Derek Wehunt lead the race for two miles, hitting the mile split in 4:49 and then 9:48 for two miles. Then he hit the wall. He was over taken at that point and had a rough last mile, just struggling to keep moving forward. He finished almost 50 seconds behind Matt Mizereck, who won with a new course record time of 15:17.
Two weeks ago Michael Wallace was stunned after his performance at Bale-n-Trail that was well short of expectations--especially his own. Last week he got a huge confidence booster at Great American in Alabama where he attacked the hillacious course and finished in third against star out of state competitors with a time of 16:00. With that monkey off his back, he was able to excel today and earned the second place spot ahead of Brian Atkinson, who had beat him by about 40 seconds two weeks ago. Wallace finished in 15:21 and Atkinson in 15:26. Both would have previouslly been course records prior to today. Mizereck's teammate Will Stanford continued to shine with a time of 15:29.
There were so many great individual performances, but to call out a couple who really stepped up and surprised many: Jon Lanning of Sarasota 15:41 (6th) and Colin Barker of Bishop Kenny 15:47 (8th).
Belen Jesuit won the team title, as expected, with 113 points. Columbus did not have the day that they had hoped for and many expected, falling to fourth place. Melbourne and Bishop Kenny beat out Columbus for those second and third slots. Melbourne was 32 points out of first. Tampa Jesuit rounded out the top five.
Kathryn Fluehr of Community School held of Lily Williams of Chiles 18:01 to 18:09, that ordered was echoed in the team standings with Community School out pacing Chiles 65-09.
My dark horse call Stephanie Schappert came through big with another huge PR time of 18:21. Congrats to that tenacious young lady! And thanks for making me look smart, Stephanie. :-)
Community School's team average of 18:44 on this relatively difficult course (by Florida standards at least) should hopefully finally get the team the attention that they deserve nationally. Many are grumbling that they haven't been ranked in either NXN's Southeast or National rankings. After proving themselves several times against other great teams thsi year already, they should finally get that attention they deserve. Chiles, meanwhile, also looked impressive in their own right with an 18:58 team average. Jodie McGuff stepped it up for them to give them even more depth (as if they needed it) and normal #3 Kaia Hampton had an off day. It's a shame there won't likely be a rematch this year between these two teams because the result could very well be different on a different day!
Winter Park edged out Bishop Kenny for third 129-131. And Bolles had a huge day, keeping Lourdes out of the top five!
Boys Large School
No surprise, Timber Creek wins big with 99 points and a 17:14 team average. Flagler Palm Coast was second.
Josh Wolfe of South Lake won the individual title in 16:35.
Girls Large School
Melbourne wins over Ft. Walton Beach 76-113 with a 20:18 average. They were helped by 1-2 finishes by Vanessa Valetine and Helen Mann, 19:27 and 19:34.
Boys Small School
Patrick Swain lead Maclay to victory with 61 points on his 16:34 victory that he squeaked out over Hernando's Joe Wright. Bolles finished second in the team standings, anchored by James Macrae who finished third in 16:45.
Girls Small School
Jana Stolting (Maclay) had another stellar performance, winning easily in 18:14. Stephanie Strasser (Fernandina Beach) was second 18:41 and Olivia Papa (Trinity Prep) broke 19-minutes for the first time in 18:55--big milestone for her.
Creekside won the team title easily, as expected with 75 points. Northside Christian was second 50 points back.
MORE TO COME!