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Wharton sweeps 3A-3 district meet

Published October 28, 2005

DADE CITY - Scoring sheets validated what most fans packed in the stands at Little Everglades Ranch had witnessed.

Droves of blue uniforms storming the lead packs and racing toward a narrow finishing gate.

Some runners crossed the line smiling. Others cried. Some dropped to the grass gasping for air.

And the blue uniforms?

Most belonged to Wharton, winners of the boys and girls Class 3A, District 3 meet. "You don't come to a district meet and not want to win it," Wharton girls coach Wes Newton said. "On the girls and boys side we figured Ocala Vanguard was going to be our competition. "

Newton was right.

Wharton's boys scored 40 points to edge Ocala Vanguard (58). Land O'Lakes (83) finished third followed by Ocala Forest (173), Ridgewood (181) and Central (183).

Wharton's girls also claimed the first-place trophy with 28 points after seven girls finished in the top 11 spots. Vanguard (46) was second followed by, Wesley Chapel (113), Gulf (126), Ridgewood (144) and River Ridge (179).

Those teams qualified for the region meet at Ocala Forest on Nov. 5.

"Now it's regions," Wharton boys coach Clarence Williams said. "I won't say it will be an easy day for us. We'll go, we'll run hard, we'll run smart and try to accomplish our objectives."

Individually, Land O'Lakes senior Steven Bell surged ahead early to win the boys race. He finished in 16 minutes, 10 seconds for his best showing at Little Everglades Ranch.

Bell was intent on increasing his lead throughout. He finished well ahead of Wharton senior Ryan Courtoy (16:42).

The girls race was won by Vanguard senior Kelly Parrish, the defending 3A state champion. Her time of 18:38 was 11 seconds ahead of freshman teammate Tori Lawson.

[Last modified October 28, 2005, 01:35:22]

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