, 15)
  9. 24:19 ~ Sarah Dugas (F, 35)
  10. 24:20 ~ Mindy Sharon (F, 22)

St. George Island Sizzler 5K Champions, 1997-2014
21 June 199717:36, Tim Unger21:40, Julie Clark
13 June 199816:09, Gary Droze22:53, Donna Finney
12 June 199917:05, Tim Unger19:24, Summer Calder
10 June 200016:07, Gary Droze21:18, Julie Clark
15 June 200215:46, Lee Willis18:43, Luanne Coulter
21 June 200316:44, Caleb Carmichael20:45, Jane Johnson
12 June 200416:42, Caleb Carmichael19:48, Kara Newell
18 June 200516:02, Alex Miletich20:53, Angela Dempsey
24 June 200617:24, Robert Beazley18:39, Kara Newell
23 June 200717:02, Jasen Fulghum20:41, Jane Johnson
28 June 200816:44, Tripp Southerland19:11, Stephanie Liles
27 June 200916:53, John Robida19:47, Kelsey Scheitlin
26 June 201019:06, Carl Nordhielm22:06, Nancy Stedman
25 June 201117:06, Brandon Hough22:44, Nicole Reichenbach
11 August 201216:25, Vince Molosky21:58, Polina Bondarenko
10 August 201316:16, Caleb Carmichael20:28, Renee Cox
9 August 201418:02, Carl Nordhielm20:25, Polina Bondarenko
The 1997 race was called the Summer Island 5K.


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