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Chiles puts 3 under the 11 Minute Barrier

Published by
DyeStatFL   Apr 13th 2012, 8:00pm

Chiles puts 3 under the 11 Minute Barrier


Foreward by DoctorBob

As far as we know, this is the first time 3 Florida HS Girls from the same team in the same race have gone sub 11.  That's quite an accomplishment and is a testament to hard work and dedication.   Mark DeCotis caught up with Coach Gowan, Carly, Lily, and Rachel after their sub 11 efforts. 


The journey to success at 3,200 meters begins with a single step.

And for three female runners from Tallahassee (Fla.) Chiles High who went under 11 minutes in the same race at the recent FSU Relays, the steps were taken years ago.

The girls, senior Lily Williams, who beat a stellar field, ran 10:30.53; junior Rachel Givens, who was fifth, ran 10:47.10 and senior Carly Thomas, who was ninth, finished in 10:52.21

Their coach, veteran mentor and 14-time state championship winner in cross country and track Scott Gowan, has seen it coming. All three have had seasons of accomplishment built upon the base of miles and miles of training all accomplished runners know so well.

“You’ve got to build off this,” said Gowan who has coached at Chiles since it opened in 1999 and previously coached for 13 years at Port St. Joe. “Each year, each season builds on the one before. I tell them keep climbing the ladder, keep trying to reach to get to the top.”

They certainly are on their way.

Williams, who committed to Vanderbilt, qualified for Foot Locker Nationals in cross country last fall and also ran 4:52 in the 1,600. Thomas, who committed to Florida State, ran a 5:06 in the 1,600 at the FSU relays the same weekend as the trifecta and last spring Givens ran 4:59 in the state 3A track meet.

Williams and Thomas are state champions.

“I knew it was possible,” Gowan said of the trio breaking 11 minutes. “They just have to be in the same race at the same time and that doesn’t always happen. They kind of put it together on the same day.”

But there always is room for improvement.

“Of the three Carly is probably most disappointed,” Gowan said. “She ran 10:52 and she ran 10:52 there last year. I know and she knows, we both know she’s a little better than 10:52 right now.”

In the end for Thomas and her teammates the FSU Relays were just another step on the long road to success.

 “There’s no resting here, that’s a regular-season meet in March and we’re trying to run well in May,” Gowan said referring to the FSU times.

“I always tell them we’re still climbing . . . That was just one step along the way. We’re back to work and trying to run even better than we did at FSU.”

For the girls, the FSU meet was surprising.

“I think that FSU Relays really shocked all three of us,” Williams wrote in an email. “It was a complete confidence booster; I know that both Rachel Givens and I dropped much more time than we expected. 

“Carly Thomas didn't drop quite as much as she would have liked, but it was still a PR and then she came back in the 1,600 the next day and ran a PR and a season best by around 9 seconds.”

For her part, Thomas found meaning in the results.

“All three of us were both excited and nervous knowing the competition, and we were happy with our times,” she wrote. 

“It was meaningful that the three of us could go under 11 minutes after all of the hard work we have put in so far. My goal for the rest of the season is to continue to work hard in practice, keep bringing my times down,  and end my senior year on a good note.” 

Givens had similar sentiments

“The race was very exciting and a lot of fun,” she wrote. “It was a thrill to share it with two great teammates. We are anxious to see how the remainder of the season goes.”

To that end, Williams believes, much like her coach, that the best is yet to come.

“I definitely don't think that we have maxed out or peaked yet, which makes this season a bit different,” she wrote. “I think we have all reached a level of maturity where we can race for an extended season and really feel good towards the end instead of running our fastest times in the middle of the season. I think that we are all looking forward to the later races and especially state. So hopefully everything continues to go well.”

In a similar accomplishments, three seventh-grade runners from Melbourne’s Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy went under 5 minutes in the 1,600 meters at the Holy Trinity Elite Classic on March 30.

Twelve-year-old Trevor Katttenberg finished in 4:50, Michael Wilson, 13, ran  4:54 and Trevor’s brother Egan Kattenberg, 12, ran 4:59.

Their efforts resonated with their coach Doug Butler.

“I usually have an eighth-grader or two that can go sub 5:00 in the mile, but when three of our seventh-graders did it in the same race Friday night, that was a pretty special treat,” Butler wrote in an email.

“They are the top three seventh-grade milers in the state this year. I think the best thing about them is not that they are very hard working, but that they love the sport and love to have fun.”


By Mark DeCotis

For DistancePreps.com


Contact DeCotis at markdecotis@mac.com

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