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Region recap: A collective Cougars effort

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Fri. April 30, 2010 | Joey Knight | Email

To commemorate the Countryside boys track team's overwhelming win at Thursday's Class 4A, Region 2 meet, we figured a group photo was in order.

How better, after all, to recognize a group effort?

From the outset of the meet, which started with a narrow triumph by the Cougars' 4x800-meter relay team, Countryside brandished its depth, winning six events and collecting significant points in others.

"It was an overall performance we had to do in order to win the title," Coach Eileen Givens said.

Expending just enough energy to prevail without peaking, the 4x800 team -- Matthew Worner, Conner Benhakuma, Jake Herrmann and Kosta Fotopoulos -- finished in 8:10.33, a little more than a second better than runner-up Newsome.

The other prominent point-getters: junior Ricky Brown, who won the long jump and 800; junior Derek Messmore, who prevailed in the 400; and junior Wylan Bernitt, winner of the 300 hurdles. All three also joined Herrmann on the winning 4x400 relay team.

But Givens was quick to note the less-heralded stars. Pole vaulter Parker Polgar notched a personal-best effort (13 feet, 6 inches) to place second; and senior Andrew Davis managed an eighth-place finish in the 110 hurdles after injuring his ankle during the triple jump.

"That was definitely a surprise," Givens said. "It took a lot of heart to do that. He wanted to contribute to the team."

The Cougars, winners of two region titles in the last three years, now brace for the Class 4A state meet a week from Saturday in Winter Park.

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