Interview: Caroline Wells - Girls 3200m Champ
What a night of racing and great atmosphere experienced on Friday evening at Satellite High School Beach in Satellite, Florida for the Set Goals Not Limits Distance Showcase.
Where to start? Let's just start from the meet beginning to end with the girls' races.
Race Video: Girls 800m Fast Section (#4)
In the girls 800, Krystal Rodriguez from Coral Reef High School proved to be the class of the field without anyone truly willing to go with her. The Oklahoma State commit had gapped the field by the first 200 meters and rolled thru the first 400 meters close to 63 seconds.
Interview: Krystal Rodriguez - Girls 800m Champ
Despite the wind and no one around her to help cut it, Rodriguez finished strong to just miss taking over possession of the state leaderboard in the event with a 2:12.91 victory. The current state leading time is 2:12.80 by Jessica Edwards. Second place in the race behind Rodriguez was a socially distant one in Sarasota senior Marissa Kempf at 2:21.81.
Race Video: Girls 1600m Fast Section (#6)
Rodriguez showed some guts and toughness to show up less than an hour later on the starting line for the seeded section of the girls 1600. Rodriguez faced off with Haley Thornton, a sophomore at Palm Harbor University, who has had an outstanding outdoor season including 4:55 and 4:56 performances for her last two 1600 meter races heading into Friday's meet.
Interview: Haley Thornton - Girls 1600m Champ
Thornton led the way throughout with Rodriguez able to hang tough on her heels for the majority of the race going 71 seconds for 400 meters, 2:26 for 800 meters, 3:44 for 1200 meters until Thornton was able to separate in the final 200 meters, but just miss out on her third sub 5-minute race of the season in a 5:00.02 victory.
The times were certainly slowed across the board due to the intense winds circulating around the track. Rodriguez doubled back impressively to grab second place in a time of 5:04.01, while Grace Marston of Lakewood Ranch closed well for a 5:07 third-place effort.
Race Video: Girls 3200m Fast Section (#3)
Like Rodriguez, Thornton also showed a willingness to come back and jump in a second race as the 1600 meter winner was back in the fast section of the girls' 3200-meter run. The race was another opportunity for Winter Springs junior Caroline Wells to improve upon and break her recently set Florida outdoor state record in the girls 3200 at 10:10 from the Lake Mary Invitational.
As a model of consistency, Wells would end up running 10:10 again and only a few tenths of a second off recent personal best in much less ideal conditions than her first 10:10 effort. She certainly ran fearlessly going out in 71 seconds for the first 400 meters and hitting 800 meters in 2:24, while going thru 1600 meters even faster than her last race at 4:56. Only 7 seconds off her 1600 meter PR of 4:49 with her torrid early pace.
Wells would hit a wall and slow down slightly over the final four laps splitting 79, 78, 79, and 76 seconds to finish with a time of 10:10.72. The performance shows her race a few weeks ago was not a one-time fluke and likely if she gets in a race with more competition to push her late and better weather conditions can chase after a time closer to 10 minutes flat.
Chasing after her early on but quickly distanced were the 1600 meter champion Haley Thornton and Boca Raton's Pia Beaulieu as they hit the halfway point in 5:20. Beaulieu would fall back eventually to ninth place overall at the finish, while Thornton (2nd, 10:46) was joined by Circle Christian School's Sinkenesh Parker (3rd, 10:48) in the battle for second over the final 1600 meters.