Sunday, October 15, 2017

Funderburk blazes a valedictory 17:44.50 at the Yellow Jacket Invitational

Yellow JacketAmong humans, where a lifetime is traditionally regarded as threescore-and-ten years, twenty-five years is about a generation. In high school sports, though, history moves a little faster. You may compete before and after high school, but your high school athletic career is no more than four years. A team photo taken four years ago includes no faces on today's team. In twenty-five years, that four-year changeover happens six times. In high school sports, twenty-five years is a very, very long time. No athlete is going to remember that far back. Few of the coaches will.


Not much lasts twenty-five years in high school sports. But Thomas County Central High School's Yellow Jacket Cross-Country Invitational has. Maybe no one can tell you who won the first Yellow Jacket Invitational in 1993, but it's nevertheless certain that the 25th annual Invitational was run in Thomasville, Georgia at Thomas County Middle School on Saturday morning, 14 October 2017. And among the athletes on hand to celebrate the twenty-fifth year of the Yellow Jacket Invitational, Colquitt County senior Elizabeth Funderburk ran a stunning 17:45 to win the high school girls' 5K, and Lowndes senior Brishen House won the high school boys' 5K in 17:04.


It was the third trip to the Yellow Jacket Invitational for Funderburk. As a sophomore, the Colquitt County Packer had won the girls' 5K at the 2015 Invitational in a respectable 20:07. In 2016 Funderburk returned to tear up the course in a winning 17:50. In 2017 she ran even faster, going 17:45. Veterans High sophomore Mackenzie Walls, a fourth-place finisher in the 2016 race, took second behind Funderburk, running 19:46. Kaylee Valenzia, a Lowndes senior, was third in 20:54.


It was the girls from Valwood School who took the team title, though. Led by the 21:27 of of sixth-place finisher Riley O'Linn, Valwood edged Veterans for the top spot in the high school girls' team standings, 80 to 82. Lee County was third in the eleven-team field with 98 points, led by junior Caroline Taylor (15th, 23:30).


2017 Yellow Jacket XC Invitational Team Standings, High School Girls
  1. Valwood, 80
  2. Veterans, 82
  3. Lee County, 98
  4. Berrien County, 121
  5. Lowndes, 154
  6. Thomas County Central, 157
  7. Colquitt County, 169
  8. Bainbridge, 176
  9. Aucilla Christian, 184
  10. Seminole County, 194
  11. Furlow Charter, 253

Top 15 High School Girls, 25th annual Yellow Jacket XC Invitational
  1. 17:44.50, Elizabeth Funderburk (Colquitt County) 12
  2. 19:46.00, Mackenzie Walls (Veterans) 10
  3. 20:53.28, Kaylee Valenzia (Lowndes) 12
  4. 21:15.40, Cara Eaton (Thomas County Central) 12
  5. 21:24.36, Macy Williams (Seminole County) 10
  6. 21:26.94, Riley O'Linn (Valwood) 12
  7. 21:33.47, Rebecca Chandler (Berrien County) 10
  8. 21:44.41, Brynn Wilson (Veterans) 12
  9. 22:00.14, Maya Wynn (Furlow Charter) 9
  10. 22:22.60, Hannah Dodd (Berrien County) 9
  11. 22:47.23, Katelyn Lancaster (Valdosta) 10
  12. 22:56.35, Anna James (Thomas County Central) 9
  13. 22:58.59, Brenna Clark (Valwood) 9
  14. 23:08.15, Masey Tabb (Seminole County) 10
  15. 23:29.79, Caroline Taylor (Lee County) 11

Unlike Funderburk, Brishen House didn't have any history at the Yellow Jacket Invitational. Neverthless, the Lowndes senior made some history in the 2017 high school boys' 5K, winning the race by 140 meters in 17:04. Valdosta senior Noah Richards took second in 17:34, and Lowndes frosh Alec Munger was third in 17:48.


Then came the Veterans High wave. Veterans Warhawks took the next four places, with junior Aamiri Ducksworth fourth in 18:02, senior Robbie Griffith fifth in 18:12, senior Brett Horton sixth in 18:23, and junior Griffin Hodges seventh in 18:25. The Warhawks got a fifth top-ten finish from junior Andrew Bos (10th, 18:38), giving the boys from Kathleen, Georgia a winning 32 points and their second straight Yellow Jacket Invitational team title. Lowndes was second with 64 points, and Valdosta third out of twelve teams with 72.


2017 Yellow Jacket XC Invitational Team Standings, High School Boys
  1. Veterans, 32
  2. Lowndes, 64
  3. Valdosta, 72
  4. Colquitt County, 144
  5. Thomas County Central, 147
  6. Bainbridge, 155
  7. Lee County, 175
  8. Seminole County, 199
  9. Berrien County, 244
  10. Aucilla Christian, 319
  11. Thomasville, 324
  12. Furlow Charter, 332

Top 15 High School Boys, 25th annual Yellow Jacket XC Invitational
  1. 17:03.69, Brishen House (Lowndes) 12
  2. 17:33.23, Noah Richards (Valdosta) 12
  3. 17:47.38, Alec Munger (Lowndes) 9
  4. 18:01.94, Aamiri Ducksworth (Veterans) 11
  5. 18:11.34, Robbie Griffin (Veterans) 12
  6. 18:22.30, Brett Horton (Veterans) 12
  7. 18:24.56, Griffin Hodges (Veterans) 11
  8. 18:29.51, Jake Merritt (Colquitt County) 12
  9. 18:32.53, Deshon Taylor (Valdosta) 12
  10. 18:37.33, Andrew Bos (Veterans) 11
  11. 18:42.23, Morgan Bolmer (Berrien County) 10
  12. 18:47.31, Benjamin Phillips (Lee County) 10
  13. 18:48.09, Efrain Diaz (Bainbridge) 12
  14. 18:51.64, William Krispin (Valdosta) 12
  15. 18:53.62, Rio Espinoza (Veterans) 11

MacIntyre Park sixth-grader Anika Imhoff won the middle school girls' two mile at the Yellow Jacket Invitational with a 17:35. However, MacIntryre Park didn't have a full team so when Thomas County took the next four places plus seventh place with Makaina Griffin (2nd, 17:42), Gracie McNichols (3rd, 17:47), Samantha Jennings (4th, 17:49), Elizabeth Rinehart (5th, 18:45), and MiKayla Voyles (7th, 19:22). Those five runners gave their team the win with a perfect score of 15. Whigam, led by fifth-grader Sada Bostick (14th, 21:08), was second with 50 points.


2017 Yellow Jacket XC Invitational Team Standings, Middle School Girls
  1. Thomas County, 15
  2. Whigham, 50

Top 15 Middle School Girls, 25th annual Yellow Jacket XC Invitational
  1. 17:34.23, Anika Imhoff (MacIntyre Park) 6
  2. 17:41.66, Makaina Griffin (Thomas County) 7
  3. 17:46.15, Gracie McNichols (Thomas County) 7
  4. 17:48.91, Samantha Jennings (Thomas County) 7
  5. 18:44.94, Elizabeth Rinehart (Thomas County) 7
  6. 19:19.43, Aly Morabito (MacIntyre Park) 6
  7. 19:21.07, MiKayla Voyles (Thomas County) 6
  8. 19:34.13, Bailey Maroney (Thomas County) 7
  9. 19:35.91, Maggie Palmer (Seminole County) 7
  10. 19:42.43, Riley Fisher (Thomas County) 7
  11. 19:47.95, Jordyn Tillman (Thomas County) 7
  12. 19:55.87, Jo Beth Kelly (Seminole County) 7
  13. 20:20.57, Madison Harper (Thomas County) 6
  14. 21:07.53, Sada Bostick (Whigham) 5
  15. 21:14.15, Sarah Byram (Whigham) 7

Valdosta took the top two places in the middle school boys' two mile, with eighth-grader Parker Jackson winning in 12:32 and seventh-grader Hunter Griffin second in 14:08. Nolan Barnes of MacIntyre Park placed third in 14:30.


But the Cats from Valdosta put two more runners in the top ten, sixth-grader Gabriel Sears (4th, 14:32) and seventh-grader William Gutierrez-Ramirez (7th, 14:55). When sixth-grader Emory Hogan placed twelfth in 15:18 for Valdosta, the Cats had a mathematically unbeatable 26 points and first place out of seven teams in the middle school boys' race. MacIntyre Park was second with 49 points. Lee County placed third with 78 points, led by eighth-grader Landon Jones (5th, 14:32).


2017 Yellow Jacket XC Invitational Team Standings, Middle School Boys
  1. Valdosta, 26
  2. MacIntyre Park, 49
  3. Lee County, 78
  4. Thomas County, 92
  5. Seminole County, 127
  6. Colquitt County, 171
  7. Whigham, 208

Top 15 Middle School Boys, 25th annual Yellow Jacket XC Invitational
  1. 12:31.28, Parker Jackson (Valdosta) 8
  2. 14:07.84, Hunter Griffin (Valdosta) 7
  3. 14:29.52, Nolan Barnes (MacIntyre Park) 8
  4. 14:31.58, Gabriel Sears (Valdosta) 6
  5. 14:31.83, Landon Jones (Lee County) 8
  6. 14:47.61, Cole Sullivan (MacIntyre Park) 8
  7. 14:54.28, William Gutierrez Ramirez (Valdosta) 7
  8. 14:56.45, Zac McNichols (Thomas County) 8
  9. 15:07.61, Reagen Anglin (Thomas County) 7
  10. 15:12.03, Lane Whiddon (MacIntyre Park) 8
  11. 15:17.14, Baylor Williams (Seminole County) 8
  12. 15:17.96, Emory Hogan (Valdosta) 6
  13. 15:19.98, Josh May (MacIntyre Park) 7
  14. 15:20.54, Antonio Sultul Zapeto (Valdosta) 7
  15. 15:21.00, Chase Reeves (Lee County) 8

Yellow Jacket Cross Country Invitational winners, 2008 - 2017
High School Boys
DateTeam ChampIndividual Champ
18 October 2008Tift County, 32 points16:59, Hunter Honeycutt (Tift County)
17 October 2009
16 October 2010
15 October 2011
20 October 2012
19 October 2013Maclay, 4116:13, Chase Harris (Bainbridge) 11
25 October 2014Thomas County Central, 7416:25, Wil Luca (Leon) 12
17 October 2015Leon, 3615:47, Poncherella Leonard (Bainbridge) 11
15 October 2016Veterans, 5417:13, Colby Jones (Lee County) 11
14 October 2017Veterans, 3217:04, Brishen House (Lowndes) 12
High School Girls
DateTeam ChampIndividual Champ
18 October 2008Valdosta, 30 points21:12, JaCourtney Alexander (Cairo)
17 October 2009
16 October 2010
15 October 2011
20 October 2012
19 October 2013Maclay, 3019:44, Paige Braswell (Bainbridge) 12
25 October 2014Berrien County, 4720:58, Rebekah Smith (Thomasville) 11
17 October 2015Leon, 4420:07, Elizabeth Funderburk (Colquitt County) 10
15 October 2016Lee County, 8317:50, Elizabeth Funderburk (Colquitt County) 11
14 October 2017Valwood, 8017:45, Elizabeth Funderburk (Colquitt County) 12
Do you have results from the missing years? Please let me know!


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