Clearwater girls, East Lake boys win at PCAC cross country meet
Clearwater’s girls cross country team continued its meteoric rise at the Pinellas County Athletic Conference meet, winning the school’s first team title in 25 years.
The Tornadoes scored 51 points, one point ahead of defending conference champion Osceola. The title came despite Clearwater not having a runner finish among the top five. Instead, the Tornadoes showed their consistency with five runners placing among the top 16.
Jordyn Avers, who won individual honors at last year’s conference meet, placed sixth, the highest finish for the Tornadoes. She was followed by teammate Brenna DeLong.
“I'd say just we have a very dedicated and consistent core,” Clearwater coach RJ Denton said. “We aren't that deep. We have some good talent that has been super committed and has sacrificed and done the little things to be great.
“We don't have all the numbers that Osceola and Palm Harbor do, but our kids show up every day and put in all the work and have an incredible bond that causes them to really fight for each other. They're so easy to coach it's really been an amazing year so far and hopefully the best is yet to come.”
The Tornadoes have through a remarkable transformation in the last four years. In 2013, Clearwater did not have enough runners to have a team score at the conference meet. Denton took over the following year and the Tornadoes were eighth, followed by a fourth place finish last year.
East Lake’s Jennifer Lima, who has been dominant throughout the season, won the girls race at the conference meet in 1 minutes, 54.30 seconds, 19 seconds ahead of Lakewood’s Hannah McAuliffe.
The Eagles defended their team title in the boys meet, outscoring St. Petersburg 50-86.
James Hasell took first in 17:27.10 to give East Lake a sweep of individual honors. The Eagles had three of the top six runners.
St. Petersburg’s Matthew Wohlwend was second in 17:27.50.