Sunday, October 15, 2017

Wallace and Newland lead the Chiles charge at the Red Hills Cross-Country Invitational

By Saturday, 14 October 2017, district cross-country meets were less than two weeks away for the high school cross-country teams of Tallahassee, Florida. There was time enough, though, for one more round of regular-season racing--the inaugural Red Hills Cross-Country Invitational at Tallahassee's Phipps Park. The meet was not only hosted by Chiles High, it seemed all about Chiles High. Chiles senior Ana Wallace won the girls' 5K in 19:01, Chiles senior Matthew Newland won the boys' 5K in 16:18, the Chiles girls took the team title in their race with 17 points, and the Chiles boys were also victorious with an even lower 16-point score.

Ana Wallace
Ana Wallace

The girls raced at 8:00 AM. Just seven days earlier at the Great American Cross-Country Invitational in Cary, North Carolina, Ana Wallace had run 17:26.5--more than half a minute faster than any time posted by any other Florida girl up to that point in the 2017 high school cross-country season. What do you do a week after a performance like that?

If you're Ana Wallace, you keep winning. Easily outdistancing the field, Wallace cruised the 5,000 meters around Phipps Park in a winning 19:01. Chiles junior Emily Culley was second in 19:19, Chiles sophomore Caitlin Wilkey took third in 19:29, and Chiles senior Erin Phelps placed fourth in 19:52. Only two Leon runners, sophomore Liz Calabro (5th, 20:20) and junior Kat Resavage (6th, 20:54), kept the Chiles girls from having a perfect fifteen-point score. Still, once Chiles junior Olivia Miller (7th, 21:10) crossed the finish line, the Timberwolves had seventeen points and the win. Leon was second with 44 points, and Community Christian third with 85.

Emily Culley
Emily Culley

"The plan was to give it a pretty good effort without going too hard, especially after working hard last week," said Wallace. "Use it as a kind of workout."

The race concluded the regular season for Wallace. In 2016 she was seventh in the 3A girls' State Championship race. In 2017 she starts the State Championship Series with the 3A District 3 meet at Jacksonville on 25 October 2017, with the expectation of continuing to the 3A Region 1 meet at Lake City on 4 November 2017 and the State Final at Tallahassee's Apalachee Regional Park on 11 November 2017.

"I plan on probably running District about the same as today, and Region lighter," said Wallace. "Then get ready for State."

Caitlin Wilkey
Caitlin Wilkey

Girls' Team Standings, 2017 Red Hills Cross-Country Invitational
  1. Chiles, 17
  2. Leon, 44
  3. Community Christian, 85

Top Ten Girls, 2017 Red Hills Cross-Country Invitational
  1. 19:00.89, Ana Wallace (Chiles) 12
  2. 19:18.28, Emily Culley (Chiles) 11
  3. 19:28.86, Caitlin Wilkey (Chiles) 10
  4. 19:51.69, Erin Phelps (Chiles) 12
  5. 20:19.96, Elizabeth Calabro (Leon) 10
  6. 20:53.04, Katherine Resavage (Leon) 11
  7. 21:09.58, Olivia Miller (Chiles) 11
  8. 21:17.65, Brooke Waldal (Chiles) 9
  9. 21:29.04, Reagan Mahler (Chiles) 12
  10. 21:35.39, Lindsay James (Chiles) 9

After the girls' race, there was even more Chiles up front in the boys' 5K, with the Timberwolves taking six of the first seven places. Leading the entire way, Chiles senior Matthew Newland took first in 16:18. Two more Chiles seniors took the next two places, with Michael Phillips inches ahead of Robert Nowak, both clocked in 16:37. Chiles junior Connor Phillips held off a charging Joseph Ashebo for fourth, 16:59 to 17:02. Ashebo, a Leon sophomore, was the only non-Timberwolf in the top five. Senior Noah Grzywacz closed out the scoring for Chiles, giving his team sixteen points and the win. Leon was second with 51 points. Rickards, led by senior Joseph Jones (10th, 17:55), was third with 75.

Matthew Newland
Matthew Newland

Chiles Michael Phillips is the defending state champion in class 3A. You'd have to consider him a strong contender to repeat after he ran 14:58.2 at the Great American Cross-Country Invitational on 7 October 2017. Phillips and Matthew Newland each had different approaches to the Red Hills race.

"I was racing hard," declared Newland.

"I was pacing Robert [Nowak]," said Phillips. "We needed to get everyone's confidence back after last week."

Michael Phillips, Robert Nowak
Michael Phillips and Robert Nowak

"Everyone did well today," said Newland.

With the District Championship coming up in eleven days, you can't argue that it's not important to have everyone running well and confident that they can continue performing at that level. After District, the last obstacle before State is the 3A Region 1 Championship at The Oaks Equestrian Center in Lake City. Chiles ran their earlier in 2017, placing second in the Alligator Lake Invitational. Newland and Phillips are looking for a different outcome for their team this time.

Connor Phillips
Connor Phillips

"Last time it wasn't really a race for us," said Phillips. "It was a workout."

"This time we want a first for sure," emphasized Newland.

And after Region, Chiles will be chasing more firsts at the State Final.

Joseph Ashebo
Joseph Ashebo

Boys' Team Standings, 2017 Red Hills Cross-Country Invitational
  1. Chiles, 16
  2. Leon, 51
  3. Rickards, 75
  4. John Paul II, 115

Top Ten Boys, 2017 Red Hills Cross-Country Invitational
  1. 16:17.99, Matthew Newland (Chiles) 12
  2. 16:36.33, Michael Phillips (Chiles) 12
  3. 16:36.61, Robert Nowak (Chiles) 12
  4. 16:58.79, Connor Phillips (Chiles) 11
  5. 17:01.05, Joseph Ashebo (Leon) 10
  6. 17:04.05, Noah Grzywacz (Chiles) 12
  7. 17:20.00, Clayburn Milford (Chiles) 11
  8. 17:25.34, David A Keen (North Florida Christian) 10
  9. 17:27.28, Hawthorne Hay (Chiles) 10
  10. 17:54.91, Joseph Jones (Rickards) 12


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