Sunday, September 25, 2016

At Silver Lake the final laps are victory laps for Mazziotta and Martin

Gulf Winds Track Club staged the 41st annual Salute to Prefontaine 5K near Silver Lake, west of Tallahassee, Florida, on Saturday morning, 24 September 2016. During the four decades of history of the event, the Prefontaine Classic high school meet has been a sometimes feature of the program. Among the years that the high school ran at Silver Lake were 2004 to 2007 and 2014 to 2016. Whatever the future of the Prefontaine Classic, high school graduation would ensure that 2016 was the last time that seniors Jake Mazziotta and Haleigh Martin would run at the meet. They each made that final act count, though. Maclay's Mazziotta won the boys' 5K race in 17:54, while Martin went 20:58 to win the girls' 5K.

Jake Mazziotta
Jake Mazziotta

The boys ran first, starting just after 9:30 AM. The course was twice around a circuit of the Silver Lake Recreation Area, a tour that included sand, hills, narrow paths, and views of trees downed by Hurricane Hermine earlier in the month. It wasn't a fast course by any means, but Maclay's Jake Mazziotta appreciated the ruggedness.

"I like the fact that you don't have to worry about time, that it's purely about the competition," said Mazziotta. "It was definitely harder this year."

Gatlin Nennstiel
Gatlin Nennstiel

Mazziotta helped to make it harder for his competition, setting the pace for the field during the first lap around the course. Gatlin Nennstiel of Aucilla Christian and Maclay's Clay Milford followed him closely on the first lap, but not so closely on the second. Mazziotta opened up a gap during the second time around, going on to win by over 80 meters in 17:54. Nennstiel was second in 18:13, and Milford held off Wakulla's Bryce Cole to take third, 18:19 to 18:21.

Cole was just the first of a wave of Wakulla runners, though. The boys from Wakulla County also took the next three places, with Scott Lloyd fifth in 18:40, Caleb Wiedeman sixth in 18:57, and Dylan Peebles seventh in 18:57. Maclay's Gannon Hundley placed eighth in 19:02, but then Dalten Park (9th, 19:06) finished the scoring for Wakulla. Wakulla also took the next two places--Dalton Gray was tenth in 19:08 and Alex Smythe eleventh in 19:08--putting both its pushers ahead of Maclay's fourth runner. The result was the Wakulla was first with 31 points, and Maclay second with 37. Aucilla Christian was third with 77 points.

Clay Milford
Clay Milford

2016 Prefontaine Classic Team Standings, Boys
  1. Wakulla, 31
  2. Maclay, 37
  3. Aucilla Christian, 77
  4. John Paul II Catholic, 107

Top 15 Boys, 2016 Prefontaine Classic
  1. 17:54 ~ Jake Mazziotta (Maclay)
  2. 18:13 ~ Gatlin Nennstiel (Aucilla Christian)
  3. 18:19 ~ Clayburn Milford (Maclay)
  4. 18:21 ~ Bryce Cole (Wakulla)
  5. 18:40 ~ Scott Lloyd (Wakulla)
  6. 18:57 ~ Caleb Wiedeman (Wakulla)
  7. 18:57 ~ Dylan Peebles (Wakulla)
  8. 19:02 ~ Gannon Hundley (Maclay)
  9. 19:06 ~ Dalten Parker (Wakulla)
  10. 19:08 ~ Dalton Gray (Wakulla)
  11. 19:08 ~ Alex Smythe (Wakulla)
  12. 19:09 ~ Chris Porter (Wakulla)
  13. 19:10 ~ Simon Hodgson (Franklin County)
  14. 19:13 ~ Jay Brown (Maclay)
  15. 19:49 ~ Marcus Bryant (Godby)

Mazziotta wasn't quite clear on how many years he had raced at Silver Lake. "I think this is my third or fourth time."

Haleigh Martin was similarly unsure. "Three, I think."

Haleigh Martin
Haleigh Martin

Three was the correct number. Martin had won her first Prefontaine Classic in 2014, with Maclay's Caroline Willis taking second. In 2015 Willis had taken first with Martin relegated to runner-up. In 2016 the two seniors were back at Silver Lake for a final showdown at the Prefontaine Classic.

Martin grabbed the lead on the first loop. Willis was close through the first mile, but Martin widened the margin on the second time around. Martin was more than 70 meters ahead when she crossed the finish line first in 20:58. Willis was second in 21:17.

Caroline Willis
Caroline Willis

"That was definitely not really fun," said Martin. "The hill at the Cougar Challenge was worse but the sand out there today was tiring. I stumbled a couple of times."

After Willis, two more Maclay Marauders took the next two places, with Molly McCann third in 21:30 and Lindsay James fourth in 22:23. the Maclay girls wrapped up their scoring with Rachel Rumana placing eighth in 24:05 and Kenzie Mazziotta ninth in 24:20. After that the Marauders had a mathematically unbeatable total of 26 points and the 2016 Prefontaine Classic title. Two points separated the next three teams, with Aucilla Christian second with 77 points, Wakulla third with 78, and John Paul II Catholic fourth with 79.

Molly McCann
Molly McCann

2016 Prefontaine Classic Team Standings, Girls
  1. Maclay, 26
  2. Aucilla Christian, 77
  3. Wakulla, 78
  4. John Paul II Catholic, 79
  5. Franklin County, 121

Top 15 Girls, 2016 Prefontaine Classic
  1. 20:58 ~ Haleigh Martin (Wakulla)
  2. 21:17 ~ Caroline Willis (Maclay)
  3. 21:30 ~ Molly McCann (Maclay)
  4. 22:23 ~ Lindsay James (Maclay)
  5. 23:32 ~ Genevieve Printiss (Franklin County)
  6. 23:43 ~ Julia Rose Travis (John Paul II Catholic)
  7. 24:02 ~ Alyssa Langston (Wakulla)
  8. 24:05 ~ Rachel Rumana (Maclay)
  9. 24:20 ~ Kenzie Mazziotta (Maclay)
  10. 24:32 ~ Sofia St Julien (Godby)
  11. 24:32 ~ Ella Porche (Maclay)
  12. 24:34 ~ Sofia Paredes (Maclay)
  13. 24:39 ~ Emma Travis (John Paul II Catholic)
  14. 24:48 ~ Natalie Vasquez (Aucilla Christian)
  15. 25:24 ~ Olivia Wulton (Aucilla Christian)

Some past champions of the Prefontaine Classic

High School Boys' 5K
DateTeam ChampIndividual Champ
25 September 2004Maclay, 55 points19:48, Grant Stauffer (Brookwood)
24 September 2005Trinity Prep, 2717:31, Whitney Stickland (North Florida Christian)
23 September 2006Lincoln, 5416:46, Joseph Franklin (Godby)
29 September 2007Maclay, 1917:38, Conor Sweeney (Maclay)
27 September 2014Maclay, 2518:25, Clay Milford (Maclay) 8
26 September 2015Maclay, 3217:39, Clay Milford (Maclay) 9
24 September 2016Wakulla, 3117:54, Jake Mazziotta (Maclay) 12
High School Girls' 5K
DateTeam ChampIndividual Champ
25 September 2004Maclay, 24 points22:47, Katy Swain (Maclay)
24 September 2005Maclay, 1519:58, Adriana Piekarewicz (Maclay)
23 September 2006Maclay, 2020:27, Alicia Fenley (Maclay)
29 September 2007Lincoln, 3520:21, Laura Hempel (Rickards)
27 September 2014Maclay, 2121:19, Haleigh Martin (Wakulla) 10
26 September 2015Maclay, 3820:48, Caroline Willis (Maclay) 11
24 September 2016Maclay, 2620:58, Haleigh Martin (Wakulla) 12