The Citrus senior's first-place finish not enough to overcome Hernando's team effort.
By FRANK PASTOR
© St. Petersburg Times, published October 27, 2002
BROOKSVILLE -- Not even the ACT could keep Tony Lyons from his final conference race.
One day after rescheduling the test to enter the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference meet, the Citrus senior ran away from the field Saturday at McKethan Lake Park to win his second conference title.
"It's my last year," said Lyons, who will take the ACT in December.
"I want the conference title. Any type of title will make me want to run, anyway, because I love running more than anything else."
Lyons finished in 16 minutes, 11 seconds, 30 seconds ahead of second-place Kurt Lee of Central.
But not even Lyons could keep Hernando from winning the boys team title. The Leopards placed four runners among the top 12 to edge Citrus 37-42.
Hernando coach Ernie Chatman said Lyons' presence made the victory even better.
"I'm glad he was here, and it's only fair," Chatman said. "I'm glad (Citrus coach) Bruce (Nelson) worked it out and the school worked it out where he could still run and be able to take the test at another time."
Mike Laird and Logan Emerson placed third and fourth, respectively, for Hernando. But Nos. 3-5 runners Phil Dysart (eighth), Bret Chatman (10th) and Zak Lukas (12th) made the difference for the nine-time champion Leopards.
Girls champion Central maintained a similarly strong pack as Magen Loew (fourth), Kerri Costanzo (fifth), Felicia Fritz (seventh), Roxanne Ceccarelli (ninth) and Amanda Adams (10th) each earned all-conference patches.
"They did phenomenal," Central coach Juliann Davila said. "They all pushed each other. They stayed together as a pack and they all pushed each other to come in together."
Freshman Holly Van Sicklen of Crystal River won the girls race in 20:07, 19 seconds faster than her previous best and 20 seconds ahead of Lecanto's Deirdra Witherspoon.