The Wildcats, a late entry, win both boys and girls team competitions at the Don Bishop Memorial meet.
BRANDON - Wharton swept Saturday's Don Bishop Memorial meet, winning the boys and girls titles. The Wildcat girls had three runners in the top 10 to finish with 49 points. The boys recorded 47 points, also placing three in the top 10.
After hurricanes and rain canceled meets in North Florida this weekend, the meet swelled from nine to about 28 teams.
"What did we have, almost three times the number of schools we expected? And it happened almost overnight," Brandon athletic director Sonny Hester said. "But things went well. We had some very competent people helping keep things smooth."
East Bay junior Paige Williams won the girls individual race with a time of 19 minutes, 34 seconds.
"The frontrunners got lost on the course, but there were some officials to help us get back on the right track," Williams said. "We lost some time because of that, but not much. There was good competition. Any time I race Shannon Kelly (second-place finisher from Sickles) I have great competition. We actually push each other. I consider it a good race."
Kelly finished 11 seconds behind Williams in 19:45.
East Bay coach Mark Buchanan was pleased with the way Williams ran.
"We knew Kelly had a little better kick, so we planned it for Paige to have a little lead near the end," Buchanan said. "She did it just right. Of course Paige has a good kick too and she simply ran a good race."
Helping Wharton win the team title with top 10 finishes were Jessica Forrester (third), Nicole Stanley (fifth) and Tiffanie Saxton (seventh).
"We set one and two mile marks for everyone and after that what ever happens just happens," said Wharton coach Wes Newton, whose team entered after a meet at the University of Florida was canceled. "We were determined to either race today or have a hard practice. I'm glad we were able to get in here."
Sickles pressed Wharton hard and finished second with 65 points. Finishing in the top 10 for the Gryphons were Kelly (second), Jenny Snyder (ninth) and Angela Hegge (10th).
Evander Jones, a Jefferson junior, won the boys race in 16:56. He made his move to take the lead late.
"We were about 21/2 miles into the race when I noticed the leaders seemed to be slowing down, so I made my move then," Jones said. "I did a little better last week in a meet, with a time of 16:20. Hopefully, I can get below 16 minutes by the end of the season and do well in the state meet." Brandon's Orssie Bumphus (17:11) was second and led the Eagles to second in the team race with 98 points. Jesuit finished third with 100 points, followed by Riverview (197) and Bloomingdale (217).AHN's Petrick wins Lecanto Invitational
LECANTO - It would be a stretch to say this was a highly-anticipated race for Sara Petrick. For one thing, her Academy of Holy Names team just added the Lecanto Invitational Thursday in the wake of a hurricane-related cancellation.
And a 5 a.m. Saturday wakeup call for the trip from Tampa to Citrus County won't thrill any high schooler.
"I was actually so tired I wasn't excited or anything," Petrick said. "But when I got out here I saw the girls and I saw the competition, immediately a spark lit up for me."
The senior took that spark and ran with it to win the 26-team event. She was the only girl to break the 20-minute mark for the 3.1 miles.
Petrick ran 19:51 and teammate Aileen Fletcher was 14th in 21:37, helping the Jaguars to a fifth-place team finish with 168 points. Vero Beach won with 69 points and host Lecanto was second with 106.
AHN was scheduled to run at the Gator Invitational in Gainesville, but post-storm course conditions forced the high school portion of the event to be canceled. Instead the Jaguars headed for Lecanto, whose hilly course did not seem as daunting after last weekend's race at Florida State.
"They had a huge hill. I think it prepared me for this course," said Petrick, who beat Leela Hadsock of Hernando by 18 seconds. "This is a really nice course, a lot of ups and downs. It motivated me, it was fun trying to work up a hill and then racing really fast down."
AHN was the only Hillsborough County team at the race. On the boys side, Scott Mackley of Lakeland Kathleen won in 16:38, 14 seconds clear of Orlando Bishop Moore's Andrew Byrnes.
Vero Beach's boys completed a sweep of team honors with 108 points. Hernando was second with 130 and Sarasota (133) was fourth.
- JOHN SCHWARB, Times staff writer