Thursday, March 19, 2020

Five Things: Week 5

Sorry for being late with this take on the Southwest Florida high school distance running scene but as the world has spun out of control, I've been more than a little distracted.  Running is a minor piece of the equation as our nation grapples with this calamity.  Yet I feel certain while a price will be paid for all of this that none of us has come to terms with, we will move forward and survive.
1.  It kills me that we have a handful of incredible athletes who probably won't get a chance to make history this spring.  I was looking forward to Canterbury's Jessica Edwards breaking 5:00 in the 1,600 and closing in on 2:05 in the 800.  I wondered how the Oliveira twins, Moriah and Sierra, would end their remarkable careers at ECS.  I can only imagine how crushing this must be for these athletes.

2.  On the boy's side I was looking forward to some battle royals between Ida Baker's Franklin Caceres, Estero's Kolton Pickard and Fort Myer's Liam Holton.  Liam is on the comeback trail and his progress has been amazing.  Caceres just posted an incredible tempo run to his social media.  I feel deprived of what could of, would of, should of been a hell of a showdown at the county meet.

3.  Despite the probable loss of a season, the athletes must continue to train.  Edwards, Pickard and Holston have more seasons to come at the high school level.  I believe in my heart things will be returning to normal by the time cross country season arrives.  I can barely wait.

4.  I take heart that I can see the work progressing at Cypress Lake High School on the new synthetic track.  Despite the closing of the schools, the workers are out there, under the sun, making progress on what should be a great new facility.  Let's hope we get to put this new surface to the test soon.

5.  I will diverge from the high school scene to mention how heartbreaking it is to see Krissy Gear denied an almost guaranteed All-American award during her first season at Arkansas.  Her Distance Medley Relay team probably would have won the whole thing at NCAA Indoor Nationals and there is no telling what Miss Gear could have done in the open mile.  The lone bright spot is that Gear and Florida's Hugh Brittenham will get an extra outdoor season of eligibility should they choose to use it.  That's the only good news in the world of sports that I've learned all week.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Five Things: Week 4

We're one third of the way through the high school track and field season in Florida.  Distance runners have enjoyed cool, albeit windy conditions for their races.  We don't have a complete set of results from over the weekend.  For reasons unknown, the results from the Edison Relays at Fort Myers High School have not posted.  This historic meet featured only four teams and its future is in peril until the school gets a good surface to run on.  There are too many other meets with better surfaces on the schedule now.

1.  It's no surprise that Canterbury junior Jessica Edwards would post the first top double of the season.  Edwards wanted to chase a sub-five 1600 at the CSN Invitational in Naples and gave it a good go clocking a 5:08.43 in a solo effort.  Even more impressive was her 800 opener in 2:14.05.  It was an easy eight second victory over ECS rival Sierra Oliveira.

2.  We've got to give a little love for Sierra's sister, Moriah.  She scored an impressive triple victory in the 100, 200 and 400 at the CSN meet.  Moriah's 400 was an impressive 54.53, a great time for this early in the season.

3.  Estero's Kolton Pickard ran the fastest 1600 of the season in Southwest Florida at CSN.  His 4:29.32 gave him a clear victory over Lehigh sophomore Evan Meyer who ran 4:35.2.  It's early in the season but Pickard is going to have to run sub 4:20 to make noise at the state level.

4.  We had an Ethan Tank sighting at CSN.  The SFCA junior had so-so races early in the season but at CSN he captured the 3200 title in 9:54.64.  He was chased to the finish by Estero senior Brandon Palamino who also dipped under 10 joining Pickard and Ida Baker's Franklin Caceres as the only athletes to do so this season.

5.  Fort Myers junior Liam Holston is on the comeback trail.  Illness ruined the end of his cross country season and foot woes hampered the start of his training for track.  Holston doubled at Edison in roughly 2:05 and 4:42 for the 800 and 1600.  Another month and training and he should be in the mix with Caceres and Pickard as one of the top distance runners in the area.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Five Things: Week 3

This was a weird week.  There were three area meets, a quad at Dunbar early in the week, a girl's meet in Punta Gorda on Thursday with the week finishing with a major relay only meet at Naples.  So some of this is speculation because I don't know who ran which legs at Naples.

1.  Fort Myers sophomore Amy Meng  announced her arrival on the Southwest Florida running scene. Meng had popped off some impressive road race wins over the winter but Thursday she showed some major chops in the 3200.  Meng ran an impressive 11:35.57 to take second at the Lady Tarpon Invitational.  I suspect she's just scratching the surface.  She could run something big when the FSU Relays rolls around.

2.  I assume that Franklin Caceres turned in a big performance in Naples as Ida Baker took down Estero in the 4 x 1600.  Given Estero's distance depth it's a great showing for Ida Baker.  This is a program on the rise.

3.  Fort Myers distance ace Stephy Ormsby lost the 1600 finishing second by ten seconds in a respectable 5:30.89.   I would think at this time of the year Stephy should be easily able to run 5:15 but it's all a question of where she is in her training cycle and the current state of her health.  Please don't take my observations as a criticism, she is after all a high school athlete.

4.  It looks like Canterbury's Jessica Edwards enjoyed an unusual weekend double.  I'm guessing she had a major hand in her team's Distance Medley victory in Naples on Saturday.  Then she turned around Sunday morning and teamed up with older sister Emily to run a 6.5 mile leg in the Lazy Flamingo Half Marathon Relay.  Needless to say the Edwards sisters were the fastest relay team!

5.  I've got to turn away from the high school scene to talk about a couple of locals competing at the college level.  Estero grad Hugh Brittenham now at Florida helped his team to a scoring seventh place finish in the Distance Medley Relay at the SEC Indoor Championships.  He also qualified for the men's final of the mile, no mean feat for a freshman in the distance powerful conference.  Then there's the rejuvenation of Fort Myers grad Krissy Gear.  Her decision to transfer from Furman to Arkansas is paying off.  She anchor the Hogs to victory in the DMR at the SEC, qualified for the finals of the mile where she placed second and ran the 3000 to round out her Saturday.  Gear will run her first indoor nationals for the Razorbacks in the DMR.  I haven't seen the complete list of mile eligible athletes but she's also very close to being in that event as well.