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3A-9 cross country: Brandon peaks at right time, makes it a sweep

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Wed. November 2, 2011 | Eduardo A. Encina

DOVER — The Brandon boys and girls teams swept the district cross country meet for the first time in school history Wednesday afternoon in the Class 3A-9 district meet at Sydney Dover Trails.

The Brandon boys, seeking their first region title since 2005, had five runners with times under 20 minutes, anchored by Alejandro Garcia’s third-place finish (17:48.80).

And the Eagles girls, who edged Strawberry Crest by two points (37-39), placed four in the top 13 finishers. Brandon freshman Victoria Prenatto (23:05.28) and junior Lupe Espinoza (23:06.95) finished third and fourth, respectively.

Following a middle-of-the-pack finish in last week’s Hills­borough County Championships, Brandon coach Bob Maestas was pleased with his teams' wins.

“They’ve gotten stronger and stronger over the week,” Maestas said. “I’m really glad with the timing of district because our legs were getting a little bit wobbly. It’s been a long, long session. The kids are worn down now, but we’re holding on.

“We knew we were going to challenge but we weren’t sure. We knew about Strawberry Crest. They’re a really good team. We’ve been trailing them all year.”

Strawberry Crest senior Trixi Menge was the girls individual winner in 20:52.41, edging Armwood’s Amber Duncan by five seconds.

Bradenton Bayshore sophomore Canaan Meester-Kitterman had the best individual boys time with 16:53.90. Armwood senior Brandon Duncan was second with 17:00.42.

The Brandon, Strawberry Crest and East Bay girls teams advanced to the Region 3 meet Nov. 11 at Charlotte Sports Park.

Fourth-place Lennard was just two points short of East Bay for the final team region qualifier spot.

On the boys side, Brandon, Strawberry Crest and Bayshore advance to the region meet next week.

“It’s going to be a trip we haven’t made in a while so we’re excited,” Maestas said. “We’re finally going home with some hardware that means something.”

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