Sunday, September 17, 2017

Maclay, Maclay, Maclay, and more Maclay at the Prefontaine Classic

The Maclay School boys took first with a perfect score of 15, the Maclay School girls won with a near-perfect 18, Maclay sophomore Junious Brown IV won the boys' 5K, and Maclay seventh-grader Ella Porcher was first in the girls' 5K. It was the Prefontaine Classic cross-country meet just outside of Tallahassee, Florida in the Apalachicola National Forest. Yes, there were other schools in the meet. It was just that on that Saturday morning, 16 September 2017, Maclay was that much better than all of them.

Junious Brown
Junious Brown

In 1976, not long after the untimely death of Steve Prefontaine, Tallahassee's Gulf Winds Track Club came up with the notion of honoring that American distance-running icon with an annual cross-country race, the Salute to Prefontaine 5K. It was appropriate--in addition to his other accomplishments, Prefontaine had won three NCAA Cross-Country titles. The Salute to Prefontaine 5K course changed over the years, becoming so rugged that it threatened to cripple the participants. Prefontaine, who had done most of his cross-country racing on golf courses, would probably have had something to say about that. Pre often had something to say, and was never known to be reluctant to say it.


Some years the Prefontaine 5K has included a high school cross-country meet, the Prefontaine Classic. This is also appropriate--Prefontaine was a two-time high school cross-country state champion in Oregon. 2017 was one of those years. The course, twice around a loop circling Silver Lake, was a bit longer than the listed five kilometers.

Thomas Deison
Thomas Deison

"Course measured out to more like 3.2 miles instead of 5K, but so what," commented Maclay coach Gary Droze. "This is cross-country."


Pre might also have had something to say about that. However, the high school cross-country distance in Oregon was only two-and-a-half miles back when Prefontaine was racing, and his 1968 title run was on a short course. Anyway, Prefontaine never had to race at Silver Lake.


Junious Brown did race at Silver Lake. After the first kilometer of the 2017 Prefontaine Classic, the Maclay sophomore was leading the field, 30 meters ahead of his nearest challengers. Brown maintained that 30-meter margin all the way to the finish line, which he crossed with a winning time of 19:33. Maclay's Thomas Deison was second in 19:39, and Daniel Sweeney of Maclay was third in 19:47.

Ella Porcher, Sofia Paredes, Mackenzie Mazziotta
Ella Porcher, Sofia Paredes, and Mackenzie Mazziotta

Maclay also took the next three places, with Damian Hundley (4th, 20:37) and Alfredo Paredes (5th, 20:55) scoring for the Marauders. That gave Maclay a perfect score of 15 and first place in a field of four teams. Led by the tenth place finish of Kyle Moram, John Paul II Catholic High School was second with 80 points. Aucilla Christian was third with 80 points and Wakulla Christian fourth with 87.


2017 Prefontaine Classic Team Standings, Boys
  1. Maclay, 15
  2. John Paul II, 63
  3. Aucilla Christian, 80
  4. Wakulla Christian, 87

Top Ten Boys, 2017 Prefontaine Classic
  1. 19:33, Junious Brown IV (Maclay)
  2. 19:39, Thomas Deison (Maclay)
  3. 19:47, Daniel Sweeney (Maclay)
  4. 20:37, Damian Hundley (Maclay)
  5. 20:55, Alfredo Paredes (Maclay)
  6. 21:02, Michael Sweeney (Maclay)
  7. 22:02, Devin Clemons (Wakulla Christian)
  8. 22:13, James McDuffie (Maclay)
  9. 22:23, Amari Moore (Godby)
  10. 22:25, Kyle Moram (John Paul II)

The girls' race was run at the same time and on the same course as the boys' 5K. Sofia St Julien of Godby led during the first lap, but three Maclay runners had taken over by early in the second lap. The Marauder trio hung on to the first three places, with Ella Porcher finishing first in 24:44, seventh-grader Sofia Paredes taking a close second in 24:46, and third going to junior Mackenzie Mazziotta, a step or two back in 24:47. Godby senior St Julien was fourth in 25:40.

Sofia St Julien
Sofia St Julien

Maclay seniors Anna Lewis (5th, 26:14) and Jainey Coates (9th, 26:23) rounded out the scoring for the Marauders, giving their team 18 points and first in a field of three teams. Led by seventh-grader Sammi Drawdy (7th, 26:17), Aucilla Christian was second with 49 points. Junior Natalie Laywell was John Paul II's top runner; her team was third with 67 points.


2017 Prefontaine Classic Team Standings, Girls
  1. Maclay, 18
  2. Aucilla Christian, 49
  3. John Paul II, 67

Top Ten Girls, 2017 Prefontaine Classic
  1. 24:44, Ella Porcher (Maclay)
  2. 24:46, Sofia Paredes (Maclay)
  3. 24:47, Makenzie Mazziotta (Maclay)
  4. 25:40, Sofia St Julien (Godby)
  5. 26:14, Anna Lewis (Maclay)
  6. 26:15, Natalie Laywell (John Paul II)
  7. 26:17, Sammi Drawdy (Aucilla Christian)
  8. 26:21, Caroline Taylor (Aucilla Christian)
  9. 26:23, Jainey Coates (Maclay)
  10. 26:44, Victoria Lee (Maclay)
  11. 27:30, Jane-Kathryn Whittington (Maclay)


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
16 September 2017Maclay, 1519:33, Junious Brown IV (Maclay) 10
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
16 September 2017Maclay, 1824:44, Ella Porcher (Maclay) 7


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