GIBSONTON - Plant's girls and Wharton's boys captured Class 3A, District 4 team titles Thursday afternoon at E.G. Simmons Park.
Jefferson's Evander Jones won the boys individual championship and Plant's Brigithe Moreno won the girls title.
Moreno, a freshman, has been nursing an ankle injury most of the year, but was given the go-ahead to race Thursday. Even running with pain, she completed the three-mile race in 19 minutes, 13.78 seconds.
"It was hurting, but the doctor said I could run, so I just ran through the pain," Moreno said. "I ran today for my little brother, Uziel. He is supposed to be born in the next couple weeks and my mom is still here supporting me. I will get some massages on my ankle this week, train and be ready for regionals next Friday."
Jones finished nine seconds ahead of second-place Ryan Courtoy of Wharton. He replaced his hard kick with a new tactic in the district win.
"I came to the race tired today, so I was glad to have a new twist for my run," Jones said. "One of my coaches told me for the final mile to slow down and surge, slow down and surge. I did and it seemed to give me better results than my kick.
"It was hot and humid on the course. We had a little shower of a few seconds and boy did that feel good. I wish it had showered the whole race."
Plant's girls finished with 44 points, followed by Wharton (52), Sickles (68), Brandon (155), East Bay (181) and Alonso (198). The top-six teams qualify for the regional meet.
For the boys, Wharton won with 59 points, followed by Brandon (64), Plant (65), Sickles (78), East Bay (174) and Middleton (178).
A-3: Bucs, Terrapins advance to regionals
TAMPA - Host Berkeley Prep and Tampa Prep moved on to regional competition in the boys and girls divisions, but powerhouse Frostproof stole the show at the final district meet.
The Frostproof boys took the first four positions, and seven of the first 10 in the Class A, District 3 meet at Al Lopez Park. Barvan Alvarado was the winner in 16:53, and freshman Omar Galarza finished second in 16:57. The pair was more than a minute and a half ahead of the field. Frostproof, with a score of 18, finished 33 points ahead of second-place Berkeley Prep. Sante Fe Christian finished third with 81 points, and Tampa Prep (137) was fourth.
"Even with their sixth and seventh guy they're way up there," said Berkeley Prep coach Eileen Daly of Frostproof. "They've got five seniors."
Leading the way for Berkeley Prep was Adam Kerr. Kerr registered a time of 17:46, good enough for sixth. Kerr, Sante Fe Christian's Ryan Bodolay and Berkeley's Robert Livingston, fifth and seventh, respectively, were the only athletes from schools other than Frostproof to crack the top 10.
Can anyone beat Frostproof at the regional or state level?
"Not this year," Daly said. "When you're that good ... with that much depth, it's a tough challenge."
Frostproof's Yuridia Aguilar won for the girls in 20:43. But six Berkeley Prep runners finished in the top 10, giving the school the overall title. Berkeley finished with 27 points, 46 points ahead of second-place Lakeland Christian. Frostproof was third with 94 points and Tampa Prep was fifth with 130 points.
"They run in a great pack," Daly said of her runners. "We don't need any frontrunners because we have such a strong pack."
Leading the way for Berkeley Prep was Caitlin Ainsley, who finished second in 20:57.
The top six schools in Thursday's meet and the top 15 runners move on to regional competition, scheduled for next week. The goal for all runners is the state finals, scheduled for Nov. 6 at Ed Radice Park.