BRADENTON - The Gaither Cowboys won't be going to the state meet. It will just feel like it.
Although the girls team failed to receive a berth to state at Ed Radice Park, three runners qualified by placing in the top 15 in Saturday's Class 4A, Region 2 event.
Sophomore Amanda Quick came home in 20:18 for fifth. Fighting a sinus infection that slowed her in district, also at Lakewood Ranch, Quick merely wanted a time that would give her another shot at state, in which she finished 15th last year. After an eighth-place district performance, she lopped 1:12 off her time Saturday.
"I still don't feel strong," Quick said. "But give me seven days, and I'll be a new person."
Joining her Saturday will be junior Kathryn Kramer, who produced the 14th fastest time (21:17) in her regional; and her sister, Katie, a freshman who slid in the field by taking 15th. Gaither (eighth) missed out in the team standings. The top six squads advanced.
Bloomingdale accomplished what Gaither wanted as the Bulls' third-place performance sends them to the championship. It was a tight race in the point totals as Bloomingdale and St.Cloud ended up with 141 to tie for second. However, St.Cloud's sixth runner came in 57th and Bloomingdale's was 72nd, handing the Bulldogs the runner-up trophy.
Nine points separated second-sixth. Gaither was 25 back of sixth-place Sarasota Riverview and six shy of Wellington for seventh. Martin County, the state's No.1 team, had the second and third-place finishers to win the title.
Kerry Allen continued to keep her advantage on Quick, beating her for the fourth straight time to take the girls' crown (19:16).
The Bloomingdale boys were shut out of state, as was the rest of Hillsborough County. Bulls senior Kyle Koontz had the best day, 17:53 for 17th.
- ANTHONY GAGLIANO
3A-2: Wharton girls win
WINTER HAVEN - Laura Bowerman of King won the girls race in 18:57, and Wharton was the top team in the regional at Polk Community College.
Hillsborough County runners swept the top four spots. East Bay's Paige Williams was second in 19:39, followed by Shannon Kelly of Sickles in 19:50. Tiffanie Saxton placed fourth, 19:55; Nicole Stanley ninth, 20:50; and Maria Cevallos, 11th, 21:03. Plant (75) was third and Sickles (96) fourth.
Flagler Palm Coast dominated the boys event with the top four runners, paced by sophomore Justin Harbor, who won in 16:42. Armwood's Ryan Courtoy was fifth (16:47) and Plant's Jeremy Meyer eighth (17:00). County runners took spots 10-13: King's James Toohey (10th, 17:07), Plant's Sam Gibbons (11th, 17:09), Alonso's Matthew Broderick (12th, 17:11) and Wharton's Paul Pakidis (13th, 17:12).
Plant (89) captured second, and Lakeland George Jenkins had 99. The top six teams and top 15 individuals qualified for Saturday's state meet at Tampa's Ed Radice Sports Complex.
- Compiled by Times staff, using information from the Ledger in Lakeland.