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Citrus becomes regional champ in due course

The Hurricanes don't run fast but do earn their second consecutive title.

By CAREY FREEMAN

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 12, 2000


TITUSVILLE -- Slower, it seems, is better if you're coach Bruce Nelson or anyone affiliated with the Citrus boys cross country team.

Taking advantage of a slower-than-usual layout at Brevard Community College-Titusville, the Hurricanes captured their second consecutive region title Saturday after four of their five runners placed among the top 11 at the Class 2A, Region 2 meet.

"I'm always happy to win a regional title," Nelson said. "Three of the last four years we've won the regional here, and we like this place a lot. "To be honest, it's a slow course, and we train at Whispering Pines (in Inverness) all the time. So we're used to having heavy stuff under our feet. I think the slower the course, the better we normally are. We don't do real well on the fast courses."

That should bode well for Saturday's state championship, which is at the same site.

It also should mean good things for Tony Lyons, who led the Hurricanes in the regional with a second-place finish behind Sean Burris of Rockledge.

Logan Bollenback, Rick Miller and C.J. Bryant helped pace Citrus, taking fifth, ninth and 10th, respectively.

Hernando's John Emerson followed Lyons across the line in third, and Central's Trever Scales finished sixth, leading the Bears to third place. Wesley Chapel was 10th, and Lecanto, Mitchell and Zephyrhills rounded out the top 14.

Central was the top finisher among North Suncoast teams on the girls side, capturing fourth behind champion Cocoa Beach, Orlando Bishop Moore and Titusville Astronaut.

Erin Courtney led the Bears with an eighth-place performance. Elynore Kabboord of Cocoa Beach was the individual champion.

Citrus' Lauren Gaffney, who won the district championship last week then took a district title in swimming Tuesday, led all North Suncoast runners with a fifth-place finish and helped the Hurricanes secure the sixth and final spot for the state meet.

Gaffney was followed by Springstead's Lindsey Boldt in sixth.

"I wanted to go in the top five. That was my goal, and I got it," Gaffney said. "I was trying to set my (personal) record again. But it was kind of hot, so the time wasn't there.

"The effort and the running was there, but the grass and the heat didn't allow for the times."

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