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Lecanto girls are ready to take shot at tough region foes

By KEITH NIEBUHR, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published November 3, 2002

There was no luck in Lecanto's draw.

The Panthers, second to Gainesville Buchholz last week in the Class 2A, District 3 Tournament in Ocala, face the monumental task in Tuesday's regional of playing state powers Buchholz and Oviedo. Only the top two teams survive.

Buchholz beat Lecanto by 45 strokes in the district. Oviedo also easily won its district. Both squads had a top-10 state finish in 2000 and 2001.

"Our goal is top three," Lecanto coach Doug Warren said. "I would say this is a pretty tough region to play in, but anything can happen."

The Panthers are in their third regional in four years. Anne Kizer led the team with an 89 in the district at par-72 Ocala Golf Club. Next were Erin Fields (91), Stephanie Copple (92) and Lisa Lamontagne (97). Copple's round was a personal best. Lecanto's 369 was a 42-stroke improvement from last fall, when the Panthers were third in the district. The next week, they fired 404 to place eighth in their regional. "We shot above our averages (last week), so we could improve," Warren said.

GOOD TIMING: Citrus senior Nicole Newman picked a fine time to shoot her career low. After averaging 61 for nine holes during the regular season, Newman shot 60 on the front nine in the A-6 tourney last week on the Abbey Course at Saint Leo University, then carded a 47 on the back.

"She was very happy," Hurricanes coach Tom Darby said. "She didn't have a bad day at all."

With Newman's help, Citrus placed second and reached its regional for the second straight season. Kristin Klauder led the 'Canes with an 86, and senior Christina Mitchell recovered from a front-nine 49 to finish at 91. Kirsten Engel had a 94.

"We did okay, nothing spectacular," Darby said. "Our goal (Monday) is to play the best we can."

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS: The Citrus boys' 305 in the A-6 tournament was the best score in school history by 11 strokes. Robert Taylor's 69 earned medalist honors. Following for the Hurricanes were Ian Morrill (75), Garrett Neal (77) and Mike Ince (84).

"That was a fabulous round for us," coach Chris Richardson said. "Everything hinged on that subpar round by Robert, and Ian was real clutch."

The 'Canes were second to Saddlebrook Prep (292). "They all helped out," Taylor said. "We couldn't have advanced without them. One guy can't carry the whole team." In its regional, Citrus will meet state heavyweights Jacksonville Bartram Trail, St. Augustine Nease and Saddlebrook Prep. Nease survived a playoff last year to advance, then won state the following week.

"That's golf alley over there," Richardson said. "But we're playing well. We have three guys very capable of shooting par or under."

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