FLORIDA YOUTH RUNNING ASSOCIATION
FLYRA Middle School State Cross Country Championship
When: Nov. 3rd, 2012
Where: Holloway Park, Lakeland, FL
Registration Closes: Oct. 30, 2012, Midnight
Entry Fee: $10/athlete, $100 max per school
XC Meet Recap
Great weather and a great atmosphere led to a very successful Middle School XC Championship State Meet at SAN LAN RV in Lakeland, Florida. The Girls race was won by Pre-race favorite Emma Rudman from Liza Jackson MS in 10:54.5 followed by Michaela Ashley from Surfside MS in 10:57.4 with Alexa Cruz from Miami Elite finishing 3rd in 11:05.1.
Lake City MS claimed the Girls team trophy placing 5 in the top 10 with 31 points (3,4,6,8,10). Liza Jackson Prep placed 2nd with 57 points (1,5,7,20,24).
The Boys race saw the meet record fall by Brandon Marquez from Avalon MS. Brandon remains undefeated running sub 10 for the win in 9:50.8. Daniel Dean from Hillsborough River finished 2nd in 10:11.4 and Nic Jacobsen finished 3rd in 10:16.6. Brandon moved up smartly during the race and pushed through to the finish to claim the championship.
The Boys Team Championship was won by Destin Middle School with 59 points (3,7,12,14,23). Finishing in 2nd was Ammons MS scoring 104 (1,15,20,33,35).
Read more about it at DistancePreps.com.
Often in life things have a way of working themselves out for the good, even in ways that were not intended or not expected. Such is the case with this year's second annual FLYRA Middle School State Championship. Originally scheduled to be held at Sun 'n' Fun (where it was last year), the organization had a last minute monkey wrench thrown in the works that landed them instead at the former phosphate mine known as San Lan.
And what a beautiful setting it was! With hard packed grown, some rolling elevation, beautiful ponds and streams, canopied paths, plenty of shade (not that we needed it today), and lots of green in every direction.
Temperatures in the sixties welcomed athletes and teams from the far reaches of the state to Lakeland on an absolutely prestine day for running.
Emma Rudman traveled all the way down from the Panhandle with her Liza Jackson Prep team, which finished second, and led the girls race from the near the gun. She sensed footsteps throughout the race from Michaela Ashley and Alexa Cruz, but (despite a strong closing kick from Ashley) they never crept much closer than several steps from the well-spoken and bubbly eighth-grader.
Rudman crossed the line with a fantastic personal best time of 10:54--which she was proud to say matched her state championship track time for the same distance--boding well for the coming season. Michaela Ashley also dipped under 11-minutes with a 10:57 time. Cruz (11:05), Julie Montgomery (11:14), and Maura Rose Poling (11:14) rounded out the top five.
Lake City Middle school's girls team were mighty impressive with their five runners in the top sixteen overall--and top ten by scoring points--to dominate the team competition with just 31 points for the championship. Liza Jackson was second in 57 and Maclay edged out Ammons Middle for third 94-96.
The battle for the boys lead was a tight one... at least for the first K of the race. Brandon Marquez of Avalon MS (Orlando) and Nic Jacobsen of St. Andrews were battling pretty hard for the first kilometer. Marquez found Jacobsen up on his shoulder and did his best to fight off the charging Scots runner, who anchored his team to a second place finish in the high school district meet just two days before.
At that point, the next race took over. It was a man versus machine battle that harkens back the old tall tale of John Henry vs. the steam engine. This go-around fared better for Marquez and put a W back in the human category.
After passing Jacobsen and gaining separation leading up to the 2K mark, Marquez set his sights on the lead golf cart. Slowly he closed the gap, around winding and bumpy trails in the back side of the course--out of touch with the fan base waiting back near the home stretch. After the race Brandon said he was using the cart to set his pace and finally saw his chance and surged around the lead vehicle we were riding in and never looked back!
Marquez went on to win soundly by over 20 seconds in 9:50.80... a huge personal best. The future Timber Creek HS runner went through the mile mark in a quick 5:02 and became the first middle school under 10-minutes in Florida this season for 3K.
Riding in the lead cart, I told the driver "let him go" as Marquez took off and then we got to see the next great battle of Jacobsen vs. Daniel Dean of Hillsborough Harriers. Dean caught Jacobsen around the 2K mark and the two went back and forth for the remainder of the race.
Dean finally got the best of Jacobsen, feeling strained in his hips from the muddy race two days earlier, and Dean, the future Chamberlain runner (who finished second at the Pre-State middle school race, also to Marquez) took it home with a strong kick to finish runner-up in 10:11. Jacobsen held on for a 10:16, with Henry Colwell of Amons (10:24) and Stephen Fedec of Lexington Middle (10:27) rounding out the top five.
Destin Middle school came away with the boys team championship. The Marlins scored just 59 points, out-pacing Ammons Middle (104) and Oasis Charter (141).
The final race of the day, the Developmental Division, finished with some flair. Central Florida Gliders teammates Jackson Boucher and Joey Fitzpatrick kicked down the home-stretching coming up shoulder to shoulder before Boucher finally got the better of his teammate. The future Winter Park Wildcat finished in 10:27.40, just five tenths of a second faster than Fitzpatrick.
Marisa Ashley of Harry-Potter-sounding Patronis Middle School was the first female finisher in the mixed race with a 12:33 and Jenna Fedec was second in 12:47.
Great day! Great meet! Congrats and thanks to all the kids, coaches, and parents for being a part of it and celebrating our young runners!
By Jason Byrne (flrunners.com)