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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
The Warhawks' prerace cheer and strong execution helps them to a second-place finish.
By JOE SMITH
Published November 12, 2006
DADE CITY - Seminole senior Aaron Thomas yelled, "Seminole boys," and the shaggy-haired crew quickly huddled together Saturday afternoon.
The Warhawks formed a circle, interlocking their arms and rocking back and forth while chanting in unison.
"It's time to represent!"
Seminole did just that in the state cross-country meet at Little Everglades Park, putting together a spectacular team effort in pulling out a second-place finish in Class 3A.
"This is so far beyond what I believed would occur," Seminole coach Bruce Calhoun said. "I'm just shaking my head."
Like the Northeast boys, who parlayed their first state meet appearance in more than two decades into a 14th-place finish, Seminole appeared to enter this season in rebuilding mode.
Three of the Warhawks top five runners had graduated - including Times Runner of the Year Tony Nicolosi - making a repeat runnerup plaque from states appear improbable.
Enter steady stars such as Thomas (sixth, 16 minutes, 34 seconds), the conference, district and region champ, and junior Christian Homme (second, 16:20), who delivered the best performance of his career Saturday.
They were called "the studs," as teammate Kevin Siesel said. But it was Siesel, senior Kyle Vogel and Julio Silva (the Warhawks 3-4-5 runners) who came up clutch late in the season.
They were the unsung stars, much like how Northeast's John Zurek (56th, 17:49) and Matt Adkins (70th, 18:00) played a supporting role to senior Russell Snyder (3rd, 16:26).
The Vikings battled all year with St. Petersburg, which took 16th in the 4A race. The Green Devils, sporting matching mohawks, were sparked by the late-season return of fourth-man Kevin Gates from a broken foot.
Shorecrest took ninth in the Class A race, but it was Calvary Christian junior Joe Cathey (14th, 17:04) who stole the show.
"Joe's amazing for a junior," Keswick Christian senior Steven Thompson said. "He's one guy I'll come back and watch next year."