FLRC’s January Meet Brings Community Indoor Track Back to Barton Hall

Thanks to excellent work by old and new volunteers alike, our first indoor meet since 2020 went off well. We hosted 134 runners, including 7 teams, who completed a total of 280 individual efforts. Full results are on the FLRC website, along with fabulous professional photos from Jamie Love. (The pictures below are representative of each event but don’t necessarily show the people mentioned.)

After a little behind-the-scenes stress caused by our meet management software crashing whenever a particular USB-C hub was attached, we kicked off the meet with three heats of the 3000m. The final heat belonged to 2022 Skunk Cabbage half-marathon champion Henry Williams, who cruised to the win in 8:59 (4:49 mile pace), with Nick Ryan hanging on gamely to finish second in a still-strong 9:40. The women’s race was even more of a blowout with Stephanie Bitcon running an impressive 10:12 that was good for fourth overall, well ahead of the strong trail and cross-country runner Donna Langerfeld in 11:21.

Next up were the sprints, where numerous heats of the 60m were filled by runners in the 10-and-under set, particularly kids from the GIAC Navigators and the new Groton Project Track Club. Ultimately, the win went to Skylar Lagramada from Watkins Glen in 7.70 seconds, edging out Candor teammates Wyatt Stouffer (7.90) and Matt Fitch (7.92). Candor took the top two spots for the women, with Jess Wells winning in 9.01 seconds and Angelina Porras second in 9.62. 12-year-old Lauren Younkin of the SOAR Running Club was third in 9.78.

In the mile, our Hartshorne Masters Mile rabbits tested out their legs. First, Henry Williams showed that he had plenty of speed to pace the elite men by running 4:30 for the win not long after his 3000m victory. This time, his competition came from Lucas Baker, who crossed just 4 seconds later in 4:34. Then women’s elite rabbit Bella Burda ran a controlled 5:13 to prove that she’d be able to pace three-time Olympian Michelle Rohl to a W55 American record. Donna Langerfeld settled for second again in 5:46. Finally, a shout-out to our pack of older milers, with 63-year-old Laura Helmerick (8:14), 68-year-old Steven Clark (8:46), 65-year-old Joe Sullivan (8:59), 75-year-old Deb Bliss (9:20), and 74-year-old Jim Miner (9:34) all testing their legs in advance of running Hartshorne. Apart from Bliss, who was a handful of seconds slower, the others all ran significantly faster at Hartshorne, with Helmerick dropping 19 seconds, Clark 20 seconds, Sullivan 19 seconds, and Miner a whopping 77 seconds.

Our final individual event was the 200m, where Candor’s Matt Fitch avenged his third place in the 60m by nudging out Watkins Glen’s Skylar Lagramada by 3 hundredths of a second, 25.65 to 25.68. (We’ll pretend that our hand timing is accurate enough for that to be meaningful; in reality, it’s not.) However, the women’s side wasn’t even close, with Mattison Lucey of the Groton Project breaking the tape in a speedy 28.51. Nearly 4 seconds later, second place went to Candor’s Jess Wells in 32.45.

Throughout the entire meet, Brett Shelton and Steve Wagner of the SOAR Running Club managed the high and long jumps. This was the first time we’ve officially hosted field events at an FLRC meet, and both proved popular with kids, with 34 competing in the high jump and 43 in the long jump. In the high jump, Candor’s Ayasha Schweiger cleared 4 feet, 8 inches for the win, followed closely by her teammate Angelina Porras, who jumped 4 feet, 6 inches. In the long jump, Ross Bush of the Groton Project soared to the win by jumping 16 feet, 9.75 inches, with Patrick Milano (our third Hartshorne rabbit) leaping 12 feet, 9 inches for second.

The final event of the day was the 4x200m relay, where 16 teams ran across three heats. Five of the teams ran 2:00 or faster, with a team of Ithaca High runners running powerfully and employing blind handoffs for the win in 1:42. Second place went to Candor in 1:52, with a Watkins Glen-anchored team third in 1:55.

As always, the meet was made possible by the highly amiable and capable efforts of the dedicated track volunteer team. Carl Franck reprised his role from the summer as head timer, Tom Rishel once again served as starter, and Patrick Boyle and Laurel Gilmer stepped into the clerk of course role to keep everyone lining up on schedule. Jesse Koenecke managed Meet Manager with help from Dave Kania, who also timed and performed other essential tasks that cropped up. Tonya Engst and Amelia Kaufman held down the bib pickup table, recruited for the relays, and answered runner questions. Rich Bernstein recorded bibs for the longer races, Katie Gannon handled backup timing, and David Rossiter counted laps, and they all teamed with Bob Swizdor, Rebecca Lambert, Aeron Jauquet, and Bob Talda to time the sprints. Thanks to all, and extra appreciation to Steve Wagner and Brett Shelton of the SOAR Running Club for volunteering their expertise with the jumps!

See you again on February 19th and March 12th!