Gryphon picks up pace when it counts

Published October 14, 2006

TAMPA - As Sickles' Derek Wehunt and Berkeley Prep's Richard Blake approached the finish line of the Bank of America Gasparilla Distance Classic at Ed Radice Park, it looked like Blake, ahead by about 20 feet with only a few hundred meters left, would score a mild upset of sorts and defeat Wehunt on his home course.

Wehunt, however, hung tough, and on the course's last turn, sprinted by the tiring runner to win the event in 16:25.

"(Blake) had me for a while. I knew I just had to stay behind him and wait until the end. All of my teammates were yelling, 'You've got to go,' " Wehunt said.

Blake (16:30) finished five seconds behind Wehunt and 13 seconds in front of teammate Tyler Greathouse (16:43), who ran most of the course barefoot after losing a shoe early in a mud pit.

Sickles' Ciprian Mejia (16:49) finished fifth and Dan Wehunt (16:59) seventh to lead the Gryphons to a 53-66 victory over second-place Jesuit, which raced without Connor Revord (calf injury).

Plant's Brigithe Moreno was dominant as usual for the girls. She led by close to 20 seconds after the 1-mile mark and pulled away steadily from there, finishing in 18:48, almost a full minute in front of Wharton's Katrina Skinner (19:47).

"I think I'm running well right now," Moreno said. "I'm just focusing on trying to build to states."