Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Wakulla day at District 2-2A

Haleigh MartinThe Wakulla War Eagles swept the team titles at the District 2-2A Cross Country Championships, hosted by Rickards High School at the Apalacheee Regional Park Cross Country Course on Saturday morning, 1 November 2014. It was the third year in a row that the War Eagles had swept the meet. Wakulla sophomore Haleigh Martin won the girls' race in 20:01, and Rickards junior Solomon Stevens led the boys' race with a 17:23.

The harriers of FSUS, Marianna, Rickards, Taylor County, and Wakulla got a preview of the State Meet course in their District 2-2A races. More than track and more than road racing, cross country is ruled by conditions. Conditions were great the morning of the District Meet. ARPXC was in excellent shape and the temperatures were in the 40s. A stiff wind was blowing from the west, a tailwind for the athletes on the top part of the course. On the bottom part of the course, the runners were sheltered from any headwind by the woods.

"Four of our girls ran PRs," reported one of the coaches.

Meagan GiddensHaleigh Martin didn't run her best time, but she did run fast. The Wakulla sophomore headed to the front right after the start of the race. Taylor County junior Meagan Giddens, the 2012 District 2-2A champion, ran with Martin during the first 800 meters. After that, Martin took command, leading by 40 seconds at the halfway point. The second half was more of the same, as Martin went on to win by over 300 meters in 20:01. Giddens took second in 21:29. Wakulla senior Lydia Wiedeman was third in 22:03, and the War Eagles also got top ten finishes from junior Constance Lewis (5th, 22:10), sophomore Juliana Prestia (8th, 23:08), and sophomore Emily Lawrence (9th, 23:54). That gave Wakulla a near-perfect score of 17 points and the 2014 District 2 girls' title.

Led by the 23:05 seventh-place finish of eighth-grader Summer Williams, Florida State University School took second in the team standings with 45 points. Both Wakulla and FSUS advance to the Region 1-2A Championship on Thursday, 6 November 2014 in Pensacola. Meagan Giddens also qualified for the Region, as did Rickards athletes Mezindia Nkembo and Carina Richardson, Mariana's Natasha Smith, Taylor County's Ruth Anne McGehee, and Marianna's Amanda Carnley.

Girls' Team Standings, 2014 FHSAA District 2-2A Cross Country Championships
  1. Wakulla, 17 *
  2. Florida State, 45 *
* Team advances to the Region 1 Championships

Top Ten Girls, 2014 FHSAA District 2-2A Cross Country Championships
  1. 20:00.27 ~ Haleigh Martin (Wakulla) 102014 District 2-2A Girls Cross Country
  2. 21:28.86 ~ Meagan Giddens (Taylor County) 11
  3. 22:02.34 ~ Lydia Wiedeman (Wakulla) 12
  4. 22:05.31 ~ Mezindia Nkembo (Rickards) 10
  5. 22:09.71 ~ Constance Lewis (Wakulla) 11
  6. 22:24.91 ~ Carina Richardson (Rickards) 9
  7. 23:04.47 ~ Summer Williams (Florida State) 8
  8. 23:08.00 ~ Juliana Prestia (Wakulla) 10
  9. 23:53.93 ~ Emily Lawrence (Wakulla) 10
  10. 24:09.47 ~ Natasha Smith (Marianna) 12

Solomon StevensUnlike the girls' race, the boys' 5K was far from over at the halfway point. A tight group of five runners crested The Wall together the first time around the course--Rickards Raiders Solomon Stevens, Abraham Grandison, and Evan Garrison, plus Bryce Cole and Lane Williams of the Wakulla War Eagles. Williams dropped off the pace, then Garrison. With a kilometer to go, the fight for the lead was down to Stevens, Grandison, and Cole.

Solomon Stevens broke away on the second trip up The Wall, leaving Grandison and Cole fighting for second place. Stevens charged home to win in 17:23, while Cole outran Grandison on the homestretch to take second, 17:29 to 17:37. Rickards junior Evan Garrison edged Wakulla senior Lane Williams for fourth, 17:54 to 17:55, giving the Raiders three of the top four places. However, the next three finishers after Williams were the next three scorers for the War Eagles--junior Evan Guarino (6th, 18:24), senior Travis Parks (7th, 18:29), and senior James Piotrowski (8th, 18:44). With that, Wakulla had 28 points, the District 2-2A boys' title, and a spot on the starting line in the Region 1-2A meet. Rickards and Florida State University School also advanced to Region, respectively placing second with 42 points and third with 69 points.

Boys' Team Standings, 2014 FHSAA District 2-2A Cross Country Championships
  1. Wakulla, 28 *
  2. Rickards, 42 *
  3. Florida State, 69 *
  4. Marianna, 105
* Team advances to the Region 1 Championships

Top Ten Boys, 2014 FHSAA District 2-2A Cross Country Championships
  1. 17:22.33 ~ Solomon Stevens (Rickards) 112014 District 2-2A Boys Cross Country
  2. 17:28.54 ~ Bryce Cole (Wakulla) 10
  3. 17:36.70 ~ Abraham Grandison (Rickards) 12
  4. 17:53.67 ~ Evan Garrison (Rickards) 11
  5. 17:54.94 ~ Lane Williams (Wakulla) 12
  6. 18:23.05 ~ Evan Guarino (Wakulla) 11
  7. 18:28.24 ~ Travis Parks (Wakulla) 12
  8. 18:43.65 ~ James Piotrowski (Wakulla) 12
  9. 18:46.66 ~ James Story (Wakulla) 10
  10. 18:49.24 ~ Jahaz Morgan (Florida State) 6


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