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NEW PORT RICHEY — As it has done all season, Wiregrass Ranch proved why it is one of the state’s most talented cross country teams, sweeping the boys and girls titles at the Class 3A, Region 2 meet Saturday morning at Starkey Park.
“We knew we would have some tough racing up front for the first time in a while,” Wiregrass boys coach Chris Loth said. “We want someone standing on the podium. If we could have all seven up there that would be great, but we want to cap off this year well.”
Wiregrass Ranch pulled away from the field with 40 points, 77 in front of second-place Land O’Lakes. The Bulls had four runners finish in the top 15, including Josh Reilly (16:07.71, third). George Jenkins’ Alex Foss was first in 15:55.97 and Sunlake’s Kenneth Fessel (16:11.83) was fifth.
For the girls, Wiregrass Ranch finished with 65 points, 61 ahead of runnerup King. Only one Bulls runner placed in the top 10, with Nikita Shah (19:51.16) finishing 10th. Other Wiregrass runners in the top 15 included Ariel Gray (19:59.90) and Marissa Tomei (20:10.39).
Durant’s Grace VanDeGrift was first in 18:05.58.
Mitchell’s Kelli Williams continued her torrid pace toward state, finishing third (18:42.88).
“I felt really good going in today,” Williams said. “I knew I wasn’t going to go in and take the region title, but I wanted to do well. I was really happy to go against the competition that was out there.”
Ridgewood’s Alyssa Baladad also moves on to state, placing 14th (20:11.66).