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Largo continues its improvement


© St. Petersburg Times, published October 26, 2000

The Seminole girls had to fend off an uprising Tuesday from Largo and Palm Harbor University to win their third consecutive conference title.

Largo and Seminole should race at least twice more -- Nov. 2 in the Class 3A, District 5 meet and Nov. 11 in the Region 3 meet, both also at Taylor Park. Seminole beat third-place Largo by 34 points at the Largo Invitational on Oct. 12. However, without the county private schools in the mix at the PCAC meet and with a few stronger individual efforts, the Packers were nipped by just three, 51-54, with PHU a close third with 61.

Largo's greatest improvement came from senior Heather Moran. Last month, it was feared Moran might be out for the season with a stress fracture, but it turned out to be soreness from a bruise, and she finished 15th Tuesday in 21:20. Freshman Deanna Drugash (second, 19:33), junior Amber Murzynski (ninth, 20:26), junior Erin Mayros (11th, 20:36) and sophomore Leah Lesure (17th, 21:27) completed Largo's top 5.

"This should help give the girls confidence to know they can qualify for the state meet," Largo coach Mike Beck said.

GETTING BETTER: Like Largo, PHU also took a significant leap forward Tuesday.

PHU coach Darryl Southard was very pleased with PHU's first five finishers, especially No. 4 Alden Waters, a junior who was so far ahead academically as a freshman last year that she skipped the 10th grade. Waters, who finished in 21:40, had her best race of the year by far, Southard said.

Sophomore Jamie Drake could lift PHU even higher. Drake, recovering from a hip pointer, is just rounding into form. She was PHU's sixth finisher Tuesday in 22:40, but Southard said she should be in the top 5 by the Nov. 11 region meet.

The Hurricanes, the lone 4A school in the county, won't get another crack at Largo and Seminole. The 4A-4 district meet, in which PHU is the lone Pinellas school, is Nov. 2 at G.T. Bray Park in Bradenton.

CONFERENCE CLASH: The 10-team Bay Conference meet, hosted by Keswick Christian, is today at Lake Seminole Park. The junior varsity race, boys and girls combined, is at 3:30 p.m., varsity girls at 4:15 and varsity boys at 5. Shorecrest, Keswick and Indian Rocks Christian are the Pinellas representatives.

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