It’s our good fortune that Hagerty coach Jay Getty was born just a middle initial (P.) away from ever having to work for a living. We shudder at the possibility of America’s loss of his unique landscape artistry. Fortunately, by dawn’s early light, those in attendance at this invitational were treated to his newest creation: A Presidential Run. Accents in red (spray painted tree roots), white (directional arrows) and blue (boundary flags and lines) stood in stark contrast to freshly sheared grass (feel free to insert a partisan statement here). Lots of twists and turns (to emphasize the current political atmosphere), and water everywhere (a sublime hint at our current fiscal situation), were a patriotic reminder to the runners in attendance, that we are, one and all, Americans right down to our soles. (Someone please cue in a John Philip Sousa march.)
All kidding aside, the man is a genius for turning a relatively small, angular chunk of land into an exciting, spectator-friendly, three loop cross country course that, for many, has become the highlight of the season.
“When I did the 2A Districts, one of the coaches commented, ‘It was nice for you to travel to the Nationals, but you didn’t have to paint this course like it was San Diego,’” Getty said afterwards.
Jay Getty, who formerly coached at Oviedo (1991-2004), came over to Hagerty when they started the new school.
“My assistant, Scott Warsaman, became the coach there. There’s still a great camaraderie between the two Oviedo schools, although separated by six miles. We train together during the summer. They (the kids) are all great friends.”
Someday, perhaps in the not too distant future, Getty might be convinced to follow in the footsteps of legendary golfers who have lent their name to that other type of course. I can almost see his name immortalized on a roadside billboard: “The Hills at Zephyr, designed by Jay Getty. If you trained here, you could be running in the low 16’s.”
What’s Brantley without a Lake beside it?
I won’t go so far as to say that the Lake Brantley boys had an unfair advantage, but it would seem that every time junior Ryan Jones and freshman Abanob Faraq went around the lake that separated the start and finish, they shifted gears on the field.
First the varsity race.
“The first mile, I wanted to see how the pack would sort out and how fast the pace would be,” explained Jones. “In the second mile, I had a lead and figured that I could put some distance on the field.”
On the other hand, Deigo Blanton (Lake Mary; could that be a coincidence?) had a similar plan: “I was going for the win. I was trying to stay up in the lead for as long as possible.
“About a mile and a half, he (Jones) took off with that Oviedo kid (David Parsons, fourth in 17:12) and I lost him, by about 60 or 70 meters. In the third mile, I really started to pick it up. (At one point) my coach said that I was six seconds behind him. I tried to catch him, but it was too late.”
Despite the ample mud and many turns, Jones’s 16:47 was fast enough, not only to win it, but to eclipse his PR of 16:50 set at--where else--Lake Brantley.
“I’ve been injured--my knee--and I probably missed a week and a half of good training, and two races,” explained Jones. “I’ve been trying to push through some workouts…a lot of icing…and try to get some feeling for racing; to keep a good stride going. Today, it was challenging. You had to put more speed in on the turns, and stay on your feet.”
TEAM RESULTS: Both Hagerty (50) and Oviedo(53) were leading Astronaut (54) through the first four places. However, Astronaut freshman Zachary Shaver (25th place in18:14) launched his team into first place. Final results: Astronaut 79 (6-10-15-23-25-29-33), Oviedo 88 (3-4-14-32-35-37-39), and Hagerty 98 (8-12-13-17-48-50-85). 99 athletes ran for 15 teams.
A Varsity Time in the Boys JV
Abanob Faraq’s first comment to me was “I thought I did bad,” but you had to keep listening to follow his reasoning. “I didn’t have anyone to pace off of.”
That might be because his finish time of 18:34 was 39 seconds better than anyone else in his race, a time that would have put him in the top third of the varsity race, and fourth for his team.
His closest competitor was junior Ryan Shikada of Bishop Moore.
“In the first mile (where he was about 10 seconds behind the eventual winner), he really started to pull ahead,” said Shikada, who had to be content with his second place finish (19:13).
“It started out pretty good,” continued Faraq, “ I ran 5:30, then 11:30, but in the last mile my stomach hurt. I thought another kid was behind me. I kept hearing ‘steps.’ A couple of times I looked back, but no one was there. Nobody.”
That’s one experience that rarely happens to a runner, so take some advice and enjoy it for a week.
TEAM RESULTS: Bishop Moore’s win (2-8-9-11-13-18-20 for 43 points) over Hagerty (3-10-12-16-30-34-44 for 71 points) set the trend for the day, as that was the order for these teams for three of the four races. There were 10 teams and 105 finishers.
Footprints, but no Footsteps, in the Girls Varsity
If there were any footsteps to be heard in her race, Hagerty’s Shannon Compher didn’t seem to be aware of them.
“I always go out in a 5:50,” said the senior. “It was 5:53 (today). I had no one to push me until the last mile.
“At flrunners (where she finished fourth in 19:20), I had someone to push me until the last mile, where everyone started to break. (Here) I had a bigger lead in the beginning, but I led the whole way.”
Her main (only?) competition came from Lauren Lundberg, who won her Large School race at flrunners (a different race than Compher’s) .
“I tried to hold back a little in the first mile. I went out a little bit too fast last week. I’m trying to find the right splits to run. Plus, we had pretty hard workouts this week, but I’ll be ready for the districts. Sure, it’s a little frustrating. Your teammates want you to win, but I’m a team player. I’ll be ready to win when it counts the most. We’ll have the conference meet here. The district meet is in Deland.”
Oddly, Compher didn’t see the course, which is about as close to a home course for her as you can get, as an advantage.
“I felt that it was a disadvantage. It had different vibes than the flrunners course. It felt like a practice.”
Hagerty must have some pretty intense practices.
TEAM RESULTS: Tied after three, Hagerty (1-7-11-18-21-36-37 for 58 points) was out-Sara-ed by Bishop Moore (4-5-10-16-17-22-47 for 52 points), when juniors Sara Finnegan (16th in 22:14) and Sara Kupiszewski (17th in 22:17) squeezed in ahead of Hagerty’s fourth girl (18th in 22:18). There were 80 runners on 13 teams.
A First Win in the Girls JV
In studying the results of the Girls JV race, it would seem that Ana Cuello, a sophomore at Bishop Moore, must have some kick, and her team a strong dose of good luck.
“I just wanted to get a good time, so I just went out fast and gave it my best,” she said at the end of the chute. “I was third after Lake Highland and Hagerty. I caught her (Louise Yegev, second in 23:21) at the start of the third mile.”
Finishing with one last sprint, Cuello’s final time (22:57) turned out to be a 24 second margin of victory.
“I always sprint in the last 600 yards.”
TEAM RESULTS: After eliminating a bunch of runners from schools without a full team, Bishop Moore scored five in the top ten (1-4-6-7-9-16-17) to win with 27. Hagerty was a strong second with 46 (3-5-11-13-14-19-22). There were seven full teams and 68 finishers.
Footnotes: Many thanks to Chris (of Steeple Timing) and Coach Getty for following me all over the place with result sheets and responses to other informational requests stuffed into their pockets. Trying to watch the race, take photos, and interview athletes, all at the same time, can be pretty hectic, but their help at least made this Saturday morning a little less stressful….And the team spirit award goes to Luther Davis’s Lake Mary squad, all of whom were on hand to cheer on their team mate, Maria Rivera, as she finished the Girls JV race. Cups of water in hand, and screaming encouragement so loud that it made my hair stand on end, I was convinced that Maria was the first finisher of the day. (See photo of a LM finisher, all smiles, surrounded by "the red squad."