Friday, September 28, 2018

Tang and Townsend fly to victory at the Falcon Invitational

Week five of the Leon County Schools' middle school cross-country season saw the athletes in Phipps Park on Thursday afternoon, 27 September 2018, for the first ever Falcon Invitational. Deerlake's Maya Tang won the opening event, the girls' 3K, running 11:28, while the Swift Creek girls took the team title. In the boys' 3K Wyatt Townsend ran 9:50 for his fourth win of the season, leading Deerlake to first place in the team standings.

Maya Tang
Maya Tang

It was the first year of the Falcon Invitational, and it almost didn't happen. Hosted by Fairview Middle School, the meet was scheduled to take place at the school. However, construction at Fairview made that impossible. Where could you run a pair of three-kilometer middle school races? Well, Gulf Winds Track Club had staged a 3K at Phipps Park as part of the Miller Landing Madness. So the Falcon Invitational moved from the south side of town to the north side of town, more than ten miles.

On the day of the races, the weather turned threatening.

But as ominous as the skies looked, only a light rain was falling when the girls' race got started, though. Deerlake eighth-grader Maya Tang had already seen the course just over a month earlier, running 12:31 in the Miller Landing Madness 3K. 600 meters into Falcon Invitational girls' 3K Tang was already leading, more than 40 meters ahead of the next group of runners--Swift Creek eighth-graders Stella Lewis and Paige Churchill, and Deerlake seventh-grader Leah Kiros. Tang increased the margin after that, finishing the race with a lead of more than a hundred meters and a winning time of 11:28. It was her third win of the season. Paige Churchill, who had won the other two girls' races during the season, took second in 11:53. The next two places went to Swift Creek seventh-graders, with Stella Lewis third in 12:07 and Ava Jones fourth in 12:13. Skye Williams, a Montford seventh-grader, was a close fifth in 12:15, and Leah Kiros was sixth in 12:25.

2018 Swift Creek Girls' Cross-Country Team
Swift Creek Girls' Team

The remaining two scorers for the Swift Creek Wolves were seventh-grader Elizabeth Kessler (9th, 12:45) and sixth-grader Lilly Walker (18th, 13:11), giving the team a winning total of 34 points. Led by Williams, Montford took second with 45 points. Kiros' Deerlake Bucks were third with 59 points.

2018 Falcon Invitational Girls' Team Scores
  1. Swift Creek, 34
  2. Montford, 45
  3. Deerlake, 59
  4. Cobb, 125
  5. Raa, 136
  6. Fairview, 140
  7. Fort Braden, NTS
    Griffin, NTS
    Nims, NTS

Top Ten, 2018 Falcon Invitational Girls' 3K
  1. 11:27.82, Maya Tang (Deerlake) 8
  2. 11:52.85, Paige Churchill (Swift Creek) 8
  3. 12:06.38, Stella Lewis (Swift Creek) 8
  4. 12:12.98, Ava Jones (Swift Creek) 7
  5. 12:14.69, Skye Williams (Montford) 7
  6. 12:24.26, Leah Kiros (Deerlake) 7
  7. 12:43.62, Madison Sims (Fort Braden) 6
  8. 12:44.15, Mariona Heartsfield (Montford) 6
  9. 12:44.39, Elizabeth Kessler (Swift Creek) 7
  10. 12:45.43, Mackenzie Hulquist (Montford) 7

Swift Creek eighth-grader Connor Edwards and Fairview seventh-grader Patrick Koon had both raced the Phipps Park 3K course before, dueling for the win in the Miller Landing Madness 3K. Edwards had come out slightly ahead that day, 10:37 to 10:39. But in the boys' 3K at the Falcon Invitational, it was Deerlake eighth-grader Wyatt Townsend who took the first lead. Townsend got ahead at the start, and stayed ahead, finishing the race with a 140-meter lead in 9:50. Fighting for second, Edwards and Koon had a rematch of their Miller Landing Madness duel. The outcome was closer, but the same--Edwards edged Koon for second, 10:09 to 10:10.

Wyatt Townsend
Wyatt Townsend

In addition to Townsend, the Deerlake Bucks had three more boys in the top ten--eighth-grader Alastair Deng was sixth in 10:54, eighth-grader Carter Rothell was seventh in 10:57, and seventh-grader Davis McNeely was eighth in 10:58. Sixth-grader Ethan Ekk completed the scoring for the Bucks, finishing thirteenth in 11:08 and completing his team's winning total of 35 points. Led by Edwards, Swift Creek placed second with 66 points. Montford seventh-grader Jackson Rowe was fifth in 10:35, leading the Mustangs to third place in the team standings with 77 points.

The middle school cross-country season for Leon County Schools concludes on Thursday, 4 October 2018, at Apalachee Regional Park Championship Cross-Country Course with the League Championship Meet. The girls' 3K starts at 6:00 PM and the boys race at 6:30.

Patrick Koon, Connor Edwards
Patrick Koon & Connor Edwards

2018 Falcon Invitational Boys' Team Scores
  1. Deerlake, 35
  2. Swift Creek, 66
  3. Montford, 77
  4. Fairview, 94
  5. Raa, 99
  6. Fort Braden, 185
  7. Cobb, 200
  8. Griffin, NTS
    Nims, NTS

Top Ten, 2018 Falcon Invitational Boys' 3K
  1. 9:49.60, Wyatt Townsend (Deerlake) 8
  2. 10:08.30, Connor Edwards (Swift Creek) 8
  3. 10:09.22, Patrick Koon (Fairview) 7
  4. 10:32.41, Eric Stillman (Swift Creek) 8
  5. 10:34.74, Jackson Rowe (Montford) 7
  6. 10:53.55, Alastair Deng (Deerlake) 8
  7. 10:56.44, Carter Rothell (Deerlake) 8
  8. 10:57.96, Davis McNeely (Deerlake) 7
  9. 11:00.16, Drayden Reams (Raa) 7
  10. 11:02.16, Neal Porter (Montford) 6


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