LARGO — Forgive the pollsters for not ranking the Seminole boys cross country team at the beginning of the season.
At first glance, the Warhawks appeared in dire straits. They lost some of their top runners to graduation, including Christian Homme, the Times' 2007 runner of the year. That seemed to spell doom and many questioned how Seminole would perform without them.
The answer: just as well.
The Warhawks, despite returning just two runners from last year, won their fifth straight team title at the Class 3A, District 5 meet Wednesday.
"This was one of the toughest titles for us to win," Seminole coach Bruce Calhoun said. "It also was one of the most satisfying."
Kevin Siesel, the Warhawks' lone senior, finished second overall. Other Seminole runners in the top 10 were Chase Sutton (fourth) and Josh Lakotia (fifth).
"We had a really young team coming into the season, and we didn't know what to expect," Siesel said. "But we kept fighting. Our goal was to always keep the tradition of district titles going."
Northeast's John Zurek was the boys individual winner. Other county teams advancing to regionals are Northeast (third), Osceola (fifth), Dixie Hollins (seventh) and Dunedin (eighth).
Tarpon Springs' Kailand Cosgrove won the girls race. County teams advancing are Northeast (second), Boca Ciega (third), Osceola (fourth) and Seminole (sixth).
Bob Putnam can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 445-4169.