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Central girls, boys enjoy strong races

© St. Petersburg Times
published November 10, 2002

BELLEVIEW -- Almost everyone agreed that the race for the girls district title was wide open.

And Flagler Palm Coast took advantage, sneaking into the top spot and edging Central 60-62 to win the title Saturday at Belleview High.

"We had a good race," Bears coach Juliann Davila said. "We had some injuries, but I am pleased with the way the girls ran."

Roxanne Ceccarelli placed sixth for Central in 21 minutes, 42 seconds, and teammates Magen Loew (seventh, 21:44) and Kerri Costanzo (ninth, 21:53) also placed in the top 10.

Loew and Costanzo put pressure on Ocala Vanguard freshman Kelly Parrish and Mainland's Sarah Cambiener throughout the race, but it was Ceccarelli who had the top spot for the Bears.

"This was a tough course," Davila said. "Lots of hills and rocks, cross country-type things."

Parrish edged Cambiener by 11 seconds to win the individual title.

"I saw (Cambiener) was slowing up and I knew I had to make a move," Parrish said. "So I decided to pick it up from further out than I normally do."

Lake Howell, Vanguard, Belleview and Mainland joined Flagler Palm Coast and Central in advancing to the Class 3A, Region 2 meet next week at Belleview.

Springstead placed 12th out of 13 teams.

In the boys race, Central had a tough climb to advance.

With defending Class 3A individual champion Steven Hassen of Ocala Vanguard and defending team champion Flagler Palm Coast in their district, the Bears knew they would need an excellent effort, and they got it. Central placed fifth to qualify for next week's region meet.

The Bears finished with 155 points, 21 out of fourth place behind host Belleview.

Hassen and Flagler Palm Coast had their usual excellent performances.

The Vanguard star ran away from the pack to win in 16:04 while the Bulldogs had four of the top six individual finishers to win the team title.

"I am happy with the way I did," Hassen said. "To be honest, I thought (Flagler Palm Coast) would have a guy push me, but they held back, which is smart here at the end of the season."

Flagler Palm Coast won with 32 points, 20 better than Vanguard.

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