Monday, August 7, 2017

Slyter and Sack star in the last act of the Sizzler

2017 Saint George Island Sizzler logoOn Saturday, 21 June 1997, 34 athletes finished a five-kilometer race on Saint George Island, a barrier island off the coast of the Northwest Florida panhandle. Billed as the Summer Island 5K, the event later became knows as the first annual Sizzler 5K. Back at the island on Saturday evening, 5 August 2017, another group of 148 athletes finished the twentieth Sizzler 5K. Ryan Slyter won the race in 17:46, finishing almost 300 meters ahead of the next runner. Kat Sack won the women's division, placing eighth overall in 20:21. And when the 148th athlete had crossed the finish line, that was the end of Sizzler 5K history. It was the last annual Saint George Island Sizzler.

It was the third time that Slyter, a Franklin County forester, had raced the Sizzler. He had finished placed eighth in the 2015 race, running 19:08. He improved that mark to 17:14 in 2016, finishing fifth in the fastest Sizzler in the event's history--a race where Mark Leininger and Stan Linton had taken the top two spots in 15:10 and 15:20. Slyter's 2017 performance of 17:46 wasn't his best at the Sizzler, but it was fast enough to get him the win--the last time that anyone would win the Sizzler.

Shawn Logan, a top-ten finisher in the 2014 Sizzler, was runner-up in the final Sizzler, going 18:48. William Bridges was third in 19:13 and Simon Hodgson, a senior on the Franklin County High cross-country team, took fourth in 19:41. Duane Evans of Crawfordville, Florida was the fastest master runner in the race, placing sixth overall in 20:01.

Tallahassee, Florida athlete Kat Sack had already raced the morning before the Sizzler, competing in the Bushwacker 5K in Pensacola Beach, Florida. The 19:37 she posted in that race was her best road 5K ever, so most people would have considered their racing for the day over after that. Instead, Sack traveled nearly 200 miles east to be at Saint George Island for the Sizzler 5K. Third in the women's standings at the Bushwacker, Sack was the women's champ at the Sizzler in 20:21.

At 23:01 Eden Keene was second woman and eighteenth overall. In a finish line battle for top woman master honors, Tallahassee's Paula O'Neill inched past Carolyn Houston of Dothan, both runners clocked in 24:36. O'Neill and Houston were third and fourth in the women's standings and 24th and 25th overall. Franklin County High senior-year cross-country runner Genevieve Printiss was the fifth woman and 29th overall in 25:05.

From its beginnings in 1997 to the last race in 2017, the Sizzler was directed by Eastpoint, Florida veterinarian Hobson Fulmer and billed as a Tates Hell Track Club event. Tallahassee's Gulf Winds Track Club chip-timed the 2017 Sizzler 5K.

Top Ten Men, 2017 St. George Island Sizzler 5K
  1. 17:46, Ryan Slyter (M, 27)
  2. 18:48, Shawn Logan (M, 21)
  3. 19:13, William Bridges (M, 24)
  4. 19:41, Simon Hodgson (M, 18)
  5. 19:56, Kyle Simon (M, 28)
  6. 20:01, Duane Evans (M, 50)
  7. 20:13, Philip Sura (M, 47)
  8. 20:48, Tad David (M, 48)
  9. 21:11, Austin Campbell (M, 26)
  10. 21:12, Garth Eklund (M, 16)

Top Ten Women, 2017 St. George Island Sizzler 5K
  1. 20:21, Kat Sack (F, 25)
  2. 23:01, Eden Keene (F, 35)
  3. 24:36, Paula O'Neill (F, 56)
  4. 24:36, Carolyn Houston (F, 45)
  5. 25:05, Genevieve Printiss (F, 16)
  6. 25:17, Julia Sura (F, 46)
  7. 25:28, Heather McQueen (F, 29)
  8. 25:51, Autumn Kotelman (F, 14)
  9. 26:16, Shelby Varner (F, 23)
  10. 26:41, Belinda Wharton (F, 56)

St. George Island Sizzler 5K Champions, 1997 - 2017
21 June 199717:36, Tim Unger21:40, Julie Clark34
13 June 199816:09, Gary Droze22:53, Donna Finney69
12 June 199917:05, Tim Unger19:24, Summer Calder61
10 June 200016:07, Gary Droze21:18, Julie Clark34
2001No race held
15 June 200215:46, Lee Willis18:43, Luanne Coulter53
21 June 200316:44, Caleb Carmichael20:45, Jane Johnson95
12 June 200416:42, Caleb Carmichael19:48, Kara Newell77
18 June 200516:02, Alex Miletich20:53, Angela Dempsey142
24 June 200617:24, Robert Beazley18:39, Kara Newell169
23 June 200717:02, Jasen Fulghum20:41, Jane Johnson106
28 June 200816:44, Tripp Southerland19:11, Stephanie Liles175
27 June 200916:53, John Robida19:47, Kelsey Scheitlin214
26 June 201019:06, Carl Nordhielm22:06, Nancy Stedman147
25 June 201117:06, Brandon Hough22:44, Nicole Reichenbach218
11 August 201216:25, Vince Molosky21:58, Polina Bondarenko280
10 August 201316:16, Caleb Carmichael20:28, Renee Cox318
9 August 201418:02, Carl Nordhielm20:25, Polina Bondarenko222
8 August 201517:05, Roger Schmidt18:53, Katie Fackler181
6 August 201615:10, Mark Leininger16:59, Dylan Hassett145
5 August 201717:46, Ryan Slyter20:21, Kat Sack148
The 1997 race was called the Summer Island 5K.