For the past four years, Marauders head coach Angie Milford has celebrated her birthday on the track, with her 50 kids giving or taking by signing Happy Birthday in full force. These four anniversaries were also complemented by a gift: a district championship trophy.
On Wednesday afternoon at their home track, the Marauders and Milford had a celebration that has almost become a tradition in Maclay. Before the team sang for their head coach, the boys’ and girls’ teams held district championships, continuing to highlight the year Maclay had.
The boys’ team picked up a late win over St. John Paul II to win the competition, sweeping the top three placings in the boys’ 3,200 meter race to create a 28-point cushion to victory. However, for the girls it was a very different result. In fact, Maclay’s daughters have remained nearly intact in 1A competition this season.
Consistency on the track, in the field
From javelin and pole vault to long jump, sprints and distance, Maclay’s women’s team has stayed on top. The Marauders won district championships in 16 of the day’s 18 events, which included all of the day’s race events. When the dust settled, Maclay scored 335 points, 263.5 points clear of second-placed Lafayette.
“The girls are a group that is together and part of the family, from field events to sprinters over distance,” Milford said. “I think that’s what helps them push each other and they want to win together. The goal is to win the state, and that’s great.”
In many events, it was Maclay who pushed Maclay, particularly from distance and in some field events. The pole vault was a big event for the Marauders this spring. Elizabeth Dowdy had the advantage in the outfield quad on Wednesday, winning the district championship with a height of 3.35, however, her teammates were hot on her heels.
Johns Hopkins entry Sarah Caulley Soto, who has had the advantage lately, jumped the same height in the final, and Clemson entry Riley Karpinski was right behind her at 3.20 meters. Karpinski and Soto have been jumping together for a long time, and the cross-team competition has only made them both better.
Athlete of the week:Vote for This Week’s Big Bend Preps Athlete of the Week
“We’ve been playing each other for a while, so that really helps,” Karpinski said. “We push each other and train, and it’s good to have a friend, but great competition.”
Around the jump, Maclay won big. Sara Grace Dodson won the high jump, clearing a height of 1.27 meters, Elizabeth Crapps won the triple jump with a distance of 8.80 meters, and Isabel Davis won the discus by two meters with a throw of 25 .55 meters and Mackenzie Jackson won the javelin by 10 meters with a throw of 31.33 meters.
Even in the two events they didn’t win, the Marauders placed at least one athlete in the top three. Seeing so much success, it’s hard to believe there are a huge number of subclasses on this list, but they rose to the challenge.
“We definitely have good chemistry this year,” Karpinski said. “We have a lot of lower class students and because we have so few upper class students, the lower class students can look up to us and we can all be friends. We are not above d “them. We’re all a team and a family. They’ve seen me on my worst days, but they’ve also seen me on my best days. It’s great to have that kind of support.
Run or sprint to win
Distance success has been consistent through the fall cross-country season. Maclay took the top three spots in the 800m race and the top four spots in the 1600m and 3200m races, meaning every Marauder running a distance race won ahead of another program that wasn’t the their. Even on the boys track, Maclay swept the 3200 race and placed two in the top three in the 1600 race.
“We’re very strong in our distance and we’re young,” Milford said. “We have second graders and below for our real distance kids. They are focused, fun and awesome. I’m super excited for them and excited for their success.”
The women’s team took fourth place in the state, led by Gracie Koeppel. In the 3200 and 1600 races, it was Koeppel who won by a wide margin, followed by a light blue wave behind her.
She won the 1600 over her sister Lillian Koeppel by four seconds at 5:22.60, then topped the 3200 by 22 seconds, winning the district championship with a time of 11:49.11. It’s been a big year for Koeppel, and it’s crazy to think he has two more years left at Maclay.
“She’s had a great year and comes at the right time,” Milford said. “Coming out of the FSU stints, running at 11, she takes care of herself, she’s smart in her training. She’s just going to keep improving.”
On the short track, Maclay continued to close in the lead. The 100, 200 and 100 hurdles all saw the Marauders take the top three spots. In the relays, Maclay won by a comfortable margin in each of her three races, winning the 4×100 by three seconds, the 4×400 by 26 seconds and the 4×400 by a minute and a half.
The consistency of sprint distance has marked the athletes that Maclay can run regardless of the length or length of the track.
“I think it really shows that our whole team trains hard no matter what the event,” said Rachel Bethke. “We all have a team camaraderie, whether we race together or organize different events. We work hard together.”
Maclay celebrates big wins, but he knows what awaits him in regionals. Region 1 is once again full of competition, but the Marauders have been successful in the past. With Maclay dominating the pack this season, a state championship is a reality, but it’s a championship they know they’ll have to work hard and be nearly flawless to achieve.
“I’m obviously going to push for us to win the state, and hopefully that will happen, but we’ll just see,” Bethke said. “It’s about training hard.”
“It’s a reality, we definitely have a chance, but everything has to line up, and that’s for any team,” Milford said. “We have to take it one step at a time and take care of the regionals, get enough kids up and know where we can progress. It’s about taking it one step at a time.”
Individual District Champions 1A-3
Team scores: 1. Maclay (335 pts), 2. Lafayette (71.50 pts), 3. FAMU DRS (61 pts), 4. North Florida Christian (37.50), 5. Wakulla Christian (36 pts) and Community Christian ( 36 pts), 7. St. John Paul II (25 pts), 8. Hamilton County (14 pts).
100 Dashes – Amelia Haggins (Maclay) 12.81
200 Dashes – Amelia Haggins (Maclay) 26.20
400 Dashes – Rachel Bethke (Maclay) 1:00.60
800m – Mary Clayton (Maclay) 2:31.92
Race 1600 – Gracie Koeppel (Maclay) 5:22.60
Race 3200 – Gracie Koeppel (Maclay) 11:49.11
100 hurdles – Elizabeth Crapps (Maclay) 18.40
300 hurdles – Ellie Mazziotta (Maclay) 54.43
Relay 4×100 – Maclay 50.03
4×400 Relay – Maclay 4:21.28
4×800 Relay – Maclay 11:03.92
High Jump – Sara Grace Dodson (Maclay) 1.27m
Pole Vault – Elizabeth Dowdy (Maclay) 3.35m
Long Jump – Genesis Jones (NFC) 4.29m
Triple Jump – Elizabeth Crapps (Maclay) 8.80m
Shot Put – Kierra Forbes (FAMU DRS) 7.67m
Discus – Isabel Davis (Maclay) 25.55m
Javelin – McKenzie Jackson (Maclay) 31.33m
Team scores: 1. Maclay (213 pts), 2. St. John Paul II (185 pts), 3. North Florida Christian (76 pts), 4. Lafayette (75 pts), 5. Community Christian (31 pts) , 6. Hamilton County (27 pts), 7. Jefferson County (25 pts), 8. Wakulla Christian (17 pts), 9. FAMU DRS (4 pts).
100 Dash – Makari Vickers (JPII) 11.28
200 dashes – Makari Vickers (JPII) 22.57
400 dashes – Jordan Washington (JPII) 53.75
800m – Carson Freeland (CCS) 2:07.48
Race 1600 – Lucas Mauch (Maclay) 4:55.46
3200 runs – Clayton Knox (Maclay) 11:02.25
110 Hurdles – Micah McCorvey (NFC) 17.01
300 Hurdles – Jaishaun Frazier (JPII) 43.89
Relay 4×100 – JPII 44.05
Relay 4×400 – JPII 3:41.70
4×800 Relay – Maclay 9:26.39
High Jump – Shane Croston (Maclay) 1.82m
Pole Vault – Raymond Vickers (Maclay) 2.75m
Long Jump – Shane Croston (Maclay) 6.31m
Triple Jump – Micah McCorvey (NFC) 11.19m
Shot Put – Javien Lawson (JPII) 13.52m
Disc – Jakob Birken (Maclay) 39.36m
Javelin – James David Milford (Maclay) 44.37m
Jack Williams covers prep sports for the Tallahassee Democrat. Reach him by email at [email protected], on Twitter @jackgwilliams.