Friday, October 4, 2019

Patrick Koon and Kyra Swart lead their teams to Leon County Schools cross-country titles

Late summer and early autumn of 2019 was a time of drought in Tallahassee, Florida. But even as leaves drooped and lawns turned brown, Leon County Schools' middle school cross-country season went on, and with not a single race canceled due to rain. All six meets on the schedule were run, and for the first time an athlete won six races in a season. Patrick Koon, a Fairview eighth-grader, got his record-setting sixth win of the season in the boys' 3K at the LCS League Championship at Apalachee Regional Park on Thursday evening, 3 October 2019. Koon and the Fairview boys scored 33 points in that race to take the League team title. In the girls' 3K, the Deerlake Bucks scored 35 points to become League champions, led by the first-place finish of Buck sixth-grader Kyra Swart.

Kyra Swart
Kyra Swart

Swart had won the two races immediately before the Championship Meet, but the first three races of the season had belonged to Skye Williams, a Montford eighth-grader. The girls raced first at the Championship, their three-kilometer event starting at 6:00 PM. 800 meters into the race, Swart and Williams were in a lead pack that also included Deerlake eighth-graders Ella Holman and Leah Kiros. Each of the four leader had run at Apalachee Regional Park in the season opener, the ARPXC Invitational, on 29 August 2019. Swart felt she had learned a little about the course since then. It was a different race.

"I feel like it was a little harder because I went out faster and attacked the uphills more," said Swart. "Now I definitely know where the uphills and downhills are out here."

Skye Williams, Kyra Swart, Ella Holman, Leah Kiros
Lead pack at 800 meters

Midway through the race, Swart broke away.

"It was probably near the mile mark again," said Swart.

Ella Holman
Ella Holman

With a kilometer to go, Holman was still within a few steps of Swart, but everyone else was much farther back. Williams, fading rapidly, would end up tenth in 13:10. But Swart continued to pull away, ultimately winning the Championship by just over 100 meters in 12:17, more than half a minute faster than the 12:56 she had posted in the August race. Holman took second in 12:35. Swift Creek eighth-grader Elizabeth Kessler was third in 12:45. In a battle of Montford seventh-graders, Aditi Mukhirala edged Clara Thompson for fourth, 12:50 to 12:51.

The Deerlake girls ended up with four Buck in the top ten, with Leah Kiros sixth in 12:57 and seventh-grader Callie Byington eighth in 13:04. Sixth-grader Madeline Morris was the fifth scorer for Deerlake, giving her squad 35 points and the team title. It was the first League Championship for the Deerlake girls since 2014.

Elizabeth Kessler
Elizabeth Kessler

The Montford girls were second with 44 points. Swift Creek, the 2018 League Champions, were third with 55 points.

Girls' Team Standings, Leon County Schools 2019 Middle School Cross-Country Championship
  1. Deerlake, 36
  2. Montford, 44
  3. Swift Creek, 55
  4. Raa, 94
  5. Cobb, 135
  6. Fairview, 173
  7. Fort Braden, 225
2019 Deerlake Middle School girls' cross-country team
Deerlake Girls

Top Ten Girls, Leon County Schools 2019 Middle School Cross-Country Championship
  1. 12:16.26, Kyra Swart (Deerlake) 6
  2. 12:34.46, Ella Holman (Deerlake) 8
  3. 12:44.86, Elizabeth Kessler (Swift Creek) 8
  4. 12:49.15, Aditi Mukhirala (Montford) 7
  5. 12:50.28, Clara Thompson (Montford) 7
  6. 12:56.88, Leah Kiros (Deerlake) 8
  7. 13:01.60, Ava Jones (Swift Creek) 8
  8. 13:03.97, Callie Byington (Deerlake) 7
  9. 13:08.58, Cecilia Veliz (Raa) 6
  10. 13:09.30, Skye Williams (Montford) 8

"Rance did amazing," said Patrick Koon. "He really helped us, finishing third."

Ranceeson Grace
Rance Grace

Ranceeson Grace had run well. The Fairview eighth-grader had been the third or fourth scorer for his team all season, and had even broken into the top ten a few times. But at the League Championship, when it really counted, Grace took third, giving the Falcons the first three places in the race and sparking a narrow 33 to 35 victory over the runners-up from Deerlake.

After the first 800 meters, the field up front looked like most of the earlier races of the season. Patrick Koon was well out front, with Fairview eighth-grader Justin Greenwood holding down second. Montford eighth-grader Jackson Rowe was running third. Except for the runner being a bit farther apart, that hadn't changed at the two-kilometer mark. What had changed was that Grace was right behind Rowe.

Patrick Koon
Patrick Koon

With less than 400 meters to go, Koon had first nailed down. He would go on to win in 10:08, his fastest time of the season and just off the 10:07 posted by Wyatt Townsend in the 2018 League Championship. Greenwood kept the runner-up spot, running 10:44, ten seconds faster than he had run at ARPXC in August.

Grace, meanwhile, was trailing Rowe, with Deerlake eighth-graders Cade Swart and Brooks Bowden coming up behind them. On the homestretch, Grace kicked past Rowe, grabbing third place with a 10:50 to Rowe's 10:51. Koon, Greenwood, and Grace had taken the first three places.

Justin Greenwood
Justin Greenwood

Deerlake, though, came roaring back. After Rowe, the Bucks took the next five places with Cade Swart fifth in 10:53, Brooks Bowden sixth in 11:01, seventh-grader Danny Mauldin seventh in 11:03, eighth-grader Davis McNeely eighth in 11:06, and eighth-grader Jonah Blay ninth in 11:06. Teams don't often lose when they put five runners in the top ten, but they don't always win either. Fairview's last two scorers were eighth graders Enijah Thomas (13th, 11:27) and Keno Rivers (14th, 11:32), giving the Falcons 33 points and the Championship. After titles in 2017 and 2018, Deerlake was second with 35 points. Montford was third in the seven-team field with 94 points.

"I came out here last week to work on angles on the course," said Koon. Clearly, he had left little up to chance at the Championship.

"I ran more consistent this time," said Koon. "I ran 5:24 for the first mile and 5:28 for the rest of the race."

Jackson Rowe
Jackson Rowe

The League Championship marks the end of the regular season, but Koon is already eyeing the post season.

"I just have to work till State," said Koon. "Then after that that I'm going to Foot Locker South in Charlotte. FSU Invitational? I'm going to that."

For Kyra Swart, her first cross-country season is probably over.

"I'm picking up track in January with Deerlake," said Swart. "And I'm playing soccer for Deerlake, too."

Boys' Team Standings, Leon County Schools 2019 Middle School Cross-Country Championship
  1. Fairview, 33
  2. Deerlake, 35
  3. Montford, 94
  4. Swift Creek, 104
  5. Raa, 122
  6. Cobb, 167
  7. Fort Braden, 186
  8. Griffin, NTS
2019 Fairview Middle School boys' cross-country team
Fairview Boys

Top Ten Boys, Leon County Schools 2019 Middle School Cross-Country Championship
  1. 10:07.53, Patrick Koon (Fairview) 8
  2. 10:43.67, Justin Greenwood (Fairview) 8
  3. 10:49.04, Ranceeson Grace (Fairview) 8
  4. 10:50.58, Jackson Rowe (Montford) 8
  5. 10:52.32, Cade Swart (Deerlake) 8
  6. 11:00.19, Brooks Bowden (Deerlake) 8
  7. 11:02.36, Danny Mauldin (Deerlake) 7
  8. 11:05.51, Davis McNeely (Deerlake) 8
  9. 11:05.81, Jonah Blay (Deerlake) 8
  10. 11:06.09, Asher Robertson (Swift Creek) 7

2019 Leon County Schools
Middle School Cross-Country Season Summary
MeetTeam ChampIndividual Champ
ARPXC (Story)
29 August 2019
Montford, 4012:44, Skye Williams (Montford) 8
Fort Braden (Story)
5 September 2019
Montford, 4612:58, Skye Williams (Montford) 8
Everhart (Story)
12 September 2019
Montford, 3112:29, Skye Williams (Montford) 8
Mustang (Story)
19 September 2019
Deerlake, 4013:03, Kyra Swart (Deerlake) 6
Falcon (Story)
26 September 2019
Swift Creek, 4412:31, Kyra Swart (Deerlake) 6
Championship (Story)
3 October 2019
Deerlake, 3612:17, Kyra Swart (Deerlake) 6
MeetTeam ChampIndividual Champ
ARPXC (Story)
29 August 2019
Fairview, 41
10:32, Patrick Koon (Fairview) 8
Fort Braden (Story)
5 September 2019
Deerlake, 3210:27, Patrick Koon (Fairview) 8
Everhart (Story)
12 September 2019
Fairview, 3910:12, Patrick Koon (Fairview) 8
Mustang (Story)
19 September 2019
Deerlake, 3610:54, Patrick Koon (Fairview) 8
Falcon (Story)
26 September 2019
Fairview, 3010:11, Patrick Koon (Fairview) 8
Championship (Story)
3 October 2019
Fairview, 3310:08, Patrick Koon (Fairview) 8

Leon County Schools Middle School Cross-Country Championships
Apalachee Regional Park, 2010 - 2019
DateTeam ChampIndividual Champ
6 October 2010Raa, 3213:34, Rebecca Clendinen (Raa) 8
28 September 2011Swift Creek, 3113:24, Zoe Sheldon (Swift Creek) 7
26 September 2012Swift Creek, 3612:49, Audrey Dogan (Raa) 8
2 October 2013Swift Creek, 4313:00, Ana Wallace (Deerlake) 8
1 October 2014Deerlake, 3612:12, Lawton Campbell (Deerlake) 8
7 October 2015Swift Creek, 3512:08, Emily Molen (Deerlake) 8
5 October 2016Montford, 4413:33, Paige Churchill (Swift Creek) 6
4 October 2017Swift Creek, 2713:14, Paige Churchill (Swift Creek) 7
4 October 2018Swift Creek, 2812:04, Paige Churchill (Swift Creek) 8
3 October 2019Deerlake, 3612:17, Kyra Swart (Deerlake) 6
DateTeam ChampIndividual Champ
6 October 2010Raa, 2411:35, Wil Luca (Raa) 8
28 September 2011Raa, 5811:42, Evan Francis (Raa) 8
26 September 2012Montford, 5611:49, Matthew Cashin (Raa) 8
2 October 2013Montford, 3711:19, Jacob Dodson (Raa) 8
1 October 2014Fairview, 4411:59, Tavaris King (Griffin) 8
7 October 2015Montford, 5011:34, Nile Bryant (Raa) 8
5 October 2016Swift Creek, 4411:38, Weston Blake (Swift Creek) 8
4 October 2017Deerlake, 5011:31, Ben Kirbo (Montford) 8
4 October 2018Deerlake, 3810:07, Wyatt Townsend (Deerlake) 8
3 October 2019Fairview, 3310:08, Patrick Koon (Fairview) 8
Note: LCS held middle-school cross-country championships before 2010.
This table summarizes the history of the championship at ARPXC.



  1. Thanks for such great articles and pictures all season long, Herb!