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Lyons has last word

The CCC senior defeats Jesuit rival Andy Biladeau but falls 13 seconds short of Class 2A title.

By MIKE READLING, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 24, 2002

The CCC senior defeats Jesuit rival Andy Biladeau but falls 13 seconds short of Class 2A title.

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 Jesuit, which was fourth.

"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 the expectations for Saturday's head-to-head showdown.

Biladeau was visibly disappointed in the results.

"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 A: The race was littered with Pinellas County participants and five teams finished in the top 20. Junior Nate Holden's ninth-place finish propelled Indian Rocks Christian to third place with 162 points. Holden crossed the line in 16:43 and eighth-grader Timothy Rousonelos was 17th in 17:05.

Runner-up to Maclay in 2001, St. Petersburg Catholic placed seventh Saturday with 217.

Anthony Cormier paced the Barons with an eighth-place finish. Brian Sullivan finished in the top 25, and Samuel Secord and Robert Yevich were top-50 competitors.

Keswick Christian was 10th and Admiral Farragut notched a 15th-place finish behind John Biffar's dazzling performance. The senior turned in the top time by a county runner in Class A, taking fifth in 16:26.

Shorecrest rounded out the county contingent with a 19th-place finish, led by junior Michael Tylman's 17:51 (52nd). Maclay won the team title, its fifth straight, and junior Ryan Deak posted the day's fastest time (15:12) to win his first title after finishing second the past two seasons to Berkeley Prep's Rolf Steier.

CLASS 3A: Seminole and Largo dueled again in the day's final race. The Warhawks held onto 13th place by four points over King and 12 over the Packers.

Seminole junior Ken Magee's 25th-place finish boosted the Warhawks past the Packers' four seniors.

Boca Ciega senior Brett Sapp crossed the finish line in 17:15 (57th). CLASS 4A: Winter Park won the title with 72 points, placing five runners in the top 20. South Plantation was second with 108, followed by Martin County (157) and Orlando Boone (158). Miami Central's Kevin Hicks won the individual crown in 16:05.

No county teams or individuals competed.

-- Anthony Gagliano contributed to this report.

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