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Gaffney starts day with top-20 finish


© St. Petersburg Times, published November 19, 2000

TITUSVILLE -- Most of the runners in the Class 2A girls state cross country meet could comfort themselves with a good spit and a beverage Saturday at Brevard Community College.

Citrus' Lauren Gaffney, however, had other things on her mind.

After beginning in Jacksonville with a 4 a.m. wake-up, the senior rode with her mother, Karen, south to Titusville. After finishing 14th in 19 minutes, 30.63 seconds, she went right to the family vehicle for a 40-mile trip to Orlando, where she would compete in the 100-yard breaststroke and 200 freestyle at the state meet. Gaffney seemed exhausted after completing the sandy 3-mile course. She would find energy to swim, she said, because she would never need it again.

"This is the last race of the year, and I had to give it everything I had," said Gaffney, the District 4 cross country and 100 breast champ. "I have some left (for swimming). It had better be good enough."

At the state swim meet, she finished 31st in the preliminary of the 200 free and 22nd in the preliminary of the 100 breaststroke.

Gaffney shaved four seconds off of her personal best but said she was disappointed with her 14th-place finish.

"I think the false start we had upped the nerves a little bit," she said.

"But we all had the same disadvantage."

Gaffney's performance buoyed a Citrus squad that failed to place another runner in the top 85 and finished 17th out of 24 teams with 401 points.

Jacksonville Bolles won the 2A meet with 93.

"It was not our day," coach Bob Goddard said. "Amber (Presnick) is injured. She has had shin splints for a month now."

Springstead junior Lindsay Boldt was the next-best North Suncoast finisher, placing 19th in 19:48.14. Central's Erin Courtney was 37th in 20:19.68, leading a Bears team that finished best among North Suncoast schools at 11th with 313 points.

CLASS 3A: Barbara Carr's 26th-place finish in 19:30.87 was tops among Gulf. The Bucs finished 20th with 434 points, 379 points behind first-place Jacksonville Bishop Kenny.

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