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Outsider routs field at Bishop


© St. Petersburg Times, published September 24, 2000

BRANDON -- Even before the start of the girls race at the Don Bishop Invitational at Brandon High, Carling Cookerly was mentally way ahead of her competition.

When she crossed the finish line in 18 minutes, 7 seconds, she was so far ahead that her competition could barely see her.

Carling, a senior at Sarasota Riverview, finished 34 seconds faster than her closest competitor, Amanda Wells of Gaither. She ran so fast that the heat caused her to feel a little dizzy following the race. "I wanted to take it out hard, and I was out in 5:45 I think," Carling said. "Last race, I got out in 5:30, and it got me really tired in the second and third mile. I wanted to take it a little slower than that, but that is how I took the lead.

"It's just me. That is how I race no matter what when anybody is around; no matter who else is there because you get distracted if you have other people that you are focusing on."

Carling's performance helped Sarasota Riverview place first among 20 schools. The Rams finished with three runners in the top ten. (Shea Cookerly took fifth while April Snow was eighth.)

Following Carling and Wells were Amber Littleton of Bloomingdale and Lindsey Moffenbier of East Bay. The boys race was a lot closer.

As they came down the stretch, Sickles' Adam Sisler went to his reserve tank to win in 16:07. Brandon Coughlin of Bloomingdale finished behind Sisler in 16:13.

"Brandon is very good," Sisler said. "He is very strong this year. That was so hard. That was the longest sprint I have ever ran."

Sisler also almost got sick after the race, and he said the heat was a factor. However, he said his determination took over. "You just have to have the drive to do it," he said.

Sisler said his goal is to cut a minute off of Saturday's time. Coughlin's finish did help the Bulls win by 20 points. Sickles finished second while Sarasota Riverview was third.

After Sisler and Coughlin were Nathan Abrams of Chamberlain, Keaton Tunstall of Durant and Jeremy Hall of Gaither.

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