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Third not good enough

A finish behind Clearwater Central Catholic's Kevin Lyons disappoints Jesuit sophomore Andy Biladeau.

By MIKE READLING, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published November 24, 2002

TAMPA -- Kevin Lyons and Andy Biladeau have a racing history that dates to middle school. That's when the Clearwater Central Catholic senior and Jesuit sophomore first hooked up in a foot race.

Through the years, the pendulum has swung back and forth when it came to determining the winner, with Biladeau winning early, Lyons coming back the next few years and then Biladeau climbing back on top this year.

Saturday, however, in what might have been the best race of his high school career, Lyons found himself back in front of the rivalry. The Marauder wound his way around the 5-kilometer Ed Radice Park course to beat Biladeau by 12 seconds in 15:41 in the Class 2A championship.

Though it was enough to fulfill the local rivalry, Lyons still finished second to Jacksonville Bishop Kenny's Ryder Leary (15:28) for the individual title. Leary's win also helped Bishop Kenny take home the team title with 60 points, 69 better than fourth-place Jesuit.

"Of course I always want to win, but beating Andy, which is a pretty big rivalry, and finishing second ... I'm happy with that," Lyons said. "I really think I ran the best race I could have run. If Ryder ran that well, he deserved to win today."

Jesuit coach Mike Boza had Biladeau train through the district and region meets, allowing Lyons to easily run away with those titles. That strategy heightened expectations for Saturday's head-to-head showdown.

Biladeau was visibly disappointed in the result.

"It's hard to train for seven months for one day and then not have it on that day," Biladeau said. "Sometimes you just don't have it. I just didn't feel sharp, I was lethargic. It just wasn't my day."

CLASS 3A: Plant jumbled its numbers but the strategy paid off as the Panthers ran to a school-record finish, beating Mitchell by nine points (134-143) to secure second place. Flagler Palm Coast successfully defended its team title with a score of 71.

The Panthers' pack mentality worked as Eric Bird led the way with an 18th-place finish, followed by Sam Gibbons in 20th and Justin Bass in 22nd. Donald Greiwe (38th) and Michael Llauget (67th) rounded out the Plant scorers, but all that mattered was where the team was at the end.

"We try to go out in a pack, that's what we do," Bass said. "Today it paid off. Our No. 3 was No. 1, our No. 2 was No. 2 and our No. 1 was No. 3, but it all worked out. This is as good as I could have hoped."

For Bird, the runner-up finish was the culmination of four years of steady improvement by the Panthers.

"When I was a freshman, we got to state and finished 21st. As a sophomore we were 15th. We were fourth last year and second this year," Bird said. "Our goal was to get first or second and we did that today."

King, paced by Phillip Watson in 59th place, finished 14th in the team standings.

CLASS 4A: In perhaps the most exciting finish in the last decade, Miami Central's Kevin Hicks came around the outside and outsprinted a pack of seven runners to win the individual title in 16:05.

Hicks, who has an 800-meter time of 1:54, defeated Brian Griffith of Miami Coral Reef and John I. Leonard's Jeremy Miller by one second. Martin County's James Cook and South Plantation's Paul Arthur-Cross, who has a 49-second 400 and a 1:49 800, lost by two seconds. Miami Jackson's Jasme Calzada and Oviedo's Dustin Hicks trailed by five and seven seconds. Leto senior Coe Fedorenko was eighth in 16:17.

Winter Park won the team title with 72 points. Leto was 14th and Bloomingdale was 17th.

CLASS A: Tallahassee Maclay's Ryan Deak proved that the smallest classification isn't necessarily the slowest. Deak circled the 5K course in 15:12, easily the fastest time of the day despite the fact he wasn't pushed. Trinity Prep's Timothy McLeod was second in 16:02.

Maclay won the team title for the fifth straight year, beating Melbourne Holy Trinity and Indian Rocks Christian, which was third.

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