Friday, October 12, 2018

Clay Milford and Avery Calabro lead the herd at the Warrior Stampede

Aucilla Christian Academy's home cross-country meet on Saturday morning, 6 October 2018, was dubbed the Warrior Stampede. The Warrior Stampede?

Clay Milford
Clay Milford

Warriors battle. Warriors charge. Warriors rampage. Warriors don't stampede. It's possible, I suppose, that the horses the warriors are riding might stampede. And the races were held just outside of Monticello, Florida on the grounds of an extension office of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, with a finish line around a rodeo ring at the Jefferson County Equestrian Center. Oh, and the meet ended with a barrel race.

So, yeah, a stampede.

Chiles senior Clay Milford won the high school boys' 5K at the 2018 Stampede, running 16:55 and leading his team to first place in the team standings with 22 points. Avery Calabro, a Leon sophomore, ran 19:45 for first in the girls' 5K, while her Lions team put up a winning score of 28 points.

Samuel Mountin
Early in the Stampede

Contrary to the usual order of events at a Florida highs school cross-country meet, the boys raced first.

"I really like running first," said Chiles' Milford. "It was great getting out there before the sun got too high."

On the girls' side, Avery Calabro of Leon didn't seem to mind going second.

Hawthorne Hay
Hawthorne Hay

"It wasn't really different," said Calabro. "I liked being able to watch the boys race."

It helped that the weather had finally broken, with temperatures more like October than "Augtober" and hinting that summer might not be endless.

"This is the best morning we've had all season," said Chris Haynes, a Leon High assistant coach.

Jackson Yarbrough
Jackson Yarbrough

The boys' race started right at 8:30 AM. Milford took the lead during the first mile, and at the two-kilometer mark he was 30 meters ahead of the next runner, Chiles junior Hawthorne Hay. Milford widened the gap during the rest of the race, going on to win by 80 meters in 16:55. Hay hung on to second with a 17:12. Leon High frosh Jackson Yarbrough moved up during the second half of the race to edge Chiles senior Samuel Mountin for third, 17:25 to 17:29.

Chiles remaining two scorers were also in the top ten, with frosh Ben Kirbo sixth in 17:39 and junior Shawn Marcum ninth in 17:57. With that, the Timberwolves had a mathematically unbeatable score of 22 points and first place. Leon, led by Yarbrough, placed second with 35 points. Community Christian led by the 27th place, 20:35 performance of Nick Ciarlariello, scored 97 points for third.

Nile Bryant, Ben Kirbo
Ben Kirbo and Nile Bryant

Milford had also won the boys' 5K at the Warrior Stampede in 2015 as a Maclay School frosh. In 2014 he had actually doubled at the Stampede, placing eleventh in the high school boys' 5K then returning to win the middle school 3K. Doubling was not an option in 2018, though, even with the barrel race on the meet schedule.

"Coach Phillips forbids us to do the barrel race," said Milford.

"Coach Carly forbids you to do the barrel race!" insisted Chiles coach Carly Thomas.

Team Scores, Aucilla Christian Warrior Stampede High School Boys' 5K
  1. Chiles, 22
  2. Leon, 35
  3. Community Christian, 97
  4. Jefferson County, 109
  5. Aucilla Christian, 118

Top Ten, Aucilla Christian Warrior Stampede High School Boys' 5K
  1. 16:54.33, Clayburn Milford (Chiles) 12
  2. 17:11.86, Hawthorne Hay (Chiles) 11
  3. 17:24.98, Jackson Yarbrough (Leon) 9
  4. 17:28.77, Samuel Mountin (Chiles) 12
  5. 17:35.60, Nile Bryant (Leon) 11
  6. 17:38.53, Ben Kirbo (Chiles) 9
  7. 17:41.90, Jackson Roberts (Leon) 11
  8. 17:54.98, Joseph Ashebo (Leon) 11
  9. 17:56.87, Shawn Marcum (Chiles) 11
  10. 17:57.67, Peter Failma (Chiles) 10

Athletes were still finishing the boys' 5K race when the girls' 5K started. Avery Calabro bolted ahead of the field immediately. She passed two kilometers half a minute of everyone, except for the driver of the lead vehicle.

Avery Calabro
Avery Calabro

"She was 6:08 at the mile!" called the driver. A mile later, he had an update.

"She's still flying!" the driver reported. "12:30 at two miles."

"It was pretty fast the first two miles," admitted Calabro. "And then there was a lot of uphill."

Lilli Unger, Elizabeth Calabro
Lilli Unger

Calabro may have relaxed the pace during the final mile, but she was still moving faster than any other runner in the race. The Leon sophomore crossed the finish line in 19:45, well over 400 meters ahead of the next runner. The Leon girls also grabbed the next two places, with sophomore Lilli Unger second in 21:40 and junior Elizabeth Calabro third, also in 21:40.

The Chiles girls, though, put all five of their scorers in the top ten. Timberwolf frosh Kendall Meyer led that wave, placing fourth in 22:27. After the Timberwolf tide, Leon junior Lauren Zhu placed tenth in 24:11 for the Lions. Leon frosh Sophia Umana completed the scoring for the Lions, taking twelfth in 24:26. The Leon girls had 28 points and the team title. Chiles placed a close runner-up with 33 points. Jefferson County was third with 85 points behind the sixth place, 23:24 finish of their senior ace, Maggie Boyd.

Lilli Unger, Elizabeth Calabro
Elizabeth Calabro

Cross-country courses are so different from one another that comparing times isn't productive. Even conditions on the same course can vary wildly from day to day. But Avery Calabro's 19:45 at the Stampede was so far from her previous times, it was worth noticing.

"It was a lot faster," said Calabro. "It was a big jump from my last P.R., 21:23."

And where is Calabro going with her new P.R.?

Kendall Meyer
Kendall Meyer

"The next race is Pre-State," said Calabro. "I'm hoping to do well there."

To make sure of that, Calabro also skipped the barrel race.

Team Scores, Aucilla Christian Warrior Stampede High School Girls' 5K
  1. Leon, 28
  2. Chiles, 33
  3. Jefferson County, 85
  4. Aucilla Christian, 92

Top Ten, Aucilla Christian Warrior Stampede High School Girls' 5K
  1. 19:44.32, Avery Calabro (Leon) 10
  2. 21:39.03, Lilli Unger (Leon) 10
  3. 21:39.79, Elizabeth Calabro (Leon) 11
  4. 22:26.21, Kendall Meyer (Chiles) 9
  5. 23:11.22, Ella Hodges (Chiles) 9
  6. 23:23.34, Maggie Boyd (Jefferson County) 12
  7. 23:32.59, Caroline Green (Chiles) 10
  8. 23:32.96, Elise Ferguson (Chiles) 9
  9. 24:07.77, Taylor Stephens (Chiles) 12
  10. 24:10.31, Lauren Zhu (Leon) 11

Warrior Stampede winners, 2014 - 2018

DateTeam ChampIndividual Champ
18 October 2014Chiles, 3517:25, Jacob Kemp (Chiles) 12
19 September 2015Maclay, 2317:16, Clay Milford (Maclay) 9
1 October 2016Wakulla, 3016:58, Timothy Choe (Suwannee) 11
10 October 2018Chiles, 2216:55, Clay Milford (Chiles) 12
DateTeam ChampIndividual Champ
18 October 2014Maclay, 2519:48, Haleigh Martin (Wakulla) 10
19 September 2015Maclay, 2920:11, Caroline Willis (Maclay) 11
1 October 2016St. Johns Country Day, 3319:27, Haleigh Martin (Wakulla) 12
10 October 2018Leon, 2819:45, Avery Calabro (Leon) 10


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