By PETE YOUNG, Times staff
© St. Petersburg Times, published November 3, 2000
LARGO -- As Countryside's Erin Wilson raced down the back side of Taylor Reservoir in Thursday's Class 3A, District 5 meet, up ahead of her, in the lead, was Seminole's Sarah Stargel. To her left was Seminole's Nicole Ferraro. To her right was Seminole's Jackie Magee.
The Warhawks were in control.
With Stargel (19 minutes, 22 seconds), Ferraro (19:27) and Magee (19:30) finishing first, second and fourth, respectively, Seminole seized the district title, beating Largo 30-53 in what had been expected to be a tight finish.
Largo freshman Deanna Drugash, the Packers' No. 1 runner since she first walked on campus, showed up at school Thursday morning with a 103-degree fever. She finished the race but was nearly two minutes off her usual time at Taylor Park, placing 13th in 21:16.
However, even if Drugash had won, the team outcome would have been the same as Seminole rose to Largo's challenge.
"I never thought that our top three would do as well as they did," Seminole coach Bruce Calhoun said. "It was just a real good girls team performance today. I couldn't be more pleased with how they did."
With about 250 meters to go, Ferraro closed up on Stargel's shoulder, but Stargel, a junior, pulled away from her classmate to take the individual title.
"I knew someone was behind me, and when she came up on me, I was glad to see that it was her," Stargel said. "We were just pushing each other, and I just ran as hard as I could."
East Lake sophomore Nicole Fry charged up to place third in 19:29, and Wilson, the Pinellas County Athletic Conference champion, finished fifth in 19:34.
The boys race was anticlimactic. Seminole, as expected, won its fourth consecutive title, beating second-place Largo 26-51. The Warhawks placed all seven runners in the top 15 and received a particularly strong performance from senior Jason Kiggens, who finished seventh in a season-best 16:47.
The boys individual race also followed the script. Largo's Dan Bauer opened a large gap by the first mile and held it to win in 15:44. Seminole's Anthony Espaillat outsprinted teammate Gordon Redshaw for second in 16:06, and Largo's Matt Timm was fourth in 16:21.
St. Petersburg, which was led by freshman Clayton Hofstra (sixth, 16:41) and senior Michael Lewis (13th, 17:05), placed third with 82 points. Clearwater (86), Countryside (155) and East Lake (155) also advanced to the Nov. 11 region meet. For the girls, East Lake (100), St. Petersburg (115), Boca Ciega (149) and Clearwater (191) will join Seminole and Largo at the regional.
Lauren McKinley's fourth-place individual finish led the Palm Harbor University girls to a third-place finish at G.T. Bray Park in Bradenton. The Hurricanes advanced to the Region 2 meet Nov. 11 in Orlando.
McKinley, a senior who finished in 19:41, was followed in the PHU lineup by sophomore Rebekah Lindsey (13th, 20:17) and freshman Kerrie Savery (15th, 20:22). Bloomingdale's Amber Littleton was the individual winner in 18:23. Sarasota Riverview won the team title with 60 points, ahead of Bloomingdale (84) and PHU (91).
The PHU boys finished seventh and missed qualifying for the regional by one spot. No Hurricane boys qualified individually.
Bloomingdale won the boys team title with 35 points, and Sickles was second with 62. Sickles had the first- and second-place individual finishers, Daniel Doromal (15:49) and Adam Sisler (16:05).
-- Times staff