ST. PETERSBURG — In one of the most anticipated girls races of the season, Shorecrest’s Alex Eaton and Northeast’s Amanda Spring sprinted out to the lead Thursday and stayed within one another at the St. Petersburg City Meet.
Eaton stayed slightly ahead, only to have Spring on her heels — literally.
“We were so close for a while our feet touched a few times,” Eaton said.
By the second mile Eaton unleashed her kick, creating enough separation to win in 18 minutes, 44 seconds. The time was 12 seconds off the meet record, a goal Eaton had coming in. She paid the price trying to attain the record as she wobbled through the chute after crossing the finish line.
“My first mile is usually my hardest,” Eaton said. “I felt I was getting better as the race went on and I was really trying to go for it in the last mile.”
The meet was the only time Spring and Eaton, the county’s top girls runners, would run against one another. Spring, who had won four straight meets before Thursday, finished in 19:02.
Eaton was among four Chargers in the top 10. The others were Olivia Rovin (third, 19:21), Savannah Broome (seventh, 20:43) and Kai Greenlees (10th, 20:49). That helped Shorecrest win the girls title, outscoring the Vikings 35-74.
Canterbury’s Rachel Valentine was fourth (19:40) and St. Petersburg’s Erin Waterman was fifth (19:48).
In the boys race, the Green Devils’ Sam Chandler pushed the pace from the start, leaving his competition behind by the first mile to win in a personal-best 16:14.
Chandler was supposed to have competition from Shorecrest’s Ross Porter and Keswick Christian’s Jacob Endrulat. By the final mile, though, Chandler had a big enough lead to win with ease.
“I pulled away pretty quickly,” Chandler said. “I was feeling really good and got off to a great start. But I didn’t expect it to be that easy. My time was right around where I wanted to be.”
Porter was second in 16:35, followed by Endrulat (16:47), Admiral Farragut’s Patrick McNamara (16:57) and Shorecrest’s Luke Peterson.
The Green Devils won the boys team title, beating the Chargers 57-72.
St. Petersburg City Meet
Boys scores: St. Petersburg 57, Shorecrest 72, Northeast 74, Admiral Farragut 131, Keswick Christian 137, Boca Ciega 161, St. Petersburg Catholic 164, Lakewood 177, Dixie Hollins 187, Northside Christian 271
Girls scores: Shorecrest 35, Northeast 74, St. Petersburg 90, Boca Ciega 112, Keswick Christian 122, St. Petersburg Catholic 127, Northside Christian 191, Admiral Farragut 217