© St. Petersburg Times, published October 13, 2002
RUSKIN -- Plant City senior Sara Hall and Bloomingdale freshman Jessica Forrester have been teammates for almost four years with the Seffner Youth Track Club, but Saturday at the W.D. Johnson meet, they ran as opponents.
For most of the 3-mile race at Simmons Park, they ran shoulder to shoulder.
But with the finish line 400 yards away, Hall started her kick and finished a few seconds ahead of Forrester to win in 19 minutes, 16 seconds.
"Jessica pushed me all the way, but in the end my kick came through for me," Hall said. "I didn't have much time for strategy in the race because I was just trying to beat Jessica. I just wanted to do my best."
"A couple times I searched for an opportunity to take the lead, but Sara is really fast and has a great kick," said Forrester, who crossed the line 12 seconds behind Hall. "I need to work on my kick before state."
Riverview junior Sean Kinne won a close boys race as the top 10 finishers crossed the line within 43 seconds.
"This was a tough race," Kinne said. "The course was sandy, the weather was hot and the competition was tough. But that is good cross country. I started pushing for my finish about 400 yards out and it was close. I am going to have to work on my speed before the state meet. I want to be in position to make a good run at state."
Bloomingdale won the boys title with a score of 41 and Academy of the Holy Names won the girls title with 58. "We recorded excellent team points in this race," Bloomingdale coach George Garner said. "They are getting stronger and stronger each week and I hope they peak at the state meet. We plan to run the elite race next week at the Pre-state meet at (Ed) Radice Park."
Scoring for the Bulls were Alex Regar (fourth, 17:27), David Cook (eighth, 17:34), Kyle Koontz (ninth, 17:34.4), Justin Yarborough (12th) and Harrison Smith (13th).
The Jaguars were led by Kelly Kazbour (fourth, 20:36), Sara Petrick (sixth, 20:59), Kristen Lubrano (20th), Kendall Wilson (23rd) and Emily Rivard (26th).
"(Kazbour) broke through near the end and ran a great race," AHN coach Pamela Legg said. "She improves every race. Our (Nos. 3-6) runners are running and finishing together but need to add a little more speed and finish closer to the front. I am really excited about our season so far."