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Central's girls again win conference meet


© St. Petersburg Times, published October 29, 2000

BROOKSVILLE -- The Gulf Coast Athletic Conference cross country meet includes seven schools from three counties, but the Central girls have made the event their own.

Central entered Saturday with four consecutive conference titles, and this year's senior class didn't want to graduate without one more. Central's three seniors finished in the top 10 Saturday, helping Central edge Citrus 46-56. The race was tight as Lecanto finished third with 59 points.

Central senior Erin Courtney finished her only year in cross country by winning the individual title in 19 minutes, 21 seconds.

"The seniors wanted this more than anything," Central girls coach Lisa Bilodeau said. "(Gina) Daley and (Melissa) Bastien definitely showed that. I needed them to run in the 20s, and they did it."

Citrus dominated the boys field, placing five runners in the top 10 to beat Central 29-52.

Hernando's John Emerson took advantage of his home course at McKethan Lake Park, shattering his personal record by 12 seconds. He won the individual title in 15:24, 15 seconds ahead of Citrus' Tony Lyons.

Lyons was on Emerson's heels for most of the race, but Emerson pulled away just before the final mile.

"I put in a real hard surge and took the lead. I think I pretty much left him after that," Emerson said. "(Lyons) beat me at the Citrus Invitational two weeks ago. We did some fast workouts this week, and I was ready to run in this nice weather."

Lecanto's Bryan Holcomb finished third in 15:44 while Citrus' Logan Bollenback took fourth in 15:51. Citrus' Rick Miller grabbed fifth in 16:05.

The girls race was tight throughout. Courtney grabbed a small lead, but Citrus' Lauren Gaffney kept the pressure on before Courtney outkicked her at the finish.

"I came up around this last turn, and I couldn't hear her behind me," Courtney said. "But then after the bridge, I started to hear her again. So I picked it up again. I ran all out."

Gaffney came up short at the end, but she did reach her goal. She set a school record with a 19:25, beating the previous mark by two seconds. Gaffney wasn't done Saturday. She still had the conference swim meet at 1 p.m.

"I'm going back to bed," Gaffney said after the race. "I need some rest."

Springstead's Lindsay Boldt finished third in 19:57 while Citrus' Amber Presnick took fourth in 20:12. Lecanto's Nicole Mailloux grabbed fifth in 20:33.

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