Saturday, October 10, 2015

Emily Molen and Nile Bryant grab 2015 LCS Cross Country titles

Emily Molen, Alyson ChurchillThe finale of Leon County Schools' middle school cross country season arrived on Wednesday, 7 October 2015, with the league Championship at the Apalachee Regional Park Cross Country Course. Deerlake eighth-grader Emily Molen won the girls' two-mile race in 12:08, but it was the Swift Creek girls who took the team title. Raa eighth-grader Nile Bryant posted a winning 11:34 in the boys' two-mile, while top team honors went to Montford.


Competition opened at 6:00 PM with the girls' race. In four previous meetings during the season, Swift Creek eighth-grader Alyson Churchill had won the first two, but Deerlake's Emily Molen had won the more recent pair of races. Right after the start Molen was out front setting the pace, but after half a mile Churchill was only a step or two behind.


Alyson Churchill"I knew she was going to really push it today," said Molen. "So I was going to push it, too."


Through a mile and more of the two-mile race, Churchill ran in Molen's shadow. The two were still only a couple of seconds apart with three-quarters of a mile to go when they crossed the shell bridge, the lowest spot on the course. After that, though, as the course began to climb, Molen began to pull away. The gap was six seconds 700 yards from the finish where the runner reached the top of the Wall, the steepest slope on the course. Molen broke contact after that, crossing the finish line first in 12:08. Churchill was second in 12:29.


"It was tough," said Molen.


Megan ChurchillWhile Emily Molen and Alyson Churchill dueled for first, Swift Creek eighth-grader Megan Churchill had been running in third place, where she finished in 12:35. Meanwhile, Swift Creek eighth-grader Chase Merrick overtook Montford eighth-grader Caitlyn Wilkey to move into fourth, holding that place with a 12:39. Deerlake had Molen in first place plus two more top ten finishers in eighth-grader Gabrielle O'Sullivan (6th, 13:06) and Lauren Cook (7th, 13:50). But Swift Creek's next two scorers--eighth-graders Rylee French (11th, 14:11) and Chloe Molinaro (15th, 14:21) gave the Wolves 35 points and the team win. With that victory, the Swift Creek girls ended the Leon County Schools season with a perfect record of five wins with no losses. Going back to 2012, Swift Creek has won 13 out of their last 14 cross country meets in the league.


The Deerlake girls were second with 44 points. Led by Caitlyn Wilkey (5th, 12:47), Montford placed third with 58 points.


Team Standings, Girls2015 Swift Creek girls' cross country team
  1. Swift Creek, 35
  2. Deerlake, 44
  3. Montford, 58
  4. Raa, 108
  5. Fairview, 122
  6. Cobb, 149
    Woodville, NTS
    Fort Braden, NTS

Top 15 Girls
  1. 12:07.33 ~ Emily Molen (Deerlake) 8Top ten girls
  2. 12:28.21 ~ Alyson Churchill (Swift Creek) 8
  3. 12:34.81 ~ Megan Churchill (Swift Creek) 8
  4. 12:38.33 ~ Chase Merrick (Swift Creek) 8
  5. 12:46.12 ~ Caitlin Wilkey (Montford) 8
  6. 13:05.13 ~ Gabrielle O'Sullivan (Deerlake) 8
  7. 13:49.36 ~ Lauren Cook (Deerlake) 7
  8. 13:52.60 ~ Grace Overholt (Fairview) 8
  9. 14:01.78 ~ Allison Burton (Montford) 7
  10. 14:02.32 ~ Caroline Cummings (Montford) 6
  11. 14:10.36 ~ Rylee French (Swift Creek) 8
  12. 14:14.35 ~ Lilli Unger (Raa) 7
  13. 14:17.31 ~ Scout Causey (Deerlake) 6
  14. 14:20.00 ~ Lindsey Scaringe (Montford) 8
  15. 14:20.18 ~ Chloe Molinaro (Swift Creek) 8

Nile BryantThe 2015 schedule had been designed with meets at Apalachee Regional Park as "bookends" for the season--the Swift Creek Invitational on 2 September 2015 and the Leon County Schools Championship on 1 October 2015 opened and closed competition. Athletes could use that pair of races to see how their performance had improved over the course of the season. This worked out well for the girls. you could study the results and see that Emily Molen dropped half a minute from her time between the first meet and the fifth, going from 12:38 to 12:08. However, the boys could make no such comparison. Their race at the Swift Creek Invitational had been scrubbed because of a lightning warning.


Raa eighth-grader Nile Bryant didn't run as if he was concerned with that lack of racing experience on the course. Besides, he had seen the course before.


"Last year," said Bryant.


Weston BlakeThis year Bryant ran as if the course belonged to him. At the quarter mile he was still among a crowd of challengers, but by the half-mile mark Bryant had a few steps on the field. Spencer Amsellem of Deerlake, winner of the Everhart Invitational, followed in second. Trailing Amsellem was Swift Creek seventh grader Weston Blake, the champ at both the Fort Braden Run and the Mustang Stampede. Halfway through the race those were still the top three runners, but with one difference. Instead of a few steps ahead, Bryant was way ahead.


But Bryant had enjoyed a big lead a week earlier at the Mustang Stampede, a race where Weston Blake had run him down just before the finish to get the win. During the second half of the Championship race, Blake overtook Amsellem then started to narrow the gap on Bryant.


This time, though, Blake couldn't catch the runner from Raa. Unchallenged, Bryant ran home in 11:34, the 2015 Leon County Schools boys' cross country champion. Blake was runner-up in 11:41, and Deerlake sixth-grader Levi Streeval placed third in 11:47.


Levi StrevalSixth-grader Trey Daniels ran 11:53, taking fourth for Montford. Deerlake answered with a 12:02 fifth-place performance by Spencer Amsellem, giving his school two runners in the top ten. But Montford eighth-graders Hawthorne Hay (7th, 12:10) and Bryson Cooksey (9th, 12:20) made it three in the top ten for the Mustangs. Swift Creek also had three in the top ten--Weston Blake, sixth-grader Kyle Spratt (6th, 12:05), and eighth-grader Sean Yearwood (8th, 12:14). The Swift Creek boys were looking to move up after a season of finishing third, while Deerlake collected two wins and Montford one.


The Montford boys had their own ambitions, though. Eighth-graders Findley Tucker (14th, 12:29) and Sam Hartmann (16th, 12:33) finished the scoring for the Mustangs, and Montford had 50 points and the team title, the third for the school in the last four years. Swift Creek edged Deerlake for second, 58 to 60.


Team Standings, Boys2015 Montford boys cross country team
  1. Montford, 50
  2. Swift Creek, 58
  3. Deerlake, 60
  4. Raa, 84
  5. Cobb, 120
  6. Fairview, 160
  7. Fort Braden, 203
    Nims, NTS
    Woodville, NTS

Top 15 Boys
  1. 11:33.62 ~ Nile Bryant (Raa) 8Top Ten Boys
  2. 11:40.28 ~ Weston Blake (Swift Creek) 7
  3. 11:46.86 ~ Levi Streeval (Deerlake) 6
  4. 11:52.37 ~ Trey Daniels (Montford) 6
  5. 12:01.67 ~ Spencer Amsellem (Deerlake) 8
  6. 12:04.51 ~ Kyle Spratt (Swift Creek) 6
  7. 12:09.66 ~ Hawthorne Hay (Montford) 8
  8. 12:13.67 ~ Sean Yearwood (Swift Creek) 8
  9. 12:19.33 ~ Bryson Cooksey (Montford) 8
  10. 12:19.69 ~ Carlos Urrutia (Raa) 8
  11. 12:25.85 ~ Michael Sweeney (Deerlake) 7
  12. 12:27.04 ~ Nicholas Samuel (Fairview) 7
  13. 12:28.47 ~ Steven Johnson (Raa) 8
  14. 12:28.66 ~ Findley Tucker (Montford) 8
  15. 12:31.22 ~ Campbell Hart (Cobb) 7

2015 Leon County Schools
Middle School Cross-Country Season Summary
Girls
MeetTeam ChampIndividual Champ
Swift Creek (Story)
2 Sep 2015
Swift Creek, 2612:35, Alyson Churchill (Swift Creek) 8
Fort Braden (Story)
9 Sep 2015
Swift Creek, 3813:26, Alyson Churchill (Swift Creek) 8
Everhart (Story)
17 Sep 2015
Swift Creek, 3312:16, Emily Molen (Deerlake) 8
Montford (Story)
30 Sep 2015
Swift Creek, 4312:25, Emily Molen (Deerlake) 8
Championship (Story)
1 Oct 2015
Swift Creek, 3512:08, Emily Molen (Deerlake) 8
Boys
MeetTeam ChampIndividual Champ
Fort Braden (Story)
9 Sep 2015
Deerlake, 4413:08, Weston Blake (Swift Creek) 7
Everhart (Story)
17 Sep 2015
Montford, 4912:17, Spencer Amsellem (Deerlake) 8
Montford (Story)
30 Sep 2015
Deerlake, 4311:56, Weston Blake (Swift Creek) 7
Championship (Story)
1 Oct 2015
Montford, 5011:34, Nile Bryant (Raa) 8
The boys' race at the 2 September 2015 Swift Creek Invitational was canceled
because of weather.


Leon County Schools Middle School Cross-Country Championships
Apalachee Regional Park, 2010 - 2015
Girls
DateTeam ChampIndividual Champ
6 Oct 2010Raa, 3213:34, Rebecca Clendinen (Raa) 8
28 Sep 2011Swift Creek, 3113:24, Zoe Sheldon (Swift Creek) 7
26 Sep 2012Swift Creek, 3612:49, Audrey Dogan (Raa) 8
2 Oct 2013Swift Creek, 4313:00, Ana Wallace (Deerlake) 8
1 Oct 2014Deerlake, 3612:12, Lawton Campbell (Deerlake) 8
7 Oct 2015Swift Creek, 3512:08, Emily Molen (Deerlake) 8
Boys
DateTeam ChampIndividual Champ
6 Oct 2010Raa, 2411:35, Wil Luca (Raa) 8
28 Sep 2011Raa, 5811:42, Evan Francis (Raa) 8
26 Sep 2012Montford, 5611:49, Matthew Cashin (Raa) 8
2 Oct 2013Montford, 3711:19, Jacob Dodson (Raa) 8
1 Oct 2014Fairview, 4411:59, Tavaris King (Griffin) 8
7 Oct 2015Montford, 5011:34, Nile Bryant (Raa) 8
Note: LCS held middle-school cross-country championships before 2010.
This table summarizes the history of the championship at ARPXC.


The Championship concluded the Leon County Schools' 2015 middle school cross country season, but that doesn't mean that the athletes are done with running.


"I'm planning on going to State in cross country," said Molen. "Then I'm going to take a break before getting ready for track."


And there's always the 2016 cross country season to look forward to.


Links
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