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By SCOTT PURKS
© St. Petersburg Times, published November 12, 2000
WINTER HAVEN -- Lindsey Moffenbier's timing couldn't be better.
For Saturday at Polk Community College, she ran her best race in the cross country season's most important run to date, winning the Class 3A, Region 2 meet.
"I have been frustrated a lot this season, feeling tired and not having much energy left at the end of races," said Moffenbier, an East Bay junior who finished second at state as a freshman and fourth last year.
"I kind of gave up on myself a little at some points this year," she said. "I was wondering what was going on."
The difference, Moffenbier surmised, was that she trained harder this season and wore herself down. But after tapering the intensity of workouts the past few weeks, she's reaping the benefits of that hard work -- just at the right time.
Saturday, she not only won the 3-mile race in 18 minutes, 15 seconds, she did it by sprinting away in the final 400 yards from Riverview's Dee Dee Haefling and Lakeland Jenkins' Liz Bragg, who ran 18:20 and 18:24, respectively.
"That was easily the best kick I've had all year," Moffenbier said. "I just really, really wanted it."
Despite her No. 1 finish, which qualified her for this week's state meet along with Saturday's top 15 individuals, Moffenbier's teammates will make the trip to Titusville. Only the top six teams in the 14-school field qualified. The Indians finished 11th with 209 points.
Hillsborough County will have two girls squads at state as Plant won Saturday with 83 points and Riverview placed second with 134. Wharton just missed, taking seventh with 160, five behind sixth-place Jenkins.
On the boys side, Wharton accomplished its goal of making its first trip to state, placing third with 99 points. The Wildcats missed a berth last year by seven points.
Chamberlain's Nathan Adams was the highest boys finisher from Hillsborough County, taking seventh.
As for Plant's girls, coach Roy Harrison said he was pleased with the overall effort.
The Panthers had two in the top 10, sophomore Mallory Giordano (fourth) and Tabitha Cooney (seventh), and three others finishing 36th or better. "I really thought Mallory could have won the race, but she lost concentration," Harrison said. "She was really there with Moffenbier coming into the second mile, but she let her get away.
"I think if she could have stayed with her just a little longer at that point, she could have given her a run at the end."