tampabay.com

Early to rise and first to the finish

By JOE SMITH
Published November 1, 2006


Pre-dawn wakeup calls are a long-standing tradition for the Seminole boys.

The Warhawks, the defending Class 3A region champs, meet at the school at 5 a.m. two-to-three days a week for long runs.

The togetherness has helped Seminole form a tight pack, as junior Christian Homme said the Warhawks' 3-4-5 runners have "stepped up big-time."

So much so, Seminole coach Bruce Calhoun hasn't had to lose much sleep after graduating three of his top five runners from last season, when the Warhawks took second at state.

"I feel like we can be pretty close to last year," Homme said. "It's tough to lose three seniors, but this season has gone off without a hitch."

Gutsy Bet

A few weeks ago, Northeast senior Russell Snyder revealed an interesting pact made by the Vikings. If the team advances to state for the first time in more than 15 years, the boys would shave their heads. Last I heard, Matt Adkins and John Zurek love their long, curly locks too much - so the group likely will dye their hair red instead.

Young Guns

The Class A region girls race Friday could be confused with a middle-school meet. Eighth-graders like Shorecrest twins Lindsey and Sarah Evans and Indian Rocks Christian star Lindsey Cooper are contenders for state berths, but they may not touch Lakeland Christian's top two - sixth-grader Mallory White 19:31 and seventh-grader Rebecca Eaves (19:38).

Best Bets

Seminole senior Aaron Thomas: The lanky senior has dominated the county and his recent workouts have put him on pace to break 16 minutes before long.

Tarpon Springs sophomore Kailand Cosgrove: The competitive triathlete is fresh off her first district title, but she'll have to hold off Lakewood senior Ali Crabb.

Calvary Christian junior Joe Cathey: The savvy runner, who has a killer kick, is known to draft, then dominate, opponents.

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@sptimes.com or at (727) 893-8129.

IF YOU GO

Friday; admission is $6

Class 4A, Region 2: Ed Radice Park, Tampa. 5:30 p.m. girls, 6:30 boys

Class 3A, Region 3: Buckingham Park, Fort Myers. 10 a.m. girls, 10:30 boys

Class A, Region 3: Taylor Park, Largo. 3 p.m. girls, 3:45 boys

Skinny: Top six teams and 15 individuals qualify for state meet on Nov. 11.