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Masterson works hard to make victory look easy

© St. Petersburg Times
published April 13, 2003

You would think an opening mile of 4 minutes, 58 seconds with a 100-meter lead would convince a front runner that he could coast home in a 5K road race.

Jeff Masterson, winner of the recent Beach to Bayou event in Tarpon Springs, didn't look at it that way.

"Although I knew I had a comfortable lead at the mile mark, I wasn't about to back off," said Masterson, a Mitchell High School sophomore who was the 2002 Times Pasco County Runner of the Year in cross country.

"I'm serious about reaching the next level, and that means running hard all the time, not backing off," Masterson said. "In training, I also have to run alone a lot, so I have to push myself. I want to be up there with Kevin Lyons (Clearwater Central Catholic) and Andy Biladeau (Jesuit)."

Masterson was running the 24th Beach to Bayou on a new course that started and ended in the Sponge Docks area. His time was 16:13, a 5:13 per-mile pace.

Dave O'Meara, 39, of Sarasota led the chase pack to take second place. He won last year in 16:58. A week ago, O'Meara finished with the same time on a course that had a few more turns.

Air Force Col. Paul Hough, 45, came on strong to capture third (17:09), just ahead of Ridge Manor's Eddie Hensley (17:28) and Tarpon Springs High junior Michael Knous (17:56).

The women's race had a familiar face leading the field -- defending champion Judy Maguire, 44, of Clearwater's Dianetics Running Team. She established an early edge on New Port Richey's Jacki Waller, 23, to win with ease, 18:25 to Waller's 18:44.

Following Waller was Countryside grad Loretta Simeon (19:45). Fourth went to Alexa Gemma (20:03), then it was masters division winner Lisa Kothe (20:31) of Clearwater.

FESTIVAL OF STATES: Clearwater's Keith Batten posted his third consecutive win by capturing the title of the 5K race Tuesday night in downtown St.Petersburg.

The former USF assistant coach eased away from Steve Wilcox at the 2-mile mark and crossed the finish line in 16:05 for a 7-second margin of victory.

Rachel Winter, a winter resident from England, prevailed among a larger women's field in 18:33. Runner-up Laure Blume (18:52) of Pinellas Park was 15 seconds behind at the mile mark and saw Winter extend the lead.

YMCA GULFSIDE GALLOP: It's rare when a woman wins a mixed-field race.

So it must be doubly rare when women finish 1-2 in a coed event.

That's what happened a week ago at Indian Rocks Beach, as winter resident Winter (20:06) of St.Pete Beach and Clearwater's Kim Miles (21:43) inadvertently kicked sand in the faces of the men in hot pursuit.

The top three men were Lee Wilkerson of Indian Rocks Beach, 22:45; Tampa's Chris Smith, and Peter Pisasale of Indian Rocks Beach.

Gulfport's Karen Alexeev was third among women, 25:12.

WOMEN'S NATIONAL MARATHON: In St.Louis on April 5, a first-time marathoner won the title and $19,000.

Sara Wells, 24, overtook three-time Olympian Colleen De Reuck near the 25th mile for a victory in 2:35:37.

Wells' time qualified her for next year's Olympic Trials Marathon on the same course. The Minnesota native earned a trip to Paris in August to represent the USA in the World Championship Marathon.

De Reuck, 38, secured an Olympic Trials berth with her runner-up 2:37:41. Previously, she represented South Africa in the Olympics.

Former Times Turkey Trot winner Lisa Vaill of Gainesville qualified for the trials with a sixth-place performance of 2:43:07 in a field of 65 competitors.

QUARTERLY RANKINGS: The rankings for the first three months of the year are based heavily on the Gasparilla 15K, although all races in the area and sometimes elsewhere are factored in.

Injuries and inactivity affect the selections. As a rule, three competitions are necessary to be considered.

That criterion eliminates such standouts as Tony Teats, Vicki Stum, Kit Van Allan, Steve Mikles, Joe and Jim Burgasser and 2002 Times Turkey Trot 5K winner Blume.

Men -- 1. Batten. 2. Wilcox. 3. Bob Villacres. 4. Jeff Delie. 5. John Biffar. 6. Brian Scott. 7. Bryan Prushinski. 8. David Meri. 9. Antonio Perez. 10. Victor Yeager. Masters men -- 1. David Putnam. 2. Jim Meunch. 3. Royston Dillon. 4. Duncan Cameron. 5. Colman Mooney.

Women -- 1. Maguire. 2. Lisa Valentine. 3. Christy Phillips. 4. Kim Donaldson. 5. Amy McClenathan. 6. Diane Cayll-Skiles. 7. Donna Nesslar. 8. Lisa Plescia. 9. Kothe. 10. Kathleen Kaye. Masters women -- 1. Alexeev. 2. Kathy Gruber. 3. Cindy Krager. 4. Dottie Foster. 5. Annette Frisch.

An oddity is that all of the top-10 women are in their 40s.

Frisch won the 60-64 division in the Disney Half Marathon, Max Bayne Half Marathon, Strawberry Classic and Largo's Unicorn 5K.

Palm Harbor's Noora Alidina, 47, captured the women's title of the March 29 Croom Trail 50-miler in 8:04, but that alone couldn't justify inclusion in the rankings.

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