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Martucci finally comes out on top

Published September 25, 2005

BROOKSVILLE - Ben Martucci liked the view much better Saturday.

After finishing second to Land O'Lakes' Steven Bell twice in two previous races, Hernando's Martucci ran a 16:10 to win the Zak Lucas Invitational boys race at Hernando High School. Gulf's Tommy Accaria was second in 16:37. Bell, who had some back problems, was third (16:48).

"(Bell) was in front of me all the way until we went into the parking lot," Martucci said. "I took the lead and kept it. My team cheered me. We practice on this course quite a bit. I know where everything is at."

Pasco freshman Leeann Eble won the second of her three races, taking the girls race in 19:55. Lecanto's Tara Haddock overcame two hours of sleep to finish second in 20:18.

"This course was the funnest one I have run so far," Eble said. "This is not as steep as the last course we ran. I really enjoyed it."

Haddock led the Lecanto girls to the team title with 68 points. Hernando's girls, who were missing their third runner, Danielle Coopman, took second with 106 points. Crystal River and River Ridge tied for third with 111.

"I always feel I run better when I am tired because I push myself more," said Haddock, who was recovering from Lecanto's Friday night Homecoming. "It was a personal record. This is my favorite course. I get on the track and I love it."

Lecanto's depth won the team title, according to coach Dan Epstein.

"Three, four and five were very close together," Epstein said. "They were the key."

The Land O'Lakes boys took the team title with 61 points. Host Hernando was second with 68 and Crystal River third with 101.

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