ST. PETERSBURG — There hasn’t been much doubt about Countryside’s boys track and field squad since coach Eileen Givens left Lakewood to take over the Cougars boys squad five seasons ago.
With 18 seniors graduated from last year, it left some questions about who would step up in the early-season meets. The Cougars also needed to see if they could live up to the billing as the best boys team in the Pinellas County.
Countryside didn’t disappoint, putting together an all-around solid meet and distancing itself from St. Petersburg 163.3-105 Wednesday night in the West Coast Invitational.
“I’m really speechless right now,” Givens said. “These guys did a phenomenal job. You just heard one of my guys say they had a hard workout Monday, and they did. I wanted to see what these kids could do in those circumstances and they rose to the occasion.
“They really stepped it up and I’m proud of them.”
Countryside’s Ricy Brown put together arguably the best performance of the night, winning the 800 meters (2:01), 1600 (4:44), long jump (22-05.00) and finishing second in the triple jump (43 feet, 9 inches).
Osceola earned the team title on the girls side, with 161.5 points over second-place Lakewood, which finished with 115.5. Warriors distance runner Alexis Irwin took home the Runner of the Meet award and rightfully so, earning wins in the 800 (2:21) and 1600 (5:24).
Other notables were St. Petersburg’s Ta’nia McCullum, who claimed victories in the 100 (13.39), 200 (26.92), and Lakewood’s Kala Funderburk who finished first in the 400 (59.44) and third in the 800 (2:30).