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LARGO — Seminole cross country coach Bruce Calhoun is retiring at the end of this season, his 29th at the school.
In his final Pinellas County Athletic Conference meet, the Warhawks boys and girls gave him a special send-off Wednesday by sweeping the team titles.
“I’m happy whenever we’re able to win a conference title,” Calhoun said. “But I’m extra happy about these two because we’ve worked so hard to get them.”
Seminole’s boys, who dominated meets against county opponents, came in as the heavy favorite and won with 30 points, 72 ahead of Osceola.
The Warhawks overwhelmed the opposition by occupying nearly every position in the lead pack. Jacob Hudak, Seminole’s No. 1 runner, won the individual title by finishing in 16 minutes, 11 seconds. Not far behind were teammates Nick Homme, who was third in 16:46 and Keegan Flynn, who placed fifth in 17:00.
“This is probably the hardest-working boys team I’ve ever had,” Calhoun said. “Jacob is the leader and works harder than everyone.”
Breaking up the express line of Warhawks at the front were Countryside’s Paul McKenna, who was runnerup in 16:46, and Palm Harbor University’s Luke Buschman, who was fourth (16:53).
Northeast and St. Petersburg each finished the boys race with 103 points.
The girls race was expected to be close with the defending champion Green Devils battling Northeast, Osceola and Seminole for the team title.
The Warhawks prevailed, scoring 70 points to beat Osceola (74) and Northeast (80). Seminole had three runners in the top 12.
Rachael Hayduke had the best finish, placing fourth in 20:16.
Osceola’s Alexis Irwin won her third straight conference title, unleashing her kick on the last lap to hold off St. Petersburg’s Alex Eaton and finish in 19:08.
“I knew coming in I was going to have to mentally prepare for a tough race,” Irwin said. “I took the lead then Alex jumped ahead of me. I was able to overtake her at the end. It was just heart and guts at the end.”
Eaton was runnnerup in 19:27, followed by Northeast’s Amanda Spring (19:56).