Jacksonville Sports Day

ON TRACK: Pottorff Claims Second ACC Weekly Honor After Second Victory

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – For the second time in as many races in a Florida State cross country uniform, redshirt freshman Caleb Pottorff was the first man across the finish at Friday’s dual meet against Boston University.

And for the second time in as many opportunities, Pottorff’s victory was good enough to land him ACC Men’s Performer of the Week honors.

The Fort Pierce, Fla. native powered into the lead just past the two-mile mark and rolled to a 16.5-second margin of victory in the 8000-meter race at Boston’s venerable Franklin Park, where the ACC Championships will be contested next month. The 2017 Lincoln Park Academy graduate covered the distance in 24:58.42 seconds over a multi-loop circuit, measuring just under five miles.

The impressive start to a promising collegiate career has been nearly two years in the making.

“He’s been ‘Jonesing’ for a long time and did a phenomenal job this summer going out to altitude [in Colorado] and training for six or seven weeks,” Florida State men’s coach Bob Braman said. “He’s just putting all of those skills we knew he had together at the next level. The big tests are coming, but so far his focus is really good. He knows what he’s trying to do. I couldn’t be happier for him because he’s really had two years to try and get cross country revenge.”

Entering the 2018 season, Pottorff had not completed a cross country race of any kind since his 2016 senior campaign at Lincoln Park Academy. He rolled to seven consecutive wins – highlighted by the FHSAA 2A state title at Apalachee Regional Park – through the high school season. That dominance earned him Gatorade Florida Boys Cross Country Performer of the Year and Florida Dairy Farmers Mr. Cross Country honors, but did not relieve the sting of a 65th-place finish at the Foot Locker South Regional after falling ill.

There would be no trip to San Diego, Calif. for Foot Locker Nationals, a disappointment exacerbated when Bolles sophomore Charles Hicks qualified eighth from Charlotte’s McAlpine Park eighth, just 21 days after Pottorff edged him for the 2A state title.

His consolation was a near-perfect senior season on the track. Pottorff was unbeaten in the 1600 and 3200 against in-state competition, including the 2A state title double. The only time he wasn’t the first across the finish line was in California at the prestigious Arcadia Invitational 3200, where he ran 8:52.67 to place 15th against an elite field. It remains the third-fastest time by a Florida high schooler.

“Caleb has just been chomping at the bit for this thing after a double-redshirt in cross country and outdoor [track] last year,” Braman said.

Pottorff opened the 2018 season with an Aug. 31 victory in his collegiate debut at the Covered Bridge Open, out-kicking teammate Toby Hardwick over the final 400 meters for the 8000-meter win at State Farm Fields in 25:12.20.

He and his Seminole teammates will return to action Sept. 28 at the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational, where they will be tested by the best field of competitors to date.

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