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Lyons' busy summer now includes a victory

By KEITH NIEBUHR, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 4, 2002

CITRUS SPRINGS -- Tony Lyons hopes to earn a college scholarship. If he continues to run like he did Saturday, the Citrus senior might be able to name his school.

Lyons, 17, broke free from the pack near the halfway point of the fifth annual Citrus Road Run 5K and claimed the overall title in 17 minutes, 10 seconds, even though he battled cramps and said the performance was not his best.

"I felt like I should have gone faster to tell you the truth," Lyons said.

Logan Emerson of Brooksville was second, 32 seconds behind Lyons. His older brother, John Emerson, was third. Carla Dolder of Gainesville finished in 19:36 to win the women's division by 18 seconds over Leann Manley of Fairfield.

Lyons, sixth in 2001 at the Class 2A state meet and the 2001 Times All-Citrus/Hernando cross-country runner of the year, has run 40 to 50 miles a week this summer to prepare for his senior season, a stark contrast from past years when he worked construction and ran little during the offseason. He placed 10th at last month's Citrus Summer Showdown, which featured several college runners, and recently attended cross-country camp in North Carolina.

"This summer, I've been running," Lyons said. "I'm a lot better (than last year at this time)."

Lyons is aiming for a top-three finish at state. High school practice begins Aug. 12. Two of his Citrus teammates -- Matt Baum and James Lopiccolo -- had top-five finishes Saturday, which bodes well for the Hurricanes, who were seventh at state in 2001.

Dolder is no stranger to success in Citrus County. She won the same race two years ago.

The 40-year-old gave birth to a boy, Connor, seven months ago and began running two weeks later. She led Saturday from start to finish and pulled away from Manley near the 2-mile mark.

"I thought it would be nice to run (this event) again," Dolder said.

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