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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.
DADE CITY - The fog had yet to break early Saturday when Tarpon Springs sophomore Kailand Cosgrove rode with her father in his Dodge Ram truck.
Cosgrove, a nationally ranked triathlete, settled her nerves before her first state cross-country meet with a clever one-liner:
"If the other girls had to bike 25 miles before they started running," she told her father, Dean, "it'd be an easier race."
The race, held at Little Everglades Park, was far from easy, but Cosgrove gutted out a third-place finish in 19 minutes, 9 seconds.
Not far behind was Lakewood star senior Ali Crabb 6th, 19:30, who joined three other county girls in the top 25 of the 3A race.
"This was the best season of my career," a sweat-soaked Crabb said. "It was neat, too. Three of us - me, Kailand and Madalyn (Stills) - were in the same box at the starting line. So we did our own little Pinellas County chant together."
It worked, as Seminole freshman phenom Katie Homme (18th, 20:22) led the Warhawks to a 10th-place finish. Clearwater sophomore Stills (24th, 20:34) continued her strong late-season strides.
"I felt great," Stills said. "Everyone else was falling down or puking at the end, but I was ready to go again."
There were strong performances by young standouts who'll likely make noise at state meets to come. In the 4A race, Palm Harbor junior Laura Levin (26th, 19:53) and sophomore Stephanie Boyd (41st, 20:32) led the Hurricanes to a 12th-place finish.
Then there was the Class A race, in which Shorecrest eighth-grade twins Sarah (24th, 20:27) and Lindsey Evans (37th,
21:03) sandwiched steady senior Pavandeep Birk (25th, 20:28) to propel Shorecrest to a 10th-place finish. Indian Rocks took 14th.
Sarah and Lindsey "are amazing - running times like that at that age," Birk said. "They're my idols."