Thursday, September 28, 2017

Ella Porcher, Leo Kelly, and Holy Comforter star at the Crusader Classic

Tallahassee, Florida's Holy Comforter Episcopal School has a habit of sweeping the team titles at its cross-country home opener, the Crusader Classic, held each year on Lawson's Course behind the school. In fact, Holy Comforter teams have won both the girls' 3K and the boys' 3K at the Classic each year since 2014. They made it four in a row on Tuesday, 26 September 2017, when the Holy Comforter girls' scored 33 points for another Crusader Classic win, while the Holy Comforter boys picked up their own win with 31 points. Ella Porcher, a Maclay seventh-grader, won the middle school girls' 3K in 12:16. Holy Comforter eighth-grader Leo Kelly went 11:03 to win the middle school boys' 3K.

Ella Porcher, Sofia Paredes
Ella Porcher and Sofia Paredes

After an elementary school mile, middle school competition got under way with the girls' 3K. When the dust had settled from the chaos of the start of the race, Maclay seventh-graders Ella Porcher and Sofia Paredes were in the lead. They were there to stay. 600 meters into the race the pair were already more than 100 meters ahead of the field. That margin only grew wider as the race progressed. The two ran together until the final straightaway, when Porcher outsprinted Paredes to the finish line, 12:16 to 12:20. It was only the first race of the week for Porcher and Paredes, who will be back in competition on Saturday at the Alligator Lake Invitational.

"That's Lake City," said Porcher. "It's a [high school] varsity girls race, a 5K"

"I kind of like 5K better," said Paredes. "You've got time to pace yourself and move up."

Mary Clayton Soto
Mary Clayton Soto

Holy Comforter sixth-grader Mary Clayton Soto took third in 13:04. Maclay eighth-grader Madeline Lillie edged Holy Comforter eighth-grader Kate Smith for fourth, 13:27 to 13:28, but Holy Comforter's remaining three scorers all finished in the top ten, ahead of Maclay's fourth runner. Eighth-grader Sophia Umana (7th, 13:53), seventh-grader Camille Resavage (8th, 13:53), and eighth-grader Imani Walker (10th, 14:28) completed the Crusader total of 33 points, giving Holy Comforter first place out of seven teams. It was the sixth straight year that the Holy Comforter girls had won the Crusader Classic. Maclay was second with 101 points. Trinity Catholic took third with 101 points, led by seventh-grader Lily Moore, who placed sixth in 13:32.

2017 Crusader Classic Team Standings (Girls)
  1. Holy Comforter, 33
  2. Maclay, 40
  3. Trinity Catholic, 101
  4. Christ Classical, 116
  5. Riversprings, 121
  6. Community Leadership, 149
  7. Wakulla, 150

Top Ten Girls, 2017 Crusader Classic 3K
  1. 12:15.19, Ella Porcher (Maclay) 7
  2. 12:19.10, Sofia Paredes (Maclay) 7
  3. 13:03.06, Mary Clayton Soto (Holy Comforter) 6
  4. 13:26.49, Madeline Lillie (Maclay) 8
  5. 13:27.04, Kate Smith (Holy Comforter) 8
  6. 13:31.76, Lily Moore (Trinity Catholic) 7
  7. 13:52.14, Sophia Umana (Holy Comforter) 8
  8. 13:52.60, Camille Resavage (Holy Comforter) 7
  9. 14:18.28, Paige Campbell (Christ Classical) 8
  10. 14:27.91, Imani Walker (Holy Comforter) 8

The meet concluded with the boys' 3K. Holy Comforter's Leo Kelly grabbed the lead soon after the start of the race, then spent the remainder of the three-kilometer run pulling steadily away from the field. Kelly was nearly 250 meters ahead of the next runner when he crossed the finish line in a winning time of 11:03.

Leo Kelly
Leo Kelly

"I wanted to break 11:00," said Kelly. "Maybe next time."

"It was a little windy and the course was tough," added Kelly. "Even though we train out here every day the hills still get you."

Behind Kelly, Holy Comforter eighth-grader Jackson Yarbrough held the second position for much of the race, but during the second half he was overtaken by Maclay seventh-grader Robert Jordan Hosay and Community Leadership fifth-grader Noah Deem. Hosay and Deem had a back-and-forth battle, but on the final straight Hosay had the better kick and took second in 12:13. Deem was third in 12:15. Yarbrough held off Trinity Catholic seventh-grader William Stephenson for fourth, 12:33 to 12:35.

Robert Jordan Hosay
Robert Jordan Hosay

Holy Comforter picked up two more top ten finishes from sixth-graders Matthew Wilbourn (7th, 13:01) and Will Winsor (8th, 13:02). Holy Comforter's fifth scorer, sixth-grader Donald Jackson (11th, 13:12), gave the Crusaders 31 points and the win. Maclay was second in the five-team field with 52 points, and Trinity Catholic placed third with 77.

Holy Comforter also hosts the Tallahassee Middle School Open on Thursday afternoon, 12 October 2017. Before and after that, though, there is plenty of cross-country for the Crusaders.

"Saturday we go to Alligator Lake," said Leo Kelly. "My goal this season is to get top fifteen at State. And then keep working toward track season."

There's always another race. There's always another season.

2017 Crusader Classic Team Standings (Boys)
  1. Holy Comforter, 31
  2. Maclay, 52
  3. Trinity Catholic, 77
  4. Christ Classical, 95
  5. Community Leadership, 98

Top Ten Boys, 2017 Crusader Classic 3K
  1. 11:02.56, Leo Kelly (Holy Comforter) 8
  2. 12:12.35, Robert Jordan Hosay (Maclay) 7
  3. 12:14.05, Noah Deem (Community Leadership) 5
  4. 12:32.08, Jackson Yarbrough (Holy Comforter) 8
  5. 12:34.45, William Stephenson (Trinity Catholic) 7
  6. 12:43.71, Justin Reid (Trinity Catholic) 8
  7. 13:00.23, Matthew Wilbourn (Holy Comforter) 6
  8. 13:01.65, Will Winsor (Holy Comforter) 6
  9. 13:06.11, James David Milford (Maclay) 7
  10. 13:11.24, Aiden Van Iddekinge (Maclay) 7