tampabay.com

Indians sophomore goes the extra mile

A few more yards don't keep Morgan Williams from winning at Durant.

By BRYAN BURNS
Published September 27, 2006


PLANT CITY - Somewhere along Durant's winding, overlapping cross country course that featured more twists and turns than a Busch Gardens amusement ride, the lead pack of girls runners got confused and ended up running farther than necessary.

For the East Bay girls, however, the extra running was just a temporary nuisance.

Morgan Williams, who claims she probably ran 50 yards out of her way during the mixup, took control around the halfway point of Tuesday's Ron Frost Invitational and held off teammate and fellow sophomore Lauren Verbosky to win in a time of 22:08.

Verbosky, who trailed Williams by only a couple of feet for much of the race, placed second in 22:30.

"I was almost around the entire tennis courts before I realized I was going the wrong way," Williams said. "I was sprinting, and it slowed me down. It got me a little flustered because I wasn't sure what to do."

Williams said she passed a runner for first place shortly thereafter and used Verbosky's close pursuit to drive her toward the finish line.

Williams and Verbosky's one-two finish paced East Bay as the Indians took the team title.

"This event is a little smaller, a little more low key, but the kids enjoy it a little bit more," East Bay coach Mark Buchanan said. "The girls did real well tonight. ...A lot of them had personal best times, so that was real good."

For the boys, Durant's Kevin Jones left little doubt who would cross the finish first from the opening moments of the race.

Jones, a senior whom Durant coach Bryce Predmore says has finished first in all but one race this season, shot out ahead of the pack at the starting gun and opened a 20-yard lead at the course's first turn, about 400 meters in.

Jones put it on cruise control from there and crossed the finish in 16:58. Teammates Khemaron Kelly and John Mitchell followed Jones in second and third place, respectively, to earn Durant the team title.

"Every race I try to get out at a certain mark in the first mile," Jones said. "I just try to get out into the top 10, top five. That's a good start for me.

"I was trying to get a certain time today. I stayed under 17 minutes, so that's a pretty good mark."

Durant had four place in the top 10 (the Cougars' Dan Barrouse finished sixth) to lead all teams.