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Led by Mobley and Presnick, Citrus thrived

The sprinter and the distance runner dominated to earn two-county honors.

By ANTONYA ENGLISH

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 26, 2000


INVERNESS -- From his decades of experience, Citrus High track coach Tom Darby has learned there is generally always someone on a team who makes the group what it is. Without that person, the team would survive. But it might not thrive.

The Hurricanes were lucky this season. They had several athletes of that caliber, but none more important than Cory Presnick and Brent Mobley.

Presnick, the official MVP of the Hurricanes, and Mobley, the unofficial assistant coach/motivator/role model, were the cornerstone of a Citrus team that enjoyed its greatest success in nearly two decades.

Through their performances all season, they proved to be head and shoulders above the competition in Citrus and Hernando counties.

Presnick dominated the 1,600- and 3,200-meter races all season and finished second and fifth respectively in those events at the Class 2A state track and field finals in Gainesville.

He won the 3,200 at the prestigious Florida Relays and set a school record and personal-best time of 4:19 in the 1,600.

"Cory has set parameters and lines by which all others will be measured," Darby said.

Mobley's dominance came in the 100- and 200-meter sprints, where he was the man to beat all season. He also won at the Florida Relays and earned conference, district and regional titles in the 100. He placed fifth in the 100 at the state meet and set personal-best times of 10.66 in the 100 and 21.68 in the 200.

The final competition of their high school careers fell short of personal expectations. Both entered the state meet favored in their specialties, but neither won a title. It was one of life's good lessons learned the hard way.

"Through track I learned about hard work, discipline and being able to balance everything," Presnick said. "It's a lot like life. Losing just makes me realize that one day it's there and one day it's gone. You're going to have your good days and you're going to have your bad days. It's a good lesson."

Asked to describe Presnick's season, Darby said: "Fabulous. And if anybody who saw the state meet believes that that's the best he can run, they are as blind as they can be."

Presnick admits he was disappointed with his state performance, but said he's prepared to move on with the next phase of his life, which includes attending the University of Florida and running track and cross country.

"I've had a good career," he said. "There were five state meets I was perfect and I did what I thought I would and it was bound to happen once that I didn't. I'd rather it would have happened my sophomore or junior year, but ... I had five out of six good meets.

"Running isn't exactly fun, but with everything together, you look back and it was a lot of fun."

Presnick said what he's most looking forward to right now is taking one month off from running -- the longest break he has had in several years.

Darby said he expects Presnick to have a strong college career.

"Cory will end up being a 5,000- or 10,000-meter man in college," Darby said. "He can take phenomenal pace and hold it. He can run into the ground. He has speed, but he doesn't have enough speed to be a great miler in college. But he can be a 5,000 or 10,000 -- 10,000 is probably even best. But he'll do well."

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