LUTZ — For Chamberlain junior Mark Parrish, starting strong in Thursday's Class 3A, District 4 meet at Lake Park was the boost he needed.
"I got out ahead of everybody right away and that made for a smooth race," Parrish said.
When all was said and done, Parrish had taken first after finishing in 16 minutes, 21 seconds — five seconds ahead of his nearest competitor, Alex Foss of Lakeland George Jenkins. Behind Parrish, the Chiefs, who also got top-10 finishes from Bradley Nelson (fifth, 16:52) and Max Del Monte (eighth, 16:56), won convincingly with 42 points. Plant, led by Robert Campbell's ninth-place finish, was second (71) while Newsome (86) took third.
On the girls side, Lake Region (52) edged Newsome (55), which was paced by Rebecca Webster's sixth-place finish, for the championship. Plant (67) was third. Panthers junior Kayla Kennedy led all Hillsborough County finishers by placing second in 19:54 behind Lake Region's Sydney Devore (18:59). King's Hilary White was fourth (20:00).
"I just tried to stay with (Devore) and tried to draft," Kennedy said. "But when she got away that made it harder. I was pretty tired, but I tried to fight through it."
Parrish led a strong contingent of Hillsborough boys. Armwood's Gilberto Vazquez was third (16:29) and Newsome's Keegan Bixler was fourth (16:30). That said, the day clearly belonged to Parrish, who didn't even appear tired after the race.
"I'm comfortable with 16:21," he said. "I had no problems at all. That's definitely a confidence booster."
Boys team scores — Chamberlain 42, Plant 71, Newsome 86, Lakeland George Jenkins 93, Lakeland Kathleen 150, Hillsborough 151, Lake Region 159, Brandon 204; Individual Scores — Parrish (Chm) 16:21, Foss (GJ) 16:26, Vazquez (Arm) 16:29, Bixler (New) 16:30, B. Nelson (Chm) 16:52, Ocampo (LR) 16:53, Caldwell (LK) 16:54, Del Monte (Chm) 16:56, Campbell (Pl) 16:56, Wilkins (Pl) 16:57, C. Nelson (Ch) 16:59, Nalsen (Pl) 17:00, Olds (GJ) 17:01, Kinlock (LK) 17:03, Loudermilk (New) 17:06
Girls team scores — Lake Region 52, Newsome 55, Plant 67, King 107, Lakeland Kathleen 163, George Jenkins 185, Armwood 206, Brandon 210; Individual Scores — Devore (LR) 18:59, Kennedy (Pl) 19:54, Barajas (HC) 19:59, White (Ki) 20:00, Maxwell (LK) 20:06, Goodwin (Pl) 20:22, Webster (New) 20:22, Ortiz (LR) 20:36, Lesavage (New) 20:37, Lutton (Hil) 20:38, Williams (Br) 20:42, Alexis (LR) 20:56, Boyle (New) 21:02, Cline (Ki) 21:02, Coates (New) 21:02