© St. Petersburg Times, published March 30, 2003
GAINESVILLE -- Tony Cormier's drive to the University of Florida shouldn't have taken as long as it did. And as the St. Petersburg Catholic senior said afterward, neither should the time it took him to run a mile.
A 12th-place finish in Saturday's 1-mile invitational at the Florida Relays forced Cormier to find a training table immediately following the race.
"The heat really affected me," said Cormier, who ran 4:32.95 after driving four hours -- twice as long as usual -- from St. Petersburg. "I had nothing left."
After finishing third at the state championships last season, Cormier said he would have liked to cross the finish line in front of defending state champ Andrew Martin.
"(Martin) got me at the end," he said. "But my last 100 (meters) was slow. Anybody could have walked me down."
Only one other athlete from Pinellas County competed in Saturday's invitational races, also leaving disappointed.
Clearwater Central Catholic's Kevin Lyons ran the 2-mile race in 9:51.09 for 14th place, more than 25 seconds slower than his personal best. Despite a No. 2 seeding, Lyons struggled with a sinus infection that kept him out of school two days last week. Still recovering during spring break, he said hanging with Saturday's competition would have been difficult even at full strength.
"If something amazing happened, I might have been able to be up there, but not necessarily with the leaders," Lyons said. "This week has been kind of a setback."
Competing in Saturday's Class 4A high school competition, which is separate from the invitational races, Palm Harbor University's Courtney LaCroix cleared 5 feet, 4.25 inches in the high jump to earn fifth place.
Although she cleared the same height last season, the jump was her highest of the year.