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DADE CITY — Pasco’s Anthony Plourde was so far in front of the field Thursday at the Class 2A, District 3 meet at Withlacoochee River Park that the race became rather boring by the end.
So, the Pirates senior did what he always does when he runs alone. He pretended somebody was chasing him. And that made him run even faster.
With ghost pursuers pushing him toward the finish, Plourde won his second straight district title in a time of 17:24. Plourde pulled away from the pack around halfway through and was 17 seconds faster than Crystal River’s Geremy Dewitt by the time he reached the finish line.
“I just felt motivated,” said Plourde, who ran a bit slower than he would have liked after battling a cold all week. “I wanted to win another district title.”
Behind Plourde’s victory along with a seventh-place finish from junior Carson Brock (18:25), Pasco took second in the team competition with 102 points. Meet champion Mount Dora totaled 81 points.
Hernando senior Jesse Balogh completed the race in less than 18 minutes to claim third. Balogh, who ran 17:48, advances to the regional meet.
Three Anclote runners placed in the top 15 to move on. Argishti Gazari (18:09) was fifth overall, Spencer Guerette (18:39) came in ninth and Christopher Sorrick (18:42) was right behind in 10th. Overall, Anclote placed seventh, one spot from qualifying for regionals.
Fivay junior Tyler Lisnock was the final area regional qualifier after he finished 14th in 18:54.
In the girls race, Pasco sophomore Victoria Baker, racing in her first Florida district meet after moving from Georgia, stayed with the pack of lead runners for much of the race and ended up fourth.
Baker had the fastest time (21:51) among local girls.
“My target goal was the top 10, so I’m happy with where I came in,” she said.
Baker’s teammate Katlyn Eble crossed the line in 22:23 to take eighth. Combined with Allison Richey’s 13th-place finish in 22:55, the Pirates claimed second.
Pasco, with 67 points, was 31 points behind first-place Crystal River. Wesley Chapel took fifth overall and will advance to regionals. The Wildcats were led by Alyssa Turner, who came in 10th (22:48).
Anclote was sixth in the girls race and just made the regional girl. The Sharks top runner was Rachel Lewis, who ran 24:10 to come in 26th place.
Individually, Fivay’s Sierra Illes had just enough left in the tank to earn a spot in the top 15 and qualify for regionals. Illes was 14th in 23:03.