tampabay.com

Pasco star finishes first again

LeeAnn Eble wins the girls race of the Land O'Lakes Invitational for the second straight time.

By DEREK LaRIVIERE
Published September 10, 2006


SPRING HILL - After a meal of chicken fingers and chocolate didn't agree with her the night before, Pasco's LeeAnn Eble wasn't sure she was going to be able to finish the 10th annual Land O'Lakes Invitational 5K on Saturday. Twenty minutes and 32 seconds later, she crossed the line as the winner at Crews Lake Park.

For the second consecutive season, Eble finished first in the race. Last season, as a freshman, she won in what was her first cross country event ever. With two wins in two years, Land O'Lakes is quickly becoming her favorite race.

"The course isn't easy," Eble said, "but it's not as bad as some people make it out to be."

Wesley Chapel's Kirsten Fee came in second place, nine seconds behind Eble at 20:41. The performance was somewhat disappointing for Fee, who expressed she was capable of more.

Lake Region took home the girls team title with 77 points and two top-10 finishers: Krystal Benman fourth and Kaylee Spurlin (sixth).

South Lake finished in second place with 87 points.

In the boys race, Derek Wehunt (16:47) of Sickles won a close race over Hernando's Ben Martucci (16:49) and Jesuit's Connor Revord (16:51).

After defeating Martucci head-to-head in the Red Mule Labor Day 5K a few weeks before, Revord was seen by some as the favorite entering Saturday's race. Wehunt was able to overtake Martucci with only meters left in the race, leaving Revord sprinting for third place.

"I am a little disappointed," Revord said. "I didn't stick to the strategy I had going into the race, and it ended up catching up with me."

With help from Wehunt's win, Sickles took home the team title with 54 points. Two other Gryphons finished in the top 10: Dan Wehunt took ninth, with Ciprian Mejia right behind him. Jesuit and Hernando tied for second with 75 points each.

Land O'Lakes (129 points) finished fifth in the boys' standings with strong performances from Felix Soto (17:21, sixth) and Jake Proudfoot (17:22, seventh).

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