Photo Gallery: Charter girls race to second in county championships

Heart.

That is the best way to describe the effort of Marco Island Charter Middle School’s eight girls who did battle on Saturday in the Collier County Athletic Conference Middle School Championships.

A week ago they earned their way into the running events in the Collier County South Track & Field Invitational. The eight first qualified on teams in the 4x400 and 4x100 relays. Just four qualified for individual events. None qualified for field events.

Yet they took second place in the Collier County Middle School Championships on Saturday at Golden Gate High School.

Sixth grader Rosie Poling sets the tone for the school’s future as she won the 3200 and 800 meter runs and ran to second in the 1600 meter run. She tallied 22 of the team’s 53 points.

In the 3200 she set a school and county record and a school mark in the 800. She ran all three races, about 3.5 miles, with little rest, in a span of just over two hours.

“She’s just amazing,” said coach Roger Raymond. “She is so smart about running. She was running against the defending county champ in the 3200 and broke away to win easily.”

In the 3200 Poling, Gulfview’s Lindsay Tomaini and Charter’s Jen Carter held tight for the first five laps.

Poling and Tomaini finally separated from Carter who finished third.

Unfortunately for Tomaini she ran Poling’s style of race, staying tight, but not trying to gain separation. In the last 100 yards Poling just took off from Tomaini for the victory. Poling’s time of 12:00.61, set a new county and school record.

“My plan was to stay in front of her and keep going faster,” Poling said.

In the 800 meter run Poling led the entire race. Morgan Taylor of Pine Ridge finished nearly three seconds behind. Marco’s Christy Thorstenson took fourth.

Thorstenson’s race of the day was the 400 meter run. She set a school record of 1:03.17 in the win. Lauren Hanscom, who beat Thorstenson’s school mark in the South meet, ran to third in 1:04.18.

The 4x400 relay was decided by just 27-hundreths of a second, with the Lady Eagles coming in behind Gulfview, which was the overall team champion. In the relay the Marco girls had difficulty with passing the baton and lost precious time which was the difference in the race. Teammates in the race were Hanscom, Ashley Schneller, Taylor Fetzer and Thorstenson.

The 4x100 relay team of Hanscom, Fetzer, Lexie Lundquist and Samantha Jennings had no chance against extremely tough competition, finishing seventh.

Tanner Fulcher was the lone entrant for the Charter boys team. He finished fifth in the 3200 meter run.

“Tanner had a great year and I am extremely proud of the girls,” Raymond said.

Kelly Britton and Yancey Palmer of Gulf Coast Racing handled recording all events and placing them up for announcement almost as soon as every race was completed.

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