Friday, October 19, 2018

Maclay girls and Fairview boys triumph at the Tallahassee Open

Tuesday, 8 October 2018, was the date Holy Comforter Episcopal School chose for the Tallahassee Open Middle School Cross-Country Meet. Unfortunately, that was the day before Hurricane Michael, a category four tropical cyclone, made landfall in North Florida, bringing wind gusts in excess of 70 miles per hour to Tallahassee, Florida. Tuesday wasn't a day for running cross-country; it was a day for storm preparation or evacuation.

Ella Porcher, Sofia Paredes
Ella Porcher and Sofia Paredes

But the meet wasn't canceled, it was just postponed. And on Wednesday afternoon, 17 October 2018, Holy Comforter hosted the rescheduled Tallahassee Open. Maclay eighth-graders Ella Porcher and Sofia Paredes, both clocked in 12:10, crossed the line first in the girls' 3K, leading their team to victory. Seventh-grader Patrick Koon won the boys' 3K in 11:11 while his Fairview squad took first in the team standings.

Hurricane winds were only a memory on the afternoon of the meet. Not even a gentle breeze ruffled the grass on Holy Comforter's Lawson's Course, and there were only a few clouds in the sky. It was in the upper 80s during the first race, the elementary school mile, and it was still warm when the middle school girls' 3K started.

Lilly Moore, Lillee Tang, Joey Shonk
Lilly Moore, Lillee Tang, and Joey Shonk

Trinity Catholic eighth-graders Lily Moore and Lillee Tang grabbed the first two positions early. Meanwhile, Ella Porcher and Sofia Paredes were running patiently a little further back. At the end of the first kilometer Moore was still in front, but Porcher and Paredes were just a few steps behind her. The two Maclay runners took over the lead soon after, and were in complete command of the race with a kilometer to go. Joey Shonk, an eighth-grader from Liza Jackson Prep in Fort Walton Beach, had moved up to challenge Moore and Tang for the third position.

No one was challenging Porcher and Paredes, though. They cruised home together in 12:10. Moore took third in 12:29, with Shonk fourth in 12:38 and Tang fifth in 12:47.

Maclay XC girls
Maclay Girls

Seventh-grader Gracie Koeppel made it three runners in the top ten for Maclay, placing sixth in 12:55. Sixth-graders Lauren Guyer (13th, 14:40) and Payton Thumm (14th, 14:43) also scored for Maclay, giving the Marauders 31 points and first place in the six-team field. Trinity Catholic was second with 46 points, just ahead of the 48 points logged by third-place Holy Comforter.

Girls' Team Standings, 2018 Tallahassee Open Middle School XC Championship
  1. Maclay, 31
  2. Trinity Catholic, 46
  3. Holy Comforter Episcopal, 48
  4. Riversprings, 105
  5. Cornerstone, 137
  6. Community Leadership, 159

Top 10 Girls, 2018 Tallahassee Open Middle School XC Championship
  1. 12:09.30, Ella Porcher (Maclay) 8
  2. 12:09.40, Sofia Paredes (Maclay) 8
  3. 12:28.60, Lily Moore (Trinity Catholic) 8
  4. 12:38.00, Joey Shonk (Unattached) 8
  5. 12:46.70, Lillee Tang (Trinity Catholic) 8
  6. 12:54.30, Gracie Koeppel (Maclay) 7
  7. 13:26.40, Stella Lewis (Unattached)
  8. 13:53.20, Ava Hill (Holy Comforter Episcopal) 6
  9. 14:04.20, Ava Griffiths (Trinity Catholic) 6
  10. 14:05.80, Kate Reichelderfer (Holy Comforter Episcopal) 6

Neither Porcher nor Paredes had run the Open in 2017, but they had both raced the meet in 2016, finishing almost next to one another in second and third. Patrick Koon had also raced the open in 2016 as a fifth-grader, placing fifth in the boys' 3K at 11:18.

"There were a lot of fast guys in the race that year like Ben Kirbo and Leo Kelly," recalled Koon.

Patrick Koon
Patrick Koon

By 2018, both Kirbo and Kelly had moved on to high school, with Kirbo running for Chiles and Kelly for Leon. After a two-year absence, Koon was back in the Open, and this time he was the "fast guy" in the race, taking the lead almost immediately after the start. Will Springer, a Trinity Catholic seventh-grader, moved into second-place behind Koon, but he couldn't stick with the Fairview seventh-grader. By the two-kilometer mark, Yien Liu, another Fairview seventh-grader, had overtaken Springer.

No one was catching Koon, though, as he raced to the finish line with a winning time of 11:11. Clayton Knox, a Maclay eighth-grader, caught Liu on the homestretch. In the battle to the finish line, Knox held off Liu by just inches to take second, both athletes running 11:34. Springer held off a late charge by Peter Boulware, beating out the Community Leadership sixth-grader for fourth, 11:45 to 11:46.

Clayton Knox, Yien Liu
Clayton Knox and Yien Liu

Seventh-grader Enijah Thomas was Fairview's seventh scorer, placing tenth in 12:09. Eighth-graders Lucca Garrison and Brantley Gibson finished the scoring for the Falcons, placing eighteenth overall in 13:03 and 26th overall in 13:38. After that, Fairview had 53 points and the team title. Maclay was a close second with 58 points. Holy Comforter was third with 62, led by the seventh-place 11:52 performance of sixth-grader Henry Fernandez.

"It was a good race," reflected Koon. "It was pretty hot. I'm glad we won so we could get our teammates to State."

Will Springer
Will Springer

As team champs at the Open, Fairview earned a berth at Florida's middle school State Meet, the ninth annual Florida Youth Running Association Championships. The FLYRA Middle School Championship will be run at Holloway Park in Lakeland, Florida on Saturday morning, 27 October 2018.

Boys' Team Standings, 2018 Tallahassee Open Middle School XC Championship
  1. Fairview, 53
  2. Maclay, 58
  3. Holy Comforter Episcopal, 62
  4. Trinity Catholic, 97
  5. Community Leadership, 112
  6. Christ Classical, 125

Top 10 Boys, 2018 Tallahassee Open Middle School XC Championship
  1. 11:10.10, Patrick Koon (Fairview) 7
  2. 11:33.10, Clayton Knox (Maclay) 8
  3. 11:33.20, Yien Liu (Fairview) 7
  4. 11:44.10, Will Springer (Trinity Catholic) 7
  5. 11:45.60, Peter Boulware (Community Leadership) 6
  6. 11:47.00, Noah Deem (Community Leadership) 6
  7. 11:51.10, Henry Fernandez (Holy Comforter Episcopal) 6
  8. 11:57.30, Lucas Mauch (Maclay) 8
  9. 12:02.40, Drayden Reams (Knights Running) 7
  10. 12:08.70, Enijah Thomas (Fairview) 7

Tallahassee Open winners, 2014 - 2018
DateTeam ChampIndividual Champ
23 October 2014Maclay, 189:42, Clayburn Milford (Maclay) 8
15 October 2015Holy Comforter, 2710:25, Jacob D'Aleo (Emerald Coast) 8
13 October 2016Holy Comforter, 1711:05, Jackson Yarbrough (Holy Comforter) 7
12 October 2017Holy Comforter, 3510:45, Thomas Ashby (Burns) 7
17 October 2018Fairview, 5311:11, Patrick Koon (Fairview) 7
DateTeam ChampIndividual Champ
23 October 2014Holy Comforter, 2711:28, Katherine Resavage (Holy Comforter) 8
15 October 2015Holy Comforter, 2111:23, Emily Molen (Deerlake) 8
13 October 2016Maclay, 1711:35, Lindsay James (Maclay) 8
12 October 2017Holy Comforter, 2212:36, Mary Clayton Soto (Holy Comforter) 6
17 October 2018Maclay, 3112:10, Ella Porcher (Maclay) 8


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