By PETE YOUNG
© St. Petersburg Times, published November 12, 2000
LARGO -- The next time Seminole coach Bruce Calhoun says something that isn't unrelentingly positive about his cross country teams, it will be the first time.
Then again, when you've got runners consistently this good, the plaudits just roll off the tongue.
Saturday in the Class 3A, Region 3 meet at Taylor Park, the Warhawks turned in another stellar performance.
The Seminole boys challenged favored Fort Myers Cypress Lake before settling for second place in a close three-way finish with Naples Lely, 62-69-72. The Seminole girls, sparked by a career-best result from junior Nicole Ferraro, captured third.
Both advanced to Saturday's state meet at Brevard Community College in Titusville.
"I'm real pleased, real pleased," said Calhoun, whose boys raced without Andrew Kennedy, sidelined for the season with a hip injury. "The girls really rose to the occasion, and so did the boys." For the boys, freshman Kenneth Magee had a breakthrough performance, finishing 14th in 16 minutes, 13 seconds. Junior Gordon Redshaw was the top Warhawk, placing seventh in 16:04.
For the girls, Ferraro surpassed her personal best by 25 seconds, taking fifth in 19:02 as Seminole finished with 86 points, behind Naples (51) and Estero (68).
"We were just trying to do our best and make it to state, and we accomplished that," Ferraro said. "It was a good race. It was a lot of fun."
Largo senior Dan Bauer (fourth, 15:32) and sophomore Matt Timm (13th, 16:12) qualified for state individually.
The better news is, the rest of the Largo boys are coming with them as the Packers snatched the fifth of six state berths with 141 points.
"I'm pleasantly surprised. It's a nice group of boys that have improved a lot," said coach Dave Koehler, whose Packers received personal bests from Timm, sophomore Jeremy Berry (40th, 17:01) and sophomore Brian McClymont (54th, 17:28).
"I was projecting seventh or eighth. I thought we were on the bubble, and on the bad side of the bubble."
The proverbial bubble was fickle, as the Largo girls just missed state behind Naples Barron Collier 161-164. No. 1 runner Deanna Drugash, hindered by a nasty cold she had last week, almost was a minute off of her usual time.
Cypress Lake junior Jill Gerber easily defended her title in 17:44, and Lely senior Nico Devries won the boys race in 14:57.
Two Pinellas girls qualified as individuals. Countryside's Erin Wilson was eighth in 19:19, and East Lake's Nicole Fry was 13th in 19:26.
In the girls team standings, East Lake was ninth (223), St. Petersburg 10th (234), Boca Ciega 11th (313) and Clearwater 12th (328). For the boys, St. Petersburg was ninth (224), Clearwater 10th (251), Countryside 11th (307) and East Lake 12th (357).