Saturday, January 9, 2016

Kaiser and Veltcheva breeze to victory at Bowlegs

In the three years before 2016, there were never more than one or two runners below 17:00 at Tallahassee, Florida's annual Bowlegs 5K Run For Scholarship. The races could hardly be considered close, either, with winning margins ranging from 200 to 400 meters. But the 32nd edition of the race on Saturday morning, 9 January 2016, broke that mold. Four runners ran sub-17:00 on the course through Innovation Park, and the first six runners finished within half a minute. Leading that procession of speed was Nate Kaiser, the race winner in 16:41. On the women's side Ani Veltcheva of Gainesville, Florida, was the overall winner, placing 20th overall in 19:00.

Nate Kaiser, Ani Veltcheva

If the competitiveness of the field was unprecedented, so was the weather. Most athletes remember conditions at the Bowlegs as being cold, cold and wet, or cold and windy. But it was mild, calm, and cloudy when the athletes assembled outside the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering for the start of the 2016 race. The runners on the starting line included Joseph Garcia, who had won the Tannenbaum 6K three weeks earlier, finishing five seconds ahead of Kaiser. Poncherella Leonard was also there, the Bainbridge High cross-country team's ace, as was 2011 Bowlegs champion Vince Molosky and 2015 Sickle Cell 5K winner Matt Nazareth.

At the turnaround on Dirac Drive, just short of the three-kilometer mark, Nate Kaiser was still buried in fourth place. Continuing to run patiently, he burst into the lead with 200 meters to go. Kaiser held onto that lead to win the race in 16:41. Poncherella Leonard was just six seconds behind him, the runner-up in 16:47. Matt Nazareth was third in 16:53, Vince Molosky took fourth in 16:57, and Joseph Garcia was fifth in 17:01. Bryan Koon, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, was the fastest master runner in the race, sixth overall in 17:10.

The women's competition had it's own drama. Three weeks earlier Ani Veltcheva had been in Tallahassee to visit her sister and took the opportunity to run in the Tannenbaum Trail 6K cross country race. Veltcheva had led the women through the first half of that race before being overtaken by Florida State University professor Katie Sherron. Sherron went on to win the Tannenbaum 6K women's title, while Veltcheva had finished third in the women's standings. The Bowlegs 5K started off similarly, with the Abraham Lincoln middle school cross country runner leading the economics professor. But after three kilometers Veltcheva was still ahead of Sherron. At four kilometers Veltcheva was still ahead. At five kilometers Veltcheva was at the finish line before Sherron, 19:00 to 19:08. Katie Sack edged Jillian Heddaeus 22:09 to 22:11 for the third woman's spot, the two runners placing 46th and 48th overall. Angela Dempsey was the top woman master and fifth female finisher, 53rd overall in 22:42.

201 athletes finished the 2016 Bowlegs 5K, the third largest field since the race was first run in 1985. Proceeds of the race benefit the scholarship fund of the Friends and Faculty Club of Florida State University. Chip timing of the race was provided by Gulf Winds Track Club of Tallahassee, Florida.

Top Ten Men, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2016 Bowlegs 5K Run For Scholarship
  1. 16:41 ~ Nate Kaiser (M, 36)
  2. 16:47 ~ Poncherella Leonard (M, 17)
  3. 16:53 ~ Matthew Nazareth (M, 19)
  4. 16:57 ~ Vince Molosky (M, 36)
  5. 17:01 ~ Joseph Garcia (M, 20)
  6. 17:10 ~ Bryan Koon (M, 44)
  7. 17:15 ~ Charlie Johnson (M, 36)
  8. 17:22 ~ Zach Deveau (M, 28)
  9. 17:25 ~ Peter Van Brussel (M, 22)
  10. 17:27 ~ Roger Schmidt (M, 24)

Top Ten Women, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2016 Bowlegs 5K Run For Scholarship
  1. 19:00 ~ Ani Veltcheva (F, 11)
  2. 19:08 ~ Katie Sherron (F, 34)
  3. 22:09 ~ Katie Sack (F, 24)
  4. 22:11 ~ Jillian Heddaeus (F, 32)
  5. 22:42 ~ Angela Dempsey (F, 47)
  6. 22:50 ~ Emma Spencer (F, 34)
  7. 22:54 ~ Laura Reina (F, 51)
  8. 23:03 ~ Tsige Tadesse (F, 43)
  9. 23:15 ~ Kory Skrob (F, 45)
  10. 23:31 ~ Katasha Cornwell (F, 38)

Bowlegs 5K Run For Scholarship winners, 1985 - 2016
16 February 198516:44, Scott Hinkle18:48, Darien Andreu153
15 February 198616:12, Rick Miller20:00, Janice Hochstein150
7 February 198715:54, Randy Jordan20:00, Sarah Patterson186
13 February 198816:05, Rick Miller20:02, Janice Hochstein220
4 February 198915:44, Rick Miller20:02, Barbara Balzer165
10 February 199017:28, Felton Wright19:30, Paula Johnson112
16 February 199116:15, Bill Crooks20:37, Tina Davies67
15 February 199215:51, Mike Macinko18:37, Paula Johnson81
20 February 199315:33, Gary Droze19:33, Carrie Hunnicutt143
19 February 199416:02, Phillip Healy22:18, Chateau Mangaroo83
18 February 199515:41, Reid Montini18:09, Jane Johnson158
17 February 199616:12, Tim Simpkins19:33, Janice Hochstein77
15 February 199715:45, Gary Droze18:20, Jane Johnson163
14 February 199816:23, Damian Wilson17:47, Sarah Docter-Williams104
13 February 199915:57, Robert Pautenius16:54, Breeda Dennehy-Willis77
12 February 200015:49, Aaron Scheer20:42, Laurel Slyck83
10 February 200116:48, Gary Droze18:18, Sarah Docter-Williams
9 February 200216:20, Thomas Kunish20:20, Allison Eagen77
8 February 200316:56, Paul Orfield21:15, Fran McLean76
21 February 200417:06, Adam David Churchill18:21, Breeda Dennehy-Willis82
15 January 200517:42, Art Remillard18:10, Sarah Docter-Williams72
14 January 200616:43, Shawn Patterson19:22, Stephanie Liles152
20 January 200717:37, Matt Mizereck19:02, Sheryl Rosen109
19 January 200816:32, Tripp Southerland21:39, Carly Thomas121
10 January 200917:59, Tim Unger20:09, Micah Adriani117
9 January 201017:21, Stephen Cox21:01, Lauren Switzer84
8 January 201116:38, Vince Molosky19:26, Sheryl Rosen204
7 January 201217:10, Stanley Linton19:27, Katie Showman166
5 January 201316:12, Stanley Linton20:19, Katie Showman110
18 January 201415:46, Stanley Linton19:18, Lisa Johnson168
10 January 201516:08, Stephen Cox18:35, Sheryl Rosen132
9 January 201616:41, Nate Kaiser19:00, Ani Veltcheva201
From 1985 to 1994 the Bowlegs 5K was run on the main campus of Florida State University,
starting and finishing near Tully Gym, on USATF certified course FL88014BH.

From 1995 to 2016 the Bowlegs 5K was run in Innovation Park, starting and finishing near
the College of Engineering on USATF certified course FL95008DL. The course was later
recertified with number FL12001EBM.


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