Sean McManus and Jennifer Schmidt cut back on their training and it pays off with a victory.
By KEITH NIEBUHR
© St. Petersburg Times,
published July 8, 2001
INVERNESS -- At Saturday's inaugural Citrus Summer Showdown, fresh legs prevailed.
After graduating from Notre Dame in May, Sean McManus didn't run for five weeks. After competing in her first Boston Marathon in April, Jennifer Schmidt cut her training schedule in half.
All that rest paid big dividends for both.
McManus, a former cross-country and track star at Lecanto High, finished the 3-mile course at Whispering Pines Park in 15 minutes, 23 seconds to beat 117 runners and claim the title. Schmidt, a 31-year-old from Inverness, was the women's champion (20:12).
"I ran well," McManus said. "It was a decent time."
Neither winner is a stranger to success.
McManus won a state cross-country title as a high school junior and was a two-time state champ in the 3,200. He spent the past five years at Notre Dame, where he earned All-Big East honors as a junior. A lower back injury slowed McManus his senior season, and he figured that some time off from running would so some good.
"I read about (the race) in the paper," McManus said. "I run out (at Whispering Pines Park) two days a week and some of the guys I run with talked me into racing."
McManus defeated a strong field. Ocala's Ryan Ripley, a standout runner at Belleview High, finished second, four seconds back. Daniel Martin, one of several runners to make the five-hour drive from the metro-Miami area, was third at 15:38, followed by Florida's Cory Presnick (15:46), a former Citrus High standout.
"Ryan (Ripley) led for about the first mile and a half, but I was content to run my pace," McManus said. "He slowed up at about the halfway point, but he never fell more than five or six seconds back. I started watching for him to pull up beside me with a quarter-mile left."
But Ripley never did.
Schmidt, who placed 209th in the women's division at this year's Boston Marathon, never was seriously challenged. While training for the marathon, she ran two to three times a day. Schmidt now runs six times a week.
"I was wondering how hard the competition would be," Schmidt said. "I'm happy. I like to win. I started fast because I didn't want somebody to go back and forth with."
Schmidt's closest competitor was 33-year-old Deirdre Byrne of Crystal River, who finished in 21:27. Karen Tyler of Hernando was third (21:36).
"I don't know (Schmidt) well," Byrne said, "but I know she's a good runner."
(3 miles at Whispering Pines Park)
MEN: 1. Sean McManus, Lecanto, 15:23
2. Ryan Ripley, Ocala, 15:27
3. Daniel Martin, Hialeah, 15:38
4. Cory Presnick, Inverness, 15:46
5. Vinny Ambrico, Alta. Springs, 15:58
6. Kevin Lyons, Palm Harbor, 16:07
7. Alex Brutvan, Boca Raton, 16:09
8. Jaime Calzada, Miami, 16:10
9. Jordan Adler, Miami, 16:12
10. Daniel Daly, Boca Raton, 16:14
WOMEN: 1. Jennifer Schmidt, Inverness, 20:12
2. Deirdre Byrne, Crystal River, 21:27
3. Karen Tyler, Hernando, 21:36
4. Holly Hofer, Gainesville, 21:51
5. Amber Presnick, Inverness, 22:08
6. Karen Blacher, Miami, 22:21
7. Sara Carbiniern, D. Beach, 22:34
8. Tiffany Wisecup, Ocala, 22:39
9. Stevie Uribe, Gainesville, 22:46
10. Diane Walters, Miami, 22:58