LARGO — Trevor Owen stands in wonderment at his St. Petersburg Catholic boys runners.
When Owen took over the program two years ago, the Barons had just three runners. Now that number is up to 27. And it was depth that helped St. Petersburg Catholic edge Keswick Christian 50-54 Tuesday to win the team title at the Indian Rocks Christian Invitational.
“This is big for our boys program,” Owen said. “We haven’t won anything in a long time.”
The Barons had three runners — Michael Robison, Grant Shelton and Roberto Ycaza — in the top 10. But Owen said his team was able to separate from the pack because his fourth and fifth runners, Craven Askew and Conner Cueton, each finished in the top 20.
“I think having our No. 4 and No. 5 guys finish where they did allowed us to stay ahead of Keswick,” Owen said.
Shorecrest’s Calum Schandle won the boys race in 18 minutes, followed Clearwater Central Catholic’s Saul Ramirez (18:15) and Keswick Christian’s Jacob Endrulat (18:19).
In the girls race, Indian Rocks Christian, which had finished as runnerup in two other meets this season, won the team title with 31 points, 19 ahead of Keswick Christian.
“This year we have five runners who can all do well, which helps,” Golden Eagles coach Bobby LaBrant said. “Our district is so close with Keswick, Shorecrest and Northside that any team could come out on top.”
Rachel Kistemaker, who transferred from Keswick to Indian Rocks Christian, won the girls race in 20:57. Her teammate, Bobbi LaBrant, was second (20:51), followed by Clearwater Central Catholic’s Olivia Kellin (21:08).
Northside Christian’s Katelyn Greenleaf, who broke the school record with an 18:36 time at the Flrunners.com Invitational last week, did not finish in the top 10 on Tuesday. But that was by design. She stayed behind with her teammates in what is called pack running to help others improve upon their personal best.