Mutz, White Find Winning Kick Down The Stretch to Win Jim Ryun Meet
Sun. October 23, 2011 at 2:01 a.m. | By Polk Preps Staff
Mark Mutz, left, and Mallory White.
By B.J. PITZEN | LEDGER CORRESPONDENT
LAKELAND | After crossing the finish line, Lakeland Christian junior Mark Mutz raised his arms in victory after a personal-best time of 15:34 in the Jim Ryun Invitational Saturday at Tenoroc High School.
Ryun, a five time world record holder and 1968 Olympic silver medalist in the 1,500 meters in Mexico City, started the boys and girls races.
Mutz ran toe-to-toe Saturday with Haines City's Jose Perez throughout until the home stretch. During the final quarter of a mile, leading up to the finish line by the Titans' track, Mutz pulled slightly away from Perez, who glided in with a personal best that was 3.2 seconds behind Mutz.
Part of the sacrifice for Mutz came after the race when he threw up his morning meal.
"I needed someone to push me," Mutz said. "I praise God Jose was here. I'm sure I would have gotten one minute more without him."
Mutz, who does two-a-days before and after school, attributed his success to God, assistant coach Alex Bertran, freshman teammate Jerrod Fuller, the rest of his teammates and head coach Mike Musick, who has been at the helm for Lakeland Christian since 1979.
"We've always had a fairly good program since the late 1970s," Musick said. "He (Mutz) is the best we've ever had from a talent standpoint. He has good genes and comes from a great family. Mark works hard and he has been with our program since the 8th grade."
George Jenkins won the overall team competition with 49 points by placing its top five runners in the top 18. The Eagles' Landon Schneider finished third out of the 99 runners with a personal and team best 16:22.32.
"Watching the guys in front of me and hearing the footsteps behind really pushed me in the race," Schneider said.
"We make sure we're all working together in unity," said Schrader, who is in his second season of cross country. "I tell the guys to look for each other on the course. It gives you something to aim for and pushes you harder when you see the other guys out there who you want to beat. We make sure we're all working together in unity."
Because of the chilly morning race conditions in the low 50s, Eagles coach Dan Snell, who has led Jenkins' to 12 straight city titles and is looking to win next Saturday's county meet at Lake Region for the 11th year in a row, made sure his runners did not tighten up after the competition and had them put on the proper clothing like sweats.
"We're running together more as a group than we ever have in the past," Snell said. "The kids enjoy running. To give up their summers and put up the miles they put in is a big sacrifice. I've been fortunate enough to have great kids and great runners."
McKeel placed second out of 12 teams with 76 points.
In the girls race, Vikings junior Mallory White drafted Lauren Gillespy, of Father Lopez, throughout and then pulled away in the last 100 meters to win in 18:53.69.
"She (Gillespy) tried to get rid of me," White said, "It's harder to be in front. I do track and run the mile and 800 (meters)."
LCS won the team race with 32 total points as its top five placed inside the top 13. White's teammate Rebecca Eaves finished 3rd with a 19:49.61.
Lake Region finished second 10 points behind Lakeland Christian after a fourth-place showing by defending champion Jessica Ortiz, who clocked in at 20:09.55. Jenkins claimed third position overall with 83.
The boys and girls county meet will take place Saturday at Lake Region High School.