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IRC individuals sweep top spots

Berkeley Prep and Frostproof post team victories, but Janelle Hewel and Tim Rousonelos use different strategies to win.

JAMAL THALJI
Published October 30, 2004

LARGO - There's no one way to win a race.

At Friday morning's Class A, Region 2 meet, Indian Rocks Christian demonstrated two ways.

Janelle Hewel ran a steady pace, took the lead a half-mile before the finish and cruised to victory.

Tim Rousonelos stayed behind the competition, then shot from third to first in the last 800 meters.

Two different races, one result: the Golden Eagles swept the individual titles at Taylor Park.

Hewel won with a time of 20 minutes, 8.89 seconds, beating runner-up Jane Watts of Berkeley Prep by 6.48 seconds. Rousonelos ran a 16:34.33 to edge Frostproof's Omar Galarza by 3.4 seconds. Frostproof won the team title.

It was the first region title for both.

"I was pretty sure (Tim) could win," said IRC coach Kris Williams. "But Janelle was so close there, I didn't think she could run away with it and win as easily as she did. I thought it would come down to a couple of feet."

It was a good day for Pinellas County runners and teams vying to qualify for the Nov. 6 state championships.

The Shorecrest girls again could not unseat Bay Conference rival Berkeley Prep, which won its first region title by 18 points. But the runner-up Chargers enjoyed their best region finish in three years. Pavandeep Birk led Shorecrest, placing third (20:20.92).

"We had some girls who didn't do as well as they thought they wanted to," Chargers coach Jeff Raab said. "I'm not complaining at all. All we can ask the girls to do is the best they can. "

The Keswick Christian girls knew they could get to state. But the Keswick boys? Ryan Shawdonens (11th, 17:42.23) and Amanda Miller (28th, 22:14.46) both led their teams to fifth place, but it was the boys who surprised coach Lance Lipham.

"I told the girls if they ran mediocre they can still make it," Lipham said. "Unfortunately for the boys, I couldn't say that for them. They had to uncork one to make it out, and they did."

The Shorecrest boys, led by Bryan Reynolds' 12th place finish (17:40.06), placed sixth to qualify for state. Joining them will be Calvary Christian's Joe Cathey, who was eighth (17:29.84), and Admiral Farragut's Elizabeth Wells, who was 10th (21:12.58).

IRC's Melissa Kotchman was sixth (20:49.74) overall and second on her team, but is more than a minute off her best time because of hip bursitis. "She's not going to run healthy this season," Williams said. "She's just running for the team right now. She's just trying to fight through it as much as she has to."

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