Island runners help MHS Hurricanes to successful season
|Jessica Pate was Manatee High School's second highest finisher at the Lemon Bay Invitational in September.
|Members of the Manatee High girl’s cross country team pose for a picture after finishing second at the Manatee County Championships in October.
The Manatee High girls and boys cross country teams had a bit of Island flavor in Jarott Nelson, Chris Owens, Baili Heeman, Georgia Gibbons and Jessica Pate. Each were members of the school’s cross country junior or varsity teams that took home third-place in the Class 3A, District 5 championships Nov. 1 at G.T. Bray Park in Bradenton.
Sophomore Jarott Nelson is a member of the boys varsity team that earned a third-place finish at district competition to advance to the 3A Region 3 Championships in Estero. He finished 83rd in Estero with a time of 21:41. He ran a personal-best time of 20:38 at the Bradenton Runner’s Club Invitational on Oct. 13 and took 38th in the Manatee County Championship with a time of 22:17.
Fellow Islander, sophomore Chris Owens, served as the team manager.
Sophomores Baili Heeman and Georgia Gibbons are in their first year as members of the junior varsity girls program and both had a great experience.
“The thing I love the most about cross country is the team,” Heeman said. “We are like family and we have the best coach ever.”
Heeman and Gibbons both set personal records at the BRC Invitational with times of 26:35 and 26:47 respectively. Heeman’s best finish came at the county championship run on Oct. 27 when she finished in 10th place with a time of 26:59.
Jessica Pate, a junior in her first season of running on the varsity squad, has lived on the Island since 2005. Despite her relative inexperience, she helped the girls to a second-place finish at the county championship, third place in districts and a seventh-place finish at the regionals.
Pate’s best finish came at the Southern Stars Invitational on Sept. 29, when she ran a 21:47 to finish in fifth place. Pate also had strong performances at districts, finishing in 15th place with a 21:20 time and her sixth-place finish in the county championships with a time of 21:27 earned her a spot on the all county team.
Pate reflected on her experience this year: “I loved doing cross country this year. The girls on the team were really great and Coach Reed (Rae Ann Darling-Reed) has really helped me. I’m looking forward to track and cross country next year.”
With another year of experience, next season should shape up well for the Hurricanes cross country teams and the Island runners.
R.B. Munro and Ron Pepka teamed up to defeat John Johnson and Debbie Rhodes 21-11 to win the Nov. 21 horseshoe competition at the Anna Maria City Hall pits.
The Nov. 17 games saw 20 participants vie for bragging rights, but only two teams managed undefeated pool play records. Karl Thomas and John Johnson emerged as champs in a hard-fought 21-17 victory over George McKay and Norm Langeland.
Johnson, who had reconstructive surgery on his throwing hand and now has his fastball up to 97 mph, threw a four-pointer to clinch the match.
Play gets under way at 9 a.m. every Wednesday and Saturday at the Anna Maria City Hall pits. Warmups begin at 8:45 a.m. followed by random team selection. There is no charge to play and everyone is welcome.
Boys and girls ages 5-17 can still register for the 2007 Anna Maria Island Community Center basketball league. The deadline to register has been extended to Dec. 1.
Contact the Center for information on signup and tryouts, as well as for cheerleading opportunities, at 941-778-1908.
Elks Hoop Shoot
Boys and girls, ages 8-13, are invited to attend the 2007 Elks Hoop Shoot free-throw contest Dec. 8. The event, which is free to all participants, will be held at Bradenton Christian School. Registration starts at 9:30 a.m. at the gym, 3304 43rd St. W.
Hamburgers, hot dogs and soft drinks will be provided free to participants and their families.
For more information, contact Dan Tabor at 941-753-4180, or call the Bradenton Elks at 941-792-1511, ext. 21.