Every year, Tampa’s premier distance running event, the Gasparilla Distance Classic, falls on a February weekend. For competitive middle school runners, it is after cross country season, but before the official start of track season. Harrier Ellie Pleune used her time between seasons to train for the elite Gasparilla racing event, putting in mileage of up to 30 miles per week (Times, 2017). Her efforts paid off, making her the youngest to win in the race’s 40 year history. Pleune competed in two of the weekend’s four events, winning the overall female title in both the 5k and the 8k (Times, 2017).
Ellie Pleune (right) poses with runner-up and former Harrier teammate, Lydia Friedman (center) and 4th place runner Alexandra Perri (left) after the 5k.
The Hillsborough Harriers had 20 current members running in either the 5k or 8k during Gasparilla weekend and a multitude of former Harriers, parents, siblings and coaches.
5k Results from Saturday, February 25, 2017:
11-14 yrs (male):
- Carson Caplinger 21:05, 11th
- Ryan Campbell 21:22, 12th
15-19 yrs & 11-14(female):
- Ellie Pleune 18:14, 1st
- Jacquelyn Abanses, 19:44, 6th
- Tabitha Suggs 24:29, 8th
- Zach Glover 21:17, 3rd
- Brennan Fargher 21:20, 4th
- Brock Glover 21:53, 8th
- Cooper Chesser 22:51, 10th
- Joaquin Abanses 23:03, 12th
- Liam Maloney 25:05, 19th
- Colin Maloney 27:07, 23rd
- Meaghan Ballard 24:21, 2nd
8k Results from Sunday, February 26, 2017:
11-14 yrs (male):
- Zach Harrigan 31:23, 2nd
- Will Connery 33:53, 3rd
- Wyatt Bedke 35:32, 6th
- Carson Caplinger 35:56, 7th
- Ellie Pleune 31:13, 1st
- Anna Breede 42:33, 4th
- Oscar Brown 33:27, 1st
- Kameron Bass 39:44, 4th
- Madelyn Pleune 44:11, 2nd
The start of the 8k race, which had over 5,400 participants.
Oscar Brown and Zach Harrigan pose at the start of the 8k. Oscar (9) won the 10 & under title with the fastest time for that age category since the distance was added.
It runs in the family: Anna Breede poses with her dad after the 8k. Carson Caplinger poses with his dad, Harriers Coach Brian, after the 8k.
Results are up for the AAU National Cross Country Championships held at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee, Florida on December 3, 2016. 12 Hillsborough Harriers and Junior Harriers competed in the event which drew teams from as far away as California. 8 Harriers received Top 15 Medals in their age groups.
The Hillsborough Harriers made a strong impact at the Elementary races on Friday and the Middle School races on Saturday at Holloway Park in Lakeland for the FLYRA State Meet.
Boys MS 3k Championship
Girls MS 3k Championship
Boys Open 3k
Girls Open 3k
Notable finishes in the Championship races included Ellie Pleune (11:19, 4th overall), Jacquelyn Abanses (11:22, 5th overall) and Zach Harrigan (10:14, PR, 4th overall). The runners overcame some difficult course conditions including temperatures reaching into the 80’s and the addition of sand to the course trails.
“They put a lot of sand on the course,” observed Pleune.
“It was tough…they definitely added sand,” Harrigan remarked.
The Harriers were not eligible for a team award.
“At the State Meet, only school teams (that is, teams that are made up of runners who all attend the same school, regardless of whether or not the school officially sponsors the team) are eligible for the team title,” former Harriers Coach Don Bly explained.
Saturday marked the end of the 2016 cross country season, although some Harriers will continue into post-season AAU cross country, with a qualifier race November 12th and National Championships in Tallahassee December 3rd. Stay tuned.
The Hillsborough Harriers Boys’ Team won 1st place at the 3rd Annual Nature Coast MS State XC Qualifier in Lecanto on Saturday. With a tie of 32 points between the Harriers and Tavares Middle School, the championship was decided by the place of each team’s 6th runner. Harrier Bryce Krueger beat Tavares’ 6th runner by 3 seconds to break the tie. Zach Harrigan and Ethan Bhatt of the Harriers won first and second place with new PR’s of 10:27 and 10:30 in the 3k race, respectively. Both boys agreed that the colder weather contributed to their success.
“I felt like I had more energy,” said Bhatt about going into the woods after the one mile mark.
When asked about his racing strategy, Harrigan replied, “I was sticking behind the leader (and then) I took off with 400 meters to go to the finish.”
Harriers Will Connery and Daniel Casey also secured top 10 finishes with new PR’s.
The girls’ team was second place overall, trailing by a mere 12 points and a team average time only seven seconds off the leaders. Harriers Jacquelyn Abanses and Ellie Pleune were 2nd and 3rd place overall with new PR’s of 10:56 and 11:03. Teammates Moriah Friedman and Lindie Mayer earned top 10 spots and new PR’s as well.
The Junior Harriers prevailed in the Elementary 2k race, with 6 boys and 4 girls earning top 10 spots. Elementary Mixed 2k Results
This weekend, the Harriers will be racing in the FLYRA Middle School State Championship at Holloway Park in Lakeland to close out the season. The Elementary 2k is on Friday, October 28th and the Middle School 3k is on Saturday, October 29th.
The Harriers welcomed wet weather on Saturday as they hosted the Bay Area Middle School Cross Country Championships at Carrollwood Village Millennium Park in Tampa. After the cancellation of the Disney meet the week prior due to Hurricane Matthew, the runners were poised and ready to fight for the title of Best in the Bay Area. Spectators lined the course in ponchos while shouting for the athletes from under their umbrellas. Even though the runners had to contend with thick, wet grass and puddles, the rain boosted their energy with 23 Harriers earning new personal records.
“It felt good…it was cool and a nice temperature,” said girls’ race winner, Jacquelyn Abanses who completed the 3k in 11:08.
The girls’ team placed 2nd while competing against multiple teams from across six counties.
The boys’ team won first place to become the 2016 Bay Area Champs with Harrier Zach Harrigan (10:30, new PR) leading the pack. A few of the boys mentioned the cold and wet weather contributing to their fast times.
“I PR’d 57 seconds!” said 6th grader Aaron Cherry excitedly.
“I beat my (3k) track PR!” added teammate Oscar Brown.
Results can be found here.
There are two more meets left this season with Nature Coast on October 22nd and the State Championship meet on October 29th.
Coach Brian Caplinger exclaimed, “We are right on target for a great peak at State!”
The Junior Harriers dominated the elementary K-3 one-mile race winning 5 spots in the top 10 including first place overall winner Brock Glover in 6:56!
Harriers won 2nd and 3rd place overall (pictured with first place winner and Olympic silver medalist, Leo Manzano) at Florida’s largest xc meet, FLRunners.com Invitational 17 in Titusville today. The girls’ team won 3rd overall with an average 13:30 in the 2-mile event.
The boys’ team boasted two top 10 finishes and a 4th overall team effort with an average of 12:23 in the 2-mile.
Results are here.
Next week, the Hillsborough Harriers will compete at Disney.
The George Jenkins Holloway Park Jamboree on Saturday provided some tough competition for the Harriers. The boys’ team placed 2nd out of 22 teams with a top 5 average of 11:25:48. Two Harrier boys won top 10 medals out of the 236 finishers. The girls’ team also secured a runner-up position with a top 5 average of 12:43:76. Two Harrier girls were in the top 3 out of 181 finishers.
Boys’ results Girls’ Results
The Hillsborough Harriers will be will be running in the FLRunners.com Invitational 17 Middle School 3k on October 1, 2016 in Titusville, Florida.
Both the boys’ and girls’ teams won first place Saturday at the Florida Horse Park Invitational middle school 3k race in Ocala. There were four boys in the Top 10 , including the 1st overall spot, with a team finish of 25 points, well under the 50 points acquired by the second place team. Four Harriers earned Top 10 spots in the girls’ race as well, with a team total of 28 points, a substantial lead next to the 67 points obtained by the runners-up.
“As these results show, what a great race…even with climbing temperatures!” exclaimed Coach Brian Caplinger.
Boys’ results can be found here and girls’ results here.
The Junior Harriers wowed the crowd in the 2k elementary race, with medals for all.
The Hillsborough Harriers’ next appearance will be at the Holloway Park Jamboree in Lakeland on September 24.
The first xc meet of the season proved to be a fierce start for the Harriers as the boys secured a first place finish and the girls placed second at the competitive Jim Ryun Season Opener Invitational in Lakeland on Saturday. Two of our boys earned top 10 finishes, with both 2nd and 3rd place overall going to Harriers. Highlight video here. Three of our girls finished in the top 10, including the coveted 1st overall position. Results here.
Junior Harriers also had a remarkable start to the xc season, taking the gold and silver medal in the girls 2k, gold in the boys 2k, and gold, silver and bronze medals in the boys 1k.
The sizzling summer practices paid off. Well done, Harriers!
August is here, which can only mean one thing: Our first meet is right around the corner! Three weeks until the Jim Ryun Season Opener Celebration. Get excited, Harriers!