Ft. Walton Beach sweeps both varsity team titles. Ivy Chastain of FWB and Thomas Howell of Niceville win individual titles.
The morning fog was so thick you could barely see 10 feet in front of you. It hovered across the starting line as the boys invitational runners lined up for their race. Then “bang”. The starter’s gun went off. Slowly, white, red, green and maroon colored jerseys appeared in the distance. Spectators began to get their first glimpse of the runners they were there to cheer for. Niceville’s Thomas Howell took the early lead and was looking very strong as he led the pack down the hill back into the fog.
Ask a runner what makes them good at their event and you will get varied answers, but one answer for sure was "no wind". The Tommy Oliver Stadium in Panama City is never lacking for a windy day. This year's North Florida Invitational was no exception.
The FSU Relays have always given us some thrilling races and this past weekend was no exception. The 3200 and the 1600 were both nail biting events.
The Rutherford Rams invitational had some great races and a couple of unexpected wins. The weather was almost perfect with temps in the 70s, but the wind played a huge factor for some of the longer distance events.
Ask any track runner what their favorite event is and many of them will tell you it is a relay race. Why? It is the excitement, the pressure, the teamwork. Relays are not just an individual effort. Each runner's performance will affect the results of the entire team.
Chiles girls, Washington boys win regional championships, with Lily Williams and Jimmy Clark winning individually.
Lily Williams of Chiles and John Hazelton of Leon win 3A District 1 individual titles. Williams' Chiles won the girls team title and Pensacola Washington took the boys championship.
At a cross country race, it is sometimes difficult to get every runner crossing the finish line. The slower runners who come in near or at the end are sadly missed in order to catch the start of the next event. As a photographer, I am always looking for the next best shot, something that really catches my eye, whether it is the perfect sunrise over the lake at the flrunners.com meet, or the chance to catch the fight for first place at the finish line. Recently, something did catch my eye and it wasn't at the finish line, or even close - Middle School runner, Seana Jones. If there is any runner who embodies what cross country is all about, Seana is it.
A cold morning gave way to some hot competition for the Okaloosa-Walton County Championships. As the ski caps and blankets were shed, runners put their game faces on, ready to meet the challenge ahead.
As the weather drops cooler, Patrick Swain of Maclay and Lily Williams of Chiles win individually.
They haven't yet invented the time machine, unfortunately. So just about the closest you can get to seeing into the future is attending a middle school cross country meet. And let me tell you, the future of high school cross country in Okaloosa County is so bright you need shades!
Great races up in Tallahassee with Estero pulling off the sweep with boys and girls titles, despite a great show of force by Holy Trinity. Julie Wollrath of Holy Trinity sets a course record of 17:49, defeating Estero's Kacy Smith. Max del Monte of Chamberlain wins a close one over Eduardo Garcia of Mandarin.
Rese Ammons was charged this weekend not with shooting the races, but with capturing the crowd, festival, and heart of the flrunners.com Invitational. Here is her take and her photos from the sidelines.
Hot and humid conditions did not seem to hinder the participants of the Gulf Coast Cross Country Stampede in Pensacola today. Runners pushed through the obstacles to complete their task, whether it was the heat or injury. Over 2500 photos posted.
A recurring theme seemed prevalent today among runners and coaches. Don't Quit. 22 Girls and boys teams from across the panhandle participated in the 38th annual Wildcat Invitational. They came ready to give it all they had and to not give up. OVER 1500 PHOTOS POSTED!
In what was the final regular season meet of the season for many teams in the area, the Capital City Classic hosted by Chiles was a success. Several meet records went down. Rese Ammons was there for flrunners.com and has over 1500 photos uploaded from the day. Meet summary article has been posted. And full results are up.
There was a lot of action this at this weekend's biggest meet and the FSU Relays in Tallahassee fortunately lived up the substantial hype it had built up. There were emotional highs and lows, like the Ft. Walton Beach boys 4x800 team. After running a would-be state pole position 8:06 last week at a small, unreported local meet they motivated to officially claim the #1 spot in the state with a big performance. After a good start, the baton was dropped and rolled into lane 5 seemingly dashing those hopes. But with a quick recovery and a quick leg, they pulled it off and claimed the position of new state leaders with a four second victory--the first sub 8 performance in Florida so far this year.
Fort Walton Beach High School hosted an exciting meet. The event started off with the 4x1600 meter relay in which both Fort Walton girls and boys not only won the event, but also new school records.
The biggest challenge at the Rutherford Rams Relays was the wind. Participants from 18 schools across the Florida Panhandle fought winds in excess of 20 miles per hour. Flrunners.com On-Site Coverage: Meet summary, complete results, and photos are posted!
Our Panhandle photographer, Rese Ammons, was on-site at Chiles on Saturday and brings us hundreds of photos and a meet summary article from Tallahassee. Complete results are also posted.
It was cold, it was muddy, it was cold! But what a way to end the season. The FACA Senior All Star meet in Tallahassee was enjoyable for both runners and spectators.
Chiles girls and Leon boys dominate. Check out Rese Ammon's on-site coverage for flrunners.com including a meet summary and over a thousand photos!
The course at Timberlake, which is a combination of clay and wooded trails and some small hills, was a familiar one to all the runners. It was a chilly, windy morning, but luckily the rain held off during the event. Earlier showers left the course damp, but not too muddy. The only rough area runners commented on was around the two mile mark where conditions were somewhat slippery. Participating teams included Baker High School, Choctaw High School, Crestview High School, Fort Walton Beach High School, Niceville High School, and Rocky Bayou School. Unfortunately, this is another course where spectators can only watch the start and the finish. Anxious parents and coaches lined up along the finish area waiting for the first sightings of their runners.
Teams arrived Saturday for the 20th annual Panhandle Championships dressed in sweat suits, ski caps, and some wrapped in blankets trying to keep warm. But, the chilly temps seemed to have little effect on the runners as they were all looking for a chance at the Panhandle Champion title. Over 700 participants were registered, including six middle school teams. The course was in excellent condition according race director and Marianna High School coach Allan Gibson. Despite the previous day's rain, there were hardly any muddy areas to slow runners down. In fact, a course record was broken in the Varsity Girls race.
The Southeast Cross Country Showdown 5K course at Veteran's Park in Hoover, AL, has been labeled one of the toughest courses in the country. Teams from all over Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee came to prove themselves and demonstrate stamina and dedication as a combination of a somewhat flat start, scenic wooded areas, and grueling hills provided runners with a challenge unlike any other course. Scattered rain showers throughout the day kept temperatures cool, but fortunately did not leave the course too muddy.
The weather couldn’t have been more perfect for the Annual Gulf Coast Cross Country Stampede at the Escambia County Equestrian Center in Pensacola, Florida. Participating teams came from around the panhandle and as far away as Alabama, Georgia and even Tennessee. The course, which is about 60% grass and 40% trail, is mostly flat and according to High School Varsity meet director and West Florida Tech High School Coach, Jeff Oliver, it was in great condition for the day’s events.