Saturday, October 17, 2015

Poncherella Leonard and Elizabeth Funderburk have wings at Yellow Jacket Invite

Elizabeth FunderburkEnduring sand, slopes, and stinging insects, more than 350 high school and middle school distance runners gathered at the Thomasville, Georgia, campus of Thomas County Middle School for the 23rd annual Yellow Jacket Cross Country Invitational, hosted by Thomas Country Central High School. Moultrie Colquitt County sophomore Elizabeth Funderburk won the high school girls' 5K race in 20:07, while Bainbridge junior Poncherella Leonard scored a come-from-behind victory in the boys race with a 15:47. Tallahassee Leon High took team titles in both the boys' and the girls' races.


In recent years the Yellow Jacket Invitational had found a home at Greenwood Plantation, a historic tract south of Thomasville that had hosted presidents and other dignitaries. But this year construction at the plantation had forced the meet to a new venue--the Thomas County Middle School campus, across US 319 from Thomas County Central High School. The grounds were expansive enough that the 5K races could be run as a single loop, some of it on woodland behind the school. It was a large enough forest to house wildlife, prompting the school to post "No Hunting" signs. Unfortunately, some of that wildlife included yellowjackets of the six-legged variety. The insects had been peaceful during workouts before the day of the Invitational. They had remained docile while people warmed up on the course the morning before the races. But during the first race of the morning, the high school girls' 5K, the yellowjackets became angry and attacked.


Olivia MillerWell, what did you expect from the Yellow Jacket Invitational? At least it wasn't the Bear Invitational.


The fastest survivor of the wasp attack was Colquitt County sophomore Elizabeth Funderburk. Funderburk started off with the leaders but soon pulled away, going on to win the race in 20:07. Chiles frosh Olivia Miller was second in 20:25, and Leon frosh Katherine Resavage was third in 20:53.


Chiles and Leon were visiting from over state line in Tallahassee, Florida, and the two teams ended up battling for the girls' team title. Miller of Chiles had finished ahead of Resavage, but Resavage was joined by Leon scorers and Chiles sophomore Anne Elise Desotell (5th, 21:14) edged Leon junior Zoe Sheldon (6th, 21:19). But Leon's next three scorers--senior Grace Lockhart (9th, 21:48), sophomore Anna Gill (14th, 22:24), and sophomore Rosie Marshall (18th, 22:41)--gave the Lions a team total of 44 points and first place in the field of thirteen teams. Chiles was a close second with 49 points. Lee County, led by junior Ansley Cain (16th, 22:33) was third with 92 points.


2015 Yellow Jacket XC Invitational Team Standings, High School Girls
  1. Leon, 44
  2. Chiles, 49
  3. Lee County, 92
  4. Thomas County Central, 136
  5. Bainbridge, 151
  6. Westover, 158
  7. Worth County, 195
  8. Colquitt County, 204
  9. Valdosta, 236
  10. Thomasville, 253
  11. Pelham, 261
  12. Lincoln, 318
  13. Cairo, 384

Top 15 High School Girls, 23rd annual Yellow Jacket XC Invitational
  1. 20:06.31 ~ Elizabeth Funderburk (Colquitt County) 10Katherine Resavage

  2. 20:24.55 ~ Olivia Miller (Chiles) 9
  3. 20:52.05 ~ Katherine Resavage (Leon) 9
  4. 21:13.06 ~ Cara Eaton (Thomas County Central) 10
  5. 21:13.45 ~ Anne Elise Desotell (Chiles) 10
  6. 21:18.57 ~ Zoe Sheldon (Leon) 11
  7. 21:19.70 ~ Alli Hay (Pataula Charter) 11
  8. 21:20.44 ~ Riley O'Linn (Valwood) 10
  9. 21:47.64 ~ Grace Lockhart (Leon) 12
  10. 21:51.66 ~ Madeline Mathis (Valdosta) 11
  11. 21:56.54 ~ Jamey Medders (Worth County) 11
  12. 22:00.61 ~ Uriyah Davis (Bainbridge) 10
  13. 22:23.36 ~ Carly Canavan (Chiles) 10
  14. 22:23.69 ~ Anna Gill (Leon) 10
  15. 22:24.34 ~ Alexis Hart (Chiles) 10

Poncherella LeonardBecause of the yellowjacket infestation, the course for the boys' 5K was hurriedly adjusted, making it closer to three miles than to five kilometers. At the halfway point of the somewhat abbreviated race, Valdosta junior Matthew Baun was leading, with Thomas Country Central senior Sam Gelabert close behind. Lee County senior Robert Grooms and Bainbridge junior Poncherella Leonard followed in third and fourth. Baun started to fade during the second half of the race, passed first by Gelabert and then by Leonard . With 800 meters to go, Gelabert led the field with Leonard six seconds back.


Half a kilometer out, Gelabert still had his six-second lead, but "Ponch" was making a move. This was the first season of cross country for the Bainbridge junior, but Leonard had 52.15 400 and 1:58.16 800 credentials from the track, and he displayed some of that speed on the way to the finish line. Leonard overtook Gelabert and then ran away from him, speeding to a 15:47 win. Gelabert was second in 15:58. Grooms held off a late charge from Leon senior Adam Wallenfelsz to take third, both runners clocked in 16:06.


A Leon Lion also grabbed fifth place, with sophomore Matt Cashin running 16:10. After Baun (6th, 16:12), two more Leon runners crossed the finish line--senior James Dodson (7th, 16:30) and junior Colter Foster--giving the Lions four runners in the top ten. Leon sophomore Jacob Dodson (12th, 17:02) finished the scoring for the Lions, giving the team 36 points and the top spot among fourteen teams. Bainbridge was second with 89 points. Third place came down to a tiebreaker. Led by sophomore Jimmy Bolen (13th, 17:06), Chiles had 118 points, but so did Valdosta. Chiles' sixth runner, senior Duncan Proctor (38th, 18:22), finished 53 seconds ahead of Valdosta's sixth runner, granting third place to Chiles.


2015 Yellow Jacket XC Invitational Team Standings, High School Boys
  1. Leon, 36
  2. Bainbridge, 89
  3. Chiles, 118
  4. Valdosta, 118
  5. Thomas County Central, 124
  6. Lee County, 142
  7. Worth County, 232
  8. Colquitt County, 232
  9. Americus-Sumter, 251
  10. Lincoln, 255
  11. Westover, 258
  12. Cairo, 297
  13. Thomasville, 352
  14. Pelham, 410

Top 15 High School Boys, 23rd annual Yellow Jacket XC Invitational
  1. 15:46.63 ~ Poncherella Leonard (Bainbridge) 11Sam Gelabert
  2. 15:57.11 ~ Sam Gelabert (Thomas County Central) 12
  3. 16:05.17 ~ Robert Grooms (Lee County) 12
  4. 16:05.47 ~ Adam Wallenfelsz (Leon) 12
  5. 16:09.53 ~ Matthew Cashin (Leon) 10
  6. 16:11.40 ~ Matthew Baun (Valdosta) 11
  7. 16:29.71 ~ James Dodson (Leon) 12
  8. 16:41.54 ~ Colter Foster (Leon) 11
  9. 16:42.01 ~ Jake Merritt (Colquitt County) 10
  10. 16:53.92 ~ Caleb Harris (Bainbridge) 9
  11. 16:58.17 ~ Donovan Duchene (Lincoln) 11
  12. 17:01.29 ~ Jacob Dodson (Leon) 10
  13. 17:05.89 ~ Jimmy Bolen (Chiles) 10
  14. 17:09.87 ~ Francisco Centeno (Valdosta) 11
  15. 17:10.66 ~ Salvado Alonzo (Cairo) 12

The meet concluded with the middle school race. Thomas County seventh-grader Anna James won the girls' competition, running the two-mile course in 14:51. Seventh-grader Meg Houston of Pataula Charter was second in 15:25, and Thomas County eighth-grader Megan Curry was third in 15:40. Thomas County also got scoring performances from eighth-graders Gabriella Hough (8th, 17:53), Emma Goff (9th, 18:00), and Lexie Knapp (27th, 22:43), yielding a team total of 37 points and first place. Led by eighth-grader Leslie Nuneez (5th, 16:23), Colquitt County was a close second with 40 points. MacIntyre Park was third with 50 points; their top scorer was eighth-grader Addie Rinehart (4th, 16:20).


2015 Yellow Jacket XC Invitational Team Standings, Middle School Girls
  1. Thomas County, 37
  2. Colquitt County, 40
  3. MacIntyre Park, 50

Top 15 Middle School Girls, 23rd annual Yellow Jacket XC Invitational
  1. 14:50.66 ~ Anna James (Thomas County) 7Anna James
  2. 15:24.03 ~ Meg Houston (Pataula Charter) 7
  3. 15:39.43 ~ Megan Curry (Thomas County) 8
  4. 16:19.26 ~ Addie Rinehart (MacIntyre Park) 8
  5. 16:22.61 ~ Leslie Nuneez (Colquitt County) 8
  6. 16:25.04 ~ Angel Lowe (MacIntyre Park) 8
  7. 17:15.73 ~ Daliza Gachuz (Colquitt County) 8
  8. 17:52.90 ~ Gabriella Hough (Thomas County) 8
  9. 17:59.69 ~ Emma Goff (Thomas County) 8
  10. 18:05.12 ~ Callie Lauder (Whigham) 8
  11. 18:08.77 ~ Emily Everson (Pataula Charter) 7
  12. 18:19.42 ~ Rebecca Jenkins (Colquitt County) 7
  13. 18:21.50 ~ Lizette Nunez (Colquitt County) 6
  14. 18:24.48 ~ Kathrine Brooke Wrigh (Colquitt County) 6
  15. 18:28.42 ~ Madison Gonzales (Colquitt County) 7

Americus-Sumter eighth-grader Jesus Rivera led the middle school boys, winning the two-mile race in 13:06. MacIntyre Park seventh-grader Baylen Young was second in 13:34, followed by two more MacIntyre Park runners--seventh-grader Lawson Brinkley (3rd, 14:00) and eighth-grader Nicholas Peralta. Seventh-grader Christian Sadler (15th, 15:05)and eighth-grader Sam Bruhn (21st, 15:30) completed MacIntyre Park's team total of 34 points, good for first place. Led by eighth-grader Zach Goff (6th, 14:06), Thomas County was second with 39 points. Colquitt County was third with 80 points behind their top scorer, sixth-grader Case Gregory (7th, 14:18).


2015 Yellow Jacket XC Invitational Team Standings, Middle School Boys
  1. MacIntyre Park, 34
  2. Thomas County, 39
  3. Colquitt County, 80
  4. Whigham, 86

Top 15 Middle School Boys, 23rd annual Yellow Jacket XC Invitational
  1. 13:05.67 ~ Jesus Rivera (Americus-Sumter) 8Jesus Rivera
  2. 13:33.29 ~ Baylen Young (MacIntyre Park) 7
  3. 13:59.14 ~ Lawson Brinkley (MacIntyre Park) 7
  4. 14:03.44 ~ Nicholas Peralta (MacIntyre Park) 8
  5. 14:04.60 ~ Cameron Cooper (Whigham) 8
  6. 14:05.47 ~ Zach Goff (Thomas County) 8
  7. 14:17.12 ~ Case Gregory (Colquitt County) 6
  8. 14:30.21 ~ Cameron Wilbourn (Thomas County) 6
  9. 14:44.30 ~ Keith Spencer (Thomas County) 7
  10. 14:44.94 ~ Aidan Gourley (Worth County) 6
  11. 14:49.42 ~ Josh Hunt (Worth County) 5
  12. 15:00.60 ~ JP Mitchell (Thomas County) 8
  13. 15:01.33 ~ Bani Braswell (Thomas County) 6
  14. 15:01.83 ~ Hurston Waldrep (Whigham) 8
  15. 15:04.48 ~ Christian Sadler (MacIntyre Park) 7



Thomas County Central Yellow Jacket Invitational Cross-Country Meet
Team Champs, 2008 - 2015
DateBoysGirls
18 October 2008Tift County, 32 pointsValdosta, 30 points
17 October 2009
16 October 2010
15 October 2011
20 October 2012
19 October 2013Maclay, 41Maclay, 30
25 October 2014Thomas County Central, 74Berrien County, 47
17 October 2015Leon, 36Leon, 44


Thomas County Central Yellow Jacket Invitational Cross-Country Meet
Individual Winners, 2008 - 2015
DateBoysGirls
18 October 200816:59, Hunter Honeycutt (Tift County) 21:12, JaCourtney Alexander (Cairo)
17 October 2009
16 October 2010
15 October 2011
20 October 2012
19 October 201316:13, Chase Harris (Bainbridge) 1119:44, Paige Braswell (Bainbridge) 12
25 October 201416:25, Wil Luca (Leon) 1220:58, Rebekah Smith (Thomasville) 11
17 October 201515:47, Poncherella Leonard (Bainbridge) 1120:07, Elizabeth Funderburk (Colquitt County) 11


Links
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