Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Garcia and Sherron take the Tannenbaum

The Tannenbaum Trail 6K on Saturday morning, 19 December 2015, wasn't Joseph Garcia's first race on the Apalachee Regional Park Cross Country Course this fall. It was not only his third race of the season on the course, but the third different distance. In October the Florida A & M University student had run the men's 8K at the FSU Invitational, placing 24th. In November he had run the Trash Dash 5K, placing second. But in December, Garcia won Gulf Winds Track Club's fifth annual Tannenbaum Trail 6K, finishing first in a field of 192 athletes with a 20:36. If the median distance was good for Garcia, it was also good for FSU economics professor Katie Sherron. Sherron won the women's title in 23:30, placing 16th overall.

Joseph Garcia
For those unfamiliar with the six kilometer distance, it's fifteen times around your local high school track, or a little bit longer than 3.7 miles. It's not an unusual distance in cross country running; the NCAA women's championship is contested at six kilometers, as is the junior women's race at the World Cross Country Championships. Six kilometers is slightly longer than the typical 5K road race, but the extra kilometer wasn't enough to scare off nearly 200 runners who showed up to test themselves over the distance on the Apalachee Regional Park course.


The sun had just cleared the morning frost from the grass when the race started at 9:00 AM. Joseph Garcia bolted out into the lead. Shortly after the two kilometer mark, Garcia was challenged by Vince Molosky.

Vince Molosky
"He caught up to me before the hill," recalled Garcia. "But I accelerated up the hill and he didn't follow."


The hill in question, the Wall, marked the end of the first of two laps around the course. During the second lap Nate Kaiser overtook Molosky, then started to eat into Garcia's lead. Kaiser was never able to close, though, and Garcia raced home first in 20:36. Kaiser was second in 20:41, and Molosky third in 20:53. Poncherella Leonard, the ace of Bainbridge High's cross country team, was fourth in 21:07. Six kilometers was the longest race ever for Leonard, an 800-meter specialist on the track. Roger Schmidt of Capital City Runners was fifth in 21:35.

Nate Kaiser, Poncherella Leonard
Competing for the master runner title, Michael Martinez and Jay Wallace ran just a few steps apart for the first five kilometers of the race. During the final kilometer Martinez pulled away to take the top master spot in 22:22, placing eleventh overall. Wallace was the second master runner in the race, thirteenth overall in 22:34.


Katie Sherron had won the women's title at the first Tannenbaum Trail 6K in 2011. After missing the next three races, she was back in 2015. The early leader in the women's competition, though, was a sixth-grader on the cross country team at Abraham Lincoln Middle School in Gainesville, Florida. A group of three woman pursued Veltcheva during the first half of the race--Sherron, Swift Creek Middle School cross country runner Alyson Churchill, and Maclay School harrier Caroline Willis. Early in the second half Sherron and Willis passed Veltcheva and began their own battle for the lead.

Katie Sherron
"Ani was blazing; I didn't realize who she was until after the race," recalled Sherron. "I was trying to keep up with Caroline. I knew I couldn't outkick her, so I tried to make a move at two miles and it worked out well."


It did indeed. At the five kilometer mark Sherron was sixteen seconds ahead of Willis and moving away. One kilometer later Sherron had her second Tannenbaum Trail women's title. Willis was second in the women's standings, placing nineteenth overall in 23:49. Veltcheva took third on the women's side, 25th overall in 24:22. Alyson Churchill was the fourth female finisher, 34th overall in 25:28. Angela Dempsey was the first woman master and eighth female finisher, 53rd overall in 28:16.

Caroline Willlis

Top Ten Men, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2015 Tannenbaum Trail 6K
  1. 20:36 ~ Joseph Garcia (M, 20)Roger Schmidt
  2. 20:41 ~ Nate Kaiser (M, 36)
  3. 20:53 ~ Vince Molosky (M, 36)
  4. 21:07 ~ Poncherella Leonard (M, 16)
  5. 21:35 ~ Roger Schmidt (M, 24)
  6. 21:40 ~ Thomas Howell (M, 19)
  7. 21:45 ~ Zach Deveau (M, 28)
  8. 21:47 ~ Peter Van Brussel (M, 22)
  9. 22:14 ~ Joshua Liles (M, 16)
  10. 22:20 ~ Grady Smith (M, 38)

Top Ten Women, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2015 Tannenbaum Trail 6K
  1. 23:30 ~ Katie Sherron (F, 34)Ani Veltcheva
  2. 23:49 ~ Caroline Willis (F, 16)
  3. 24:22 ~ Ani Veltcheva (F, 11)
  4. 25:28 ~ Alyson Churchill (F, 13)
  5. 26:20 ~ Jillian Heddaeus (F, 32)
  6. 26:53 ~ Caitlin Wilkey (F, 13)
  7. 27:06 ~ Chelsee Cook (F, 25)
  8. 28:16 ~ Angela Dempsey (F, 47)
  9. 28:40 ~ Megan Churchill (F, 13)
  10. 28:48 ~ Laura Reina (F, 51)

Tannenbaum Trail 6K Champions, 2011 - 2015
DateMenWomenFinishers
17 December 201119:49, Chris Lake25:33, Katie Showman173
15 December 201219:35, Kevin Sullivan21:56, Stefanie Slekis182
21 December 201320:51, Bryan Koon22:30, Jodie McGuff76
20 December 201420:17, Kyle Harris25:21, Jillian Heddaeus149
19 December 201520:36, Joseph Garcia23:30, Katie Sherron192


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