LARGO — At the sound of the gun, Katelyn Greenleaf broke like a sprinter off the starting line. In a few steps, the Northside Christian freshman was in the lead at Taylor Park.
Greenleaf cut a solitary but familiar figure as she glided past the first turn. But she was unable to leave the rest of the girls' field in the dust. Her lead quickly vanished after the first mile as Lakeland Christian's Rebecca Eaves surged ahead.
And that's the way it stayed at the finish line.
Eaves won in 18 minutes, 41 seconds. Greenleaf was right behind at 19:18.
"I wanted to go out and push the pace," Greenleaf said. "I was almost alone the whole first mile, but I expected to have some competition."
The Mustangs had two other runners in the top 10 — Victoria Goodwin (seventh) and Malina Seguin (ninth). That was enough for Northside to take second overall.
Other county girls teams to qualify for next week's regionals were Shorecrest (third) and Keswick Christian (fourth).
In the boys race, the Chargers' Stephen Spanos and Rheese Wiltshire finished 6-7, the highest placement among county individuals.
Their performance helped Shorecrest finish as overall runnerup behind Berkeley Prep.
Indian Rocks Christian was the other boys team to qualify for regionals by placing sixth.
Bob Putnam can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 445-4169.
Girls team scores: Lakeland Chr. 46, Northside Chr. 61, Shorecrest 83, Keswick Chr. 115, Tampa Prep 129, Berkeley Prep 148; Individual: Eaves (LC) 18:41, Greenleaf (Ns) 19:18, White (LC) 19:23, Fuller (LC) 19:48, Palm (Kes) 19:53, D'Angelo (BP) 20:00, Goodwin (Ns) 20:09, Knoke (TP) 20:18, Segiun (Ns) 20:18, Eaton (Can) 20:32, L. Evans (Sc) 20:32, S. Evans (Sc) 20:39, Lippincott (MA) 20:41, Broome (Sc) 20:42, Widulinski (AFA) 20:44
Boys team scores: Berkeley Prep 42, Shorecrest 74, Lakeland McKeel Academy 80, Tampa Prep 122, Lakeland Chr. 137, Indian Rocks Chr. 187; Individual: Stonesifer (BP) 16:32, Greathouse (BP) 16:38, Allsopp (LSF) 17:14, Spanos (Sc) 17:17, Wiltshire (Sc) 17:20, Meadows (LMA) 17:23, Crosser (LMA) 17:23, Mutz (LC) 17:24, Johnson (IRC) 17:35, C. Meadows (LMA) 17:43, Schandle (Sc) 17:48, Jones (Cal) 17:52, Warner (TP) 17:53