In one of the most anticipated races of the night at the Distance Carnival hosted by West Orange High School on Saturday night, the fast section of the boys 3200 meter run delivered with a thrilling finish between two of the best distance runners in the Tampa Bay area between Plant senior Ryan Maney and Berkeley Prep senior Ethan Lipham.
Lipham had made a breakaway move from the field and Maney after hitting the 1600 meter split in 4:43 with a two second advantage on Maney leading the chase pack in 4:45. With a lap to go, the 2A All-State cross country runner Lipham still had a three second lead on the 4A All-State cross country runner Maney and the rest of the field.
Maney started up his kick at the bell to try and reel Lipham in on the final 400 meters and caught him with 200 meters to go. It appeared that Maney may be able to pull away for the win coming off the final turn, but Lipham pulled a counter move with a late outside push to nearly nip Maney at the line in a thriller. Both runners were timed in new personal best times and separated by only a thousand of a second with Maney being declared the winner at 9:22.05 and Lipham as the runner-up at 9:22.06.
It was a 11 second improvement for Maney, who had ran 9:33 during his sophomore year of the outdoor season two springs ago but was limited last spring due to injury. Maney has one more race this cross country season left in the tank as he plans to chase after the H.B. Plant High School cross country 5K school record of 15:28 when he competes at The RunningLane National Championships on December 4th in Huntsville, Alabama. His current 5K PR sits at 15:31.