The races of the Gasparilla Distance Classic drew some of the best runners in the country last weekend, but locals also had a chance to shine.
St. Petersburg's Christa Benton, 24, won the women's 15K on Saturday, finishing in 54:42. Other top local women included: Christy Phillips, 46 of St. Petersburg, in 16th with a 1:03:08; Leslief Beauchamp, 30 of St. Petersburg, in 22nd with a 1:04:44; Denise Skinner, 53 of St. Petersburg, in 23rd with a 1:04:55.
In the men's ranks, Marc Dannis, 32 of St. Petersburg, finished ninth overall with a 52:27. Other top local finishers included James Lantz, 21 of St. Petersburg in 18th place with a time of 54:05 and Brian Scott, 40 of Largo, in 22nd with a 54:23.
In the 5K on Saturday, Carol Glassok, 42 of St. Pete Beach finished in the top 25 among the women, coming in 12th with a time of 20:20. Donna Nesslar, 46 of Largo, placed 19th with a 20:56.
In Sunday's half-marathon, Traveller Hill, 31 of St. Petersburg, came in 12th with a 1:22:35. Nat Glackin, 26, also of St. Petersburg, finished in 19th in 1:23:59.
In the women's race, Christina Noordstar, 32 of St. Petersburg, finished in 11th place with a 1:31:16. Erin O'Connor, 24 of St. Petersburg, came in 25th with a time of 1:40:04.
In the marathon, St. Petersburg's Melanie Peters took second among the women and 22nd overall. The 25-year-old finished in 3:00:19. Treasure Island's Madeleine Zolfo, 44, finished fifth among the women with a time of 3:14:02. St. Petersburg's Andrew Canning, 21, finished 15th overall with a 2:57:45.
Flatwoods Four: St. Petersburg's Wes Reynolds ran one of the fastest times on record at this cross country race on Feb. 22. The 18-year-old covered the 4-mile course in 22:15. Other top local male finishers included Adriano Alcoz, 41 of Clearwater, in fifth with a 24:23. Among the women, Mandy Slomkowski, 45 of Oldsmar, came in fourth with a 29:48 followed by Penny Markuske, 18 of Largo, in fifth with a 30:01.
Swimming: Clearwater Aquatic Team swimmers took home numerous medals at the 2009 Florida Swimming Short Course Junior Olympics on Feb. 19-22 at the University of Florida.
In the girls 11-12 age group, Morgan Perrotti brought home gold in the 100-yard butterfly and the 100 IM and silver in the 50 and 100 backstroke. The girls 11-12 relay team of Perrotti, Tatianna Anabtawi, Mickey Hubbard and Sidney Pickrem captured gold in the 200 free relay and silver in the 400 free relay, as well as gold in the 200 medley and bronze in the 400 medley relays.
In 13-14 girls, Taylor Katz won a medal in six events, with gold in the 200 free, 200 back, 400 IM and silver in 100, 500 free and 200 fly.
The boys 10 and under division was dominated by Matthew Hirschberger, who won six golds, in the 50, 100, 200 and 500 free and 50 and 100 back. The boys 10 and under relay team of Hirschberger, Mitch Irwin, Antonio Pinero-Crespo and Fahed Hmeidan took silver in the 200 free relay and the 200 medley relay.
In the boys 11-12, Taylor Uselis won gold for the 500 and 1,000 free while Alex Katz won gold in the 200 free and 200 IM; silver in the 50, 100 back and 50, 100 free.
St. Petersburg Aquatics swimmers also did well at the meet. In 11-12 girls, Summer Finke, won the 200 free, 500 free, 1,000 free, 100 back, 200 IM, and won the 200 IM in the 13-14 girls. Finkes' 1,000 free performance set a Junior Olympics record.
Marathon Maniac: Jim Patton, 69 of Seminole, completed marathons on five consecutive weekends: Feb. 1, Tallahassee Marathon, 5:24:20; Feb. 8, Melbourne Marathon, 5:55:20; Feb. 15, Pensacola Marathon, 5:47:28; Feb. 22, Fort Lauderdale Marathon, 6:02:28; March 1, Gasparilla Marathon, 5:12:25.
Terry Tomalin can be reached at email@example.com.