Friday, September 11, 2015

Swift Creek's Blake and Churchill are champs at the sixth annual Fort Braden Run

Alyson ChurchillSwift Creek eighth-grader Alyson Churchill opened the Fort Braden Run middle school cross country meet with a wire-to-wire win in the girls' two mile, running 13:26. Behind Churchill, the Swift Creek girls scored 38 points, taking their third straight team title in the annual meet. Swift Creek seventh-grader Weston Blake won the boys' two mile in 13:08, while Deerlake edged Montford 44 to 48 for boys' team honors.

Fort Braden School isn't unusual in having "No Trespassing" signs posted on the schoolyard fence. It is somewhat unusual, though, in that Fort Braden's signs read "No Trespassing and No Hunting." Fort Braden is a long way west of the Tallahassee city limits and the school is surrounded by the Talquin State Forest and the Apalachicola National Forest. It's a location made for cross country running, and since 2010 the school has hosted an annual middle school cross country meet, the Fort Braden Run.

The sixth annual Fort Braden Run got under way promptly at 6:00 PM on Wednesday, 9 September 2015, with the girls' two-mile race. The course has remained much the same all six years--a start in Fort Braden Community Park, a run across a narrow footbridge to Fort Braden School for a circuit of the schoolyard, and then another trip over the footbridge to return to the park and the finish line. Alyson Churchill was familiar with the route--in the 2014 Fort Braden Run she was fifth across the bridge and second across the finish line. In the 2015 race Churchill was first across the bridge and stayed first all the way to the end of the race, posting a 13:26 for the two miles. Farther back, eighth-graders Emily Molen and Megan Churchill fought for second. Swift Creek's Megan Churchill made it back to the park just ahead of Molen, and started to open a gap on the Deerlake runner. But with 200 meters to go Emily Molen started to close on Megan Churchill, overtaking the Deerlake runner just before the final straight. On that homestretch Molen sprinted home to take second, 13:38 to 13:42.

In addition to Alyson Churchill and Megan Churchill, Swift Creek also put eighth-graders Chase Merrick (5th, 14:37) and Rylee French (8th, 16:16) in the top ten. When seventh-grader Lauren Whittier (21st, 17:19) crossed the finish line for Swift Creek, the Wolves had 38 points and the Fot Braden Run girls' team title--Swift Creek's third in a row and fourth in the last five years. Led by Molen's runner-up finish, Deerlake was a close second with 45 points. Behind the fourth-place 14:28 of Caitlin Wilkey, the Montford girls edged Raa for third, 82 to 85.

2015 Fort Braden Run Team Standings, Girls
  1. Swift Creek, 38
  2. Deerlake, 45
  3. Montford, 82
  4. Raa, 85
  5. Fairview, 114
  6. Cobb, 145
    Woodville, NTS
    Griffin, NTS
    Fort Braden, NTS

Top Ten Girls, 2015 Fort Braden Run
  1. 13:25.96 ~ Alyson Churchill (Swift Creek) 8
  2. 13:37.09 ~ Emily Molen (Deerlake) 8
  3. 13:41.47 ~ Megan Churchill (Swift Creek) 8
  4. 14:27.26 ~ Caitlin Wilkey (Montford) 8
  5. 14:36.13 ~ Chase Merrick (Swift Creek) 8
  6. 15:58.28 ~ Gabrielle O'Sullivan (Deerlake) 8
  7. 16:09.00 ~ Lauren Cook (Deerlake) 7
  8. 16:15.83 ~ Rylee French (Swift Creek) 8
  9. 16:20.40 ~ Lilli Unger (Raa) 7
  10. 16:26.03 ~ Arianna Barrow (Raa) 6

In 2013 and 2014 the Fort Braden Run was the opening meet of the Leon County Schools' middle school cross country season. In 2015, though, that honor went to the Swift Creek Invitational at the Apalachee Regional Park Championship Cross Country Course. However, only the girls got to run that day; the boys' two mile was canceled due to lightning. So the 2015 Fort Braden Run was the de facto opener for the boys. While the boys were circling the Fort Braden schoolyard Swift Creek seventh-grader Weston Blake took command about halfway through the race, then held the lead to the finish line to win in 13:08. A few steps back, Montford eighth-grader Bryson Cooksey edged eighth-grader Nile Bryant of Raa 13:12 to 13:14 for second, while Montford eighth-grader Hawthorne Hay was right behind them in fourth at 13:15.

Montford also put sixth-grader Trey Daniels (9th, 14:02) in the top ten, but Deerlake had four runners in the top ten--seventh-grader Michael Sweeney (5th, 13:31), eighth-grader Spencer Amsellem (6th, 13:32), sixth-grader Levi Streval (7th, 13:32), and eighth-grader Illya Dukhovskey (10th, 14:06). Eighth-grader Sam Hartmann (12th, 14:10) was a strong fourth runner for Montford, but while the Mustangs waited for their fifth scorer, seventh-grader Hollis Burch (16th, 14:23) crossed the finish line and Deerlake had a total of 44 points. Before Montford could finish their own total, Deerlake seventh-graders CJ Derickson (17th, 14:29) and Gavin Stewart (20th, 14:39) came in. Those Deerlake "pushers" had just added two points to Montford's score. The Deerlake boys won, with Montford a close second at 48. Swift Creek was third with 56.

2015 Fort Braden Run Team Standings, Boys
  1. Deerlake, 44
  2. Montford, 48
  3. Swift Creek, 56
  4. Raa, 106
  5. Cobb, 128
  6. Fairview, 170
  7. Fort Braden, 199
    Nims, NTS
    Griffin, NTS
    Woodville, NTS

Top Ten Boys, 2015 Fort Braden Run
  1. 13:07.87 ~ Weston Blake (Swift Creek) 7
  2. 13:11.55 ~ Bryson Cooksey (Montford) 8
  3. 13:13.58 ~ Nile Bryant (Raa) 8
  4. 13:14.53 ~ Hawthorne Hay (Montford) 8
  5. 13:30.79 ~ Michael Sweeney (Deerlake) 7
  6. 13:31.19 ~ Spencer Amsellem (Deerlake) 8
  7. 13:31.52 ~ Levi Streval (Deerlake) 6
  8. 13:31.96 ~ Sean Yearwood (Swift Creek) 8
  9. 14:01.25 ~ Trey Daniels (Montford) 6
  10. 14:05.50 ~ Illya Dukhovskey (Deerlake) 8

The next meet of the 2015 Leon County Schools' cross country season is the Everhart Invitational, the oldest middle school meet in Tallahassee. The 29th annual Everhart Invitational is scheduled for Thursday morning, 17 September 2015, with the Owl Run at 10:30 AM, the middle school girls' two mile at 10:45 AM, and the middle school boys' two mile at 11:15 AM.

Fort Braden Cross-Country Meet Champions, 2010 - 2015
22 September 201012:26, Sukhi Khosla (Raa)15:01, Rebecca Clendinen (Raa)
14 September 201112:16, Evan Francis (Raa)14:45, Zoe Sheldon (Swift Creek)
12 September 201212:40, Matthew Cashin (Raa)13:58, Audrey Dogan (Raa)
4 September 201312:15, Jacob Dodson (Raa)13:51, Saige Kemeny (Montford)
3 September 201413:00, Bryant McKnight (Montford)13:13, Lawton Campbell (Deerlake)
9 September 201513:08, Weston Blake (Swift Creek)13:26, Alyson Churchill (Swift Creek)

Fort Braden Cross-Country Meet Team Titles, 2010-2014
22 September 2010Raa (15 points)Raa (33 points)
14 September 2011Montford (55 points)Swift Creek (47 points)
12 September 2012Swift Creek (54 points)Montford (48 points)
4 September 2013Montford (38 points)Swift Creek (44 points)
3 September 2014Swift Creek (60 points)Swift Creek (36 points)
9 September 2015Deerlake (44 points)Swift Creek (38 points)


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