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Pack mentality carries Lecanto girls to victory

The Panthers win by 63 points while the Central boys edge Ocala Forest to win their home meet for the first time in four years.


© St. Petersburg Times, published October 8, 2000

BROOKSVILLE -- Twelve hours earlier on the same campus, Central's football team had beaten Lecanto so badly the Panthers opted for a running clock in the second half.

Saturday morning, both schools had teams looking at the same clock with a bit more interest, but this time, Lecanto was the one that won easily.

The Panthers girls and Central's boys took first in a field of 17 schools at the Central Invitational. Lecanto's five runners were among the 15 fastest girls, and the Panthers' score of 44 was the lowest by 63 points.

"They've been told that they need to run as a pack to win races," said Lecanto coach Dan Epstein, whose top runner, Amanda Howard, was sidelined with a hip injury. "They did it today, and I can't be more pleased. I never expected to win it today."

Devin Murphy (21:18) finished fifth to lead the Panthers, with Nicole Mailloux (21:25), Kylene Colasanti (21:52) and Deidre Witherspoon (21:58) taking seventh, eighth and ninth. Lisa Watson took 15th in 22:27.

Springstead's Lindsay Boldt won her first individual title in 20:19, catching Lake Weir's Amanda Peters at the 2-mile mark and pulling away to win by 17 seconds.

"I didn't want to play back-and-forth with her, and I knew I could get her in the last 1,200 (meters)," Boldt said.

River Ridge's Danielle Coyle (3rd, 20:53) and Crystal River's Rebecca Thielemann (4th, 21:04) were the only other North Suncoast runners among the top 10 girls.

Admiral Farragut sophomore John Biffar, who won the JV race at the same meet last year in 17:47, won the boys' race by 30 seconds with a time of 15:36.

"He's been racing extremely well the last few weeks," Farragut coach Phil Barnhill said. "He's really made a dramatic improvement in the last year. He had a great summer of training."

Central's boys edged Ocala Forest by only three points, getting a personal-best time of 16:16 from junior Trever Scales, who finished fourth. The Bears were leading by one point after each team had four runners in, but Central's Kurt Lee came in 23rd, two spots ahead of Forest's Sam Almanger, to seal the victory.

"I'm happy with some things, unhappy with others," said Central coach Vic Cervizzi, whose team won its home meet for the first time in four years. "The day I become satisfied with everything is the day it's time to quit coaching."

Cervizzi said the gutsy performances of Lee and Derek Smith, who finished 18th in 17:38, made up for poor showings by the Bears' regular No. 4 and 5 runners. Mitchell's Dan Sheehan (7th, 16:44) and Central's Aaron Henley (9th, 16:59) joined Scales as the only North Suncoast boys among the top 10. Central's Adam Riney (17:08) finished 11th.

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