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A few facts, figures and footnotes about Saturday's state cross country finals in Dade City.
By Times Staff
Published November 9, 2006
Need to Know
Where: Little Everglades Ranch, Dade City
Directions: Head north on Interstate 75, and get off at Exit 293 (Highway 41). Head east into Dade City, turning left on U.S. 301. Head north 2-3 miles, passing a drive-in movie theater and the Pioneer Florida Museum. Take a right on Gould (van entrances are at Ashbrook).
Schedule: Class 4A girls (8 a.m.); Class A girls (8:30); Class 4A boys (9); Class A boys (9:30); Class 2A girls (10); Class 3A girls (10:30); Class 2A boys (11); Class 3A boys (11:30).
Best Race of the Morning
We're going with the Class A boys race, where Berkeley Prep's Richard Blake likely will be neck-and-neck at the front with Calvary Christian nemesis Joe Cathey.
Blake lost by 12 seconds to Cathey at the district meet before watching Cathey overtake him down the stretch to win last week's regional by less than a second.
"It is always Joe taking over at the end, just out-kicking him in the final stretch," Buccaneers coach Eileen Daly said. "So Richard's got to play with different strategies in the race, shake him earlier and hold on to the lead."
Best Race of the Late Morning
On paper, it appears they're saving the best for next-to-last. The boys 2A race, at 11 a.m., should be ultra-competitive at the front of the pack, where Jesuit's Connor Revord will duel Hernando nemesis and fellow region champ Ben Martucci, among others.
At the Red Mule 5K in Hernando County in August, Revord overtook Martucci in the last 50 yards to win in 15:58. A month later at the flrunners.com Invitational, Revord edged Martucci by three seconds to place 14th in the Race of Champions.
Berkeley Prep's girls, who find themselves in the same classification (A) with state power Melbourne Holy Trinity. The Tigers' top five runners - none of them seniors - ran sub-20-minute times at last week's regional. By contrast, none of the other three Class A regions had five girls runners finish in under 20 minutes.
Plant senior Maggie Daly gets this distinction hands down. Daly couldn't understand why she was posting mediocre times - by her standards, anyway - during the season until finding out she was suffering a recurrence of the mononucleosis she battled in December.
Without Daly, ninth at last season's 3A girls meet, the Panthers likely won't challenge for the team title, though junior Brigithe Moreno is a favorite for the individual crown. Plant was second at last weekend's region meet in Lakeland.
"She's handling it better than many of the rest of us," said Eileen Daly, Maggie's mom and the Berkeley Prep coach.
"For her, it was a relief because she was really discouraged as to why she was running so terribly; terribly for her being in the low 20s. ... But she went to the regionals and cheered on her team, and I think it's starting to break her heart a little more now."
Best Shot at a Title
Moreno had the best time of any of the four girls Class 3A region champions and enters Saturday's race as the clear favorite. Team-wise, the Jesuit and Sickles boys have excellent shots at winning titles. Jesuit, which will get a strong push from Region 4 champ Miami Belen Jesuit in the 2A race, is seeking its third consecutive state title.