Scouting Report: Niceville Boys

Niceville's Thomas Howell (pictured below) recorded the second fastest time of the 2012 Cross Country Finals (15:19.64) regardless of class. The 3A state champion made history winning the first individual cross country title for the school. His counterpart Nick Morken crossed the line in third showing the rest of the state the potent 1-2 punch. After Howell and Morken, the Eagle's highest finisher was Caden Ewing in 100th. Coach Sherman Eller says there was disappointment with the team's 12th place showing, seven points away from their goal of top ten. Howell and Morken are back again for their senior season's and looking to bring home even more hardware back to North Florida. The team is made up of a strong senior class that also includes, Caden Ewing, Jack Massey, Jake Fiske, and Tripp Davis. Sophomore Elijah Schneidewind rounds out the top seven.

The outdoor track and field season proved to be just as successful for Howell and Morken. Both were members of the fifth place 4x800 meter relay that included Massey and Davis. Howell then went onto win his second state championship of the year, a 3200 meter title, in a time of 9:34.67 which was five seconds faster than his nearest competitor. Not to be outdone, Morken picked up a first place medal edging out Belen Jesuit's Avery Lopez in the 1600 meters with at ime of 4:23.79.

This summer, seven of the top ten boys attended Nike Camp at UNC-Asheville. Coach Eller, who also has a great deal of help from coach Tom Durrenberger came away very pleaced with the squad's summer conditioning and where they are at at this point with their training.  Young depth is a strength for the Eagles as they have a slew of freshman waiting in the wings and one or two capable of cracking the top ten. Tristan Hamer (4:56 1500m FLYRA MS State), Kyle Ferris (11:22 3000m FLYRA MS State, 12:18 2 mile County MS Championships, 3rd Place), James Underwood (12:52 2 Mile County MS Championships, 10th Place) could be names to watch in the future for this team. Niceville is currently ranked fifth in our preseason team rankings. Howell looks like the favorite with Morken right there in the top three. If the team is to move up, they need to get more production out of their 3-5 runners. A 1-5 split of 2:12.28 is the third worst out of the top 13 projected teams. 

Coach Eller Says...

"The very first thing we said after state last year, was “wait ‘til next year”. We have nine of our top ten coming back with a solid core of incoming freshman. Five of our top seven could be Senior’s (last time this happened was 2010 when the boys finished 4th at State). Our region is like a state neet, so we have to focus on the final two weeks of the season and use the front half of the season as training and stepping stones to our goal. Our goal is very simple, a top five finish at State. We have lightning in a bottle with Howell and Morken and we need to take advantage of this to excel this season as a team."
Top Returner's Times (Previous Season)

Boys 5,000 Meter Run (5k)
15:19.64 Howell, Thomas FHSAA Cross Country State Finals 2012-11-17
15:30.00 Morken, Nicholas Foot Locker South Regional 2012-11-24
16:46.68 Ewing, Caden FHSAA 3A Region 1 2012-11-10
17:01.10 Massey, Jack Panhandle Championship 2012-10-20

Boys 3,200 Meter Run
9:26.58 Howell, Thomas FSU Relays 2012-03-22

Boys 1,600 Meter Run
4:23.68 Morken, Nicholas FHSAA 3A Outdoor State Finals 2012-05-04
4:26.48 Howell, Thomas FSU Relays 2012-03-22
4:56.75 Ewing, Caden FHSAA 3A District 1 2012-04-19
5:04.49 Davis, Tripp Rutherford Ram Relays 2012-03-10

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