"This week's report from the Middle School Cross Country world" ... insert teletype sounds as heard in the forties on the news reels ...
On the south east side of town sits a large green and grassy area surrounded by woods and trails complete with a lake and a pond or two. Locals call this place Tom Brown Park. Today it was the location of the "Swift Creek Battle at 'The Brown'." For the second time this season the middle schools of Leon County gathered their most adept cross country runners, boys and girls, in one place to strut their stuff. Running in Tom Brown is challenging, as many of us endurance runners will tell you, and that is me plodding along at a 9 minute/mile or slower pace. These kids are racing, yes racing, over the same terrain at about 6.30 minute/mile or better without killing themselves. A lot of the course is not visible to the casual observer, but if you yourself run from "turn to turn" and you don't mind sweating you can see the runners at least 4 different times.
Colin's goal this week was simple: Break into the top ten. Nothing more; nothing less. He told me plain as day, "All I want to do this week, Mom, is make the top ten." "Okay," I said to him, "then you better pick a fast kid, and stay with him."
Fortunately for Colin, this meet starts in an open field where the kids have some room to spread out, and not on a track where each school is given only one lane to cram full of runners. No crowds to contend with, and only one fall near the start to avoid. He broke well, came through the first turn in 11th, and when I saw him next on the trails, he was in 8th. He had some left at the finish and sprinted in from a good 100 yards out.
He had a great run, and a wonderful finish. He had picked the fast kids, and refused to let them out of his sight. Now, that's how you achieve a goal: Set one that is first attainable; have a plan; and stick to it.
The girls were wicked fast this week. Cece Williams (2nd place last week) blazed in first at just about 12 minutes. Rachel, last week's winner, followed closely behind at just over 12 minutes. She was followed by Lia Lombardi (3rd last week) and just a bit later Camille from Raa and Ursula from Raa were soon in. I honestly don't remember the rest of the top ten girls, but my photos (to be inserted later) will help to jog my memory I am sure.
Top Five Girls
2nd - Rachel Givens, Raa
3rd - Lia Lombardi, Deerlake
4th - Camille Baker, Raa
5th - Jessica Beyer, Raa
6th - Ursula McPherson-Vitkus, Raa
I was told that the boys were a bit off the pace this week-not by much, but no less fabulous to watch. And, in the end, it seems they all beat last week's times. Will Henderson held onto the Boys' First place for a second week in a row as his teammate Cameron Wong (The Amazin' Blazin' Asian - a nickname he enjoys, by-the-way) screamed in for second place and then Scott Fortier of Swift Creek. Colin and a fourth Raa runner, Wil Luca, rounded out the top ten in 9th and and 10th place respectively.
It should be pointed out that that 7th, 8th, and 9th places were all scored and timed (12:47) identically and Colin, who actually finished 8th, just didn't argue with the finish line officials and took the 9th place like a champ standing proudly next to his 6th grade Team Mate.
Top Ten Boys
2nd - Cameron Wong, Raa
3rd - Scott Fortier, Swift Creek
4th - Trevor Touchton, Swift Creek
9th - Colin Abbey, Raa
10th - Wil Luca, Raa