LITHIA — Newsome High dominated both the girls and boys races at Thursday’s Class 4A-District 7 cross country meet.
The Wolves girls won with 24 points, sealing the victory by finishing second, third, fourth and fifth overall: Emily Zwijacz was second in 20 minutes, 37.30 seconds, followed by freshman Marcella Benner (third, 21:20.38), Amanda Miller (fourth, 21:26.30) and Delsey Borgen (fifth, 21:34:34).
Bloomingdale’s Kali Clemmer won the girls individual race in 20:26.25 and helped her team to a second-place finish with 51 points. Plant City was third with 64 and Riverview placed fourth with 106.
The boys race featured a similar finish with Newsome taking the majority of its points in the top 10, placing second, seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th: Aaron Harper was second (17:25.31), followed by Andrew Flynn (seventh, 17:39.28), Garrett Watson (eighth, 17:46.93), Aaron Berrara (ninth, 17:46.93) and Nickolas Gum (10th, 17:49).
Bloomingdale’s John Bryant won the individual title in 17:19.47 and Bull Andrew LeBlanc was third in 17:25.62 to help the Bulls to a second-place finish with 46 points. Durant was third with 78 and Riverview was fourth with 101.
“It was a very encouraging performance for Newsome tonight,” Newsome coach Orlando Greene said. “We feel good heading into regionals.”
3A-7: Nichols, LOL boys, Mitchell girls claim crowns
SPRING HILL — Travis Nichols won the boys title, leading his Land O’ Lakes team to a Class 3A-District 7 title.
Mitchell won the girls team title with Emily Kerns taking second place (19:16).
The top four teams and top 15 individuals advance to the Class 3A regional Nov. 2 at Lake Nona in Orlando.
Land O’ Lakes won its first district title since 2004. Nichols won with a 15:38, just beating teammates Tyler Stahl (15:46) and Jake Poore (15:49). Nichols, a senior, won the district title as a sophomore and was third last year.
“It felt great,’’ said Nichols. “I think (being cool) definitely helped us. This course is so fast. We had a little easier district this season.”
His coach was impressed with his top three times.
“We had three guys under 16 (minutes) and we never had that before,” said Land O’ Lakes coach Kris Keppel.
“It hurt today,’’ said Kerns, a junior. “The first two miles were good, even though she pulled away after the first mile. It’s a good, fast course.”
The district title for Mitchell was a meaningful one for coach Jeff Leavey, whose team held off Land O’ Lakes 54-58.
“This is the first banner (cross country district title) that the girls program has ever had,’’ Leavey said. “I’m elated. I’m excited. Emily ran a good time.”
2A-10: Holy Names, Jesuit cruise to victories
LARGO — Academy of the Holy Names and Jesuit weren’t too worried about the Class 2A-District 10 cross country meet at Taylor Park. The Jaguars and Tigers figured if they just ran solid races they would cruise into next week’s regionals and probably win team titles.
They were right.
Led by a 1-2 finish from Colleen Doherty (19 minutes, 59.8 seconds) and Claire Snyder (20:08.1), Academy finished with just 20 points, 31 ahead of Berkeley Prep.
“Our plan was to run together through two miles today to try something a little different,” said Doherty, who usually runs a more steady pace while Snyder likes to push it early. “It worked out pretty well today, even though we were a little slow on our 2-mile split (around 12:50, or about 30 seconds slower than they had planned).”
On the boys side, Jesuit dominated with 28 points, 25 ahead of Berkeley Prep.
Bradenton Bayshore’s Canaan Meesler-Kitterman won in 16:01.4, and Jesuit’s Tim O’Loughlin was second in 16:22.2. Berkeley Prep’s Vasilis Vasiloudes and Leonel Ochoa were third and fourth in 16:23 and 16:40, respectively.
Perhaps the most impressive stat of the day was that Jesuit placed all seven of its runners in the top 10.
“I think everybody felt good today and we look like we’re in good shape heading into regionals (next week),” Jesuit coach Greg Maurin said.
1A-9: Seffner Christian’s boys and girls advance
LARGO — Seffner Christian has been nursing injuries — particularly the foot of No. 1 boys runner Noah Perkins — but Thursday morning at Taylor Park the Crusaders ran strong enough to qualify for next week’s regional meet.
Running at full strength, Indian Rocks won the boys team title with 29 points, 43 ahead of Seffner Christian. IRC dominated by pushing its top three runners across the line in the first through third positions with Trevor Quandt winning the individual title in 16 minutes, 7.5 seconds.
Seffner Christian’s Cory Chambers was the highest finisher among Hillsborough County competitors, placing fourth in 17:18.7. Perkins was 10th in 17:44.8, or more than a minute slower than his best time.
“(The strained foot tendon) has really slowed me up,” Perkins said. “Hopefully I can come back a little stronger next week.”
In the girls race, Calvary Christian won with 32 points, followed by Indian Rocks (48) and Seffner Christian (57).
Calvary Christian’s Hannah Brookover won the individual title in 19:27.8. IRC’s Bobbi LaBrant was second (19:49.7) and Seffner Christian eighth-grader Celi Guzman was third (20:19.4).
Seffner Christian coach Andy Holmes believes his boys can make a return trip to state.
“But we will need (Perkins) to be there for us,” Holmes said. “We’ll have him riding the bike and doing some cross training this week. But he may not run (until the regional meet).”