LARGO — As Seminole’s Chase Sutton peered over his shoulder during the first 2 miles of the Pinellas County Athletic Conference boys cross country race, he kept seeing Countryside’s Ricy Brown running behind him.
They snaked through Taylor Park, with Brown never fading from the picture.
Then Sutton found another gear.
He hammered the pace, shedding Brown and the rest of the field in the final mile of the 3.1-mile course Wednesday to win in 16 minutes, three seconds. Brown finished second in 16:20.
“(Brown) would catch up and fall back,” Sutton said. “He was definitely putting forth an effort. But I was feeling good, and I was able to drop him at the end.”
At last month’s Cougar Invitational, Brown was Sutton’s closest competitor. And Sutton expected him to be his toughest opponent Wednesday.
“I’m glad he was there to push me,” Sutton said.
The rest of Sutton’s teammates were not far behind as Jacob Hudak placed third in 16:43, and Park Suski (17:29) and Keegan Flynn (17:33), were ninth and 10th. That helped the Warhawks win the team title with 36 points, 42 ahead of Dunedin.
The Falcons, who have enjoyed a meteoric rise this year, were led by Shane Deeley (fourth, 17:03) and Zach Maciolek (fifth, 17:04).
In the girls race, Osceola’s Alexis Irwin won her second straight individual title in 19:51. Through the first 2 miles, Irwin stayed with the lead before surging past Northeast’s Amanda Spring (second, 20:04) and Aleksandra Corokalo (third, 20:19).
“Everyone had spread out after the first 2 miles, and I was able to gradually increase my lead,” Irwin said. “I thought I definitely had a chance to win again. I was happy to see some new people in the lead pack.”
St. Petersburg, which had three runners in the top 10, won the team title, beating the Vikings 49-77. Alex Eaton, who took fourth in 20:20, was the Green Devils’ top place winner.