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King's Bowerman cruises to victory

Nobody challenges the senior at the USF/Jesuit Invitational as she prepares for state.

By TERRY JONES, Times Correspondent
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 14, 2003

TAMPA - With a smooth course and no wind resistance Saturday, Laura Bowerman ran strong at the gun and was not challenged in the 3-mile USF/Jesuit Cross Country Invitational.

The King senior won the girls race in 17 minutes, 42.71 seconds, an impressive start on her path for a state title.

Gaither sophomore Amanda Quick stayed with Bowerman the first half mile but fell back and had to sprint the final 200 yards to edge Ocala Vanguard sophomore Kelly Parrish for second. Quick finished in 18:31.64, ahead of Parrish's 18:32.49.

"Amanda and Kelly were close early, but I made a surge at about the first half-mile mark and they dropped back," Bowerman said. "This is my first big race for the season, so I still have a lot of work to do. I plan to do a lot of speed drills to get ready for the race next week in Brandon. This was a good race."

Quick realized in the first mile she was racing for second place.

"My plan was to stay close to Laura, because I knew she would stay in front of the pack," Quick said. "She took off at the half mile though, and the race was for second and between Kelly and myself. I had to really sprint in the end to overtake her."

Plant grouped its first five close enough to score 125 points to win the team title. Wharton was second with 137. Whitney Banker had her personal best of 19:44 to lead the Panthers for the team championship. Tiffanie Saxton, Maegan McCarthy, Maggie Daly and Katie Wagner also scored for Plant.

"They did well as a team today," Plant coach Roy Harrison said. "The top five ran close together, and that was very good, especially since we haven't done a lick of speed work so far this season.

"Several of our runners improved their personal records today, and Whitney did especially well to lead the pack."

Tiffany Saxton finished 20th for Wharton, but she led a very tight pack to help the Wildcats finish second. Teammates adding points included Kristin Galbraith, Maria Cavallos, Erica Garrish and Courtney Clearwaters.

"I am very pleased with their performance today," Wharton coach Lindsey Newton said. "This is looking like it could be our best team in several years. Today they ran as a pack, almost within arm's reach of each other. Before districts we will have to work on some speed drills and bring our numbers four and five up closer to the front."


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