ST. PETERSBURG — Hunter McCann already has mastered navigating urban clutter, from cars and crowds to stoplights and sirens. So he wanted to try something different.
Seeking variety and a break from the roads, McCann, a freshman, joined Osceola's cross country team. The transition in terrain has not been that difficult.
In his second race, McCann surged to the lead and never relinquished it, winning the boys title Wednesday at the Pirate Invitational at Walter Fuller Park in 17 minutes, 6 seconds. He improved his time by 50 seconds from his cross country debut last week.
"There are a few things that are different," McCann said. "I have to get used to running with a team as opposed to running on my own. And now I'm running on courses with grass and trails and trees. But I've had some good competition."
Through the first lap, McCann stayed with the lead pack before separating himself. "I was using the first lap more to get familiar with the course," he said. "After that, I was able to take it out a little harder."
Teammates Tom Grzesiakowski (third) and AJ Jimenez (eighth) finished in the top 10 as the Warriors won the team title, outscoring Clearwater 36-77.
Clearwater's Stephen Sawayda took second, and Admiral Farragut's Nima Behesti and Patrick McNamara finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
In the girls race, Northeast's Amanda Spring followed up a strong performance at last week's Green Devil Invitational by winning in 19:30. Summer Kaustoroon (fourth), Caroline Condon (sixth) and Courtney Condon (10th) also were in the top 10 for the Vikings, who won the team title with 41-67 over Largo.
"I felt pretty confident based on how I did last week," Spring said. "My time still needs improvement, but it's not bad for the second meet of the season."
Countryside meet: The host Cougars won the four-team meet on the boys side, beating run-nerup Palm Harbor University, 28-38. Countryside's Paul McKenna won the boys race in 17:12. The Hurricanes won the girls team title, 20-43 over East Lake. PHU's Sarah Raymond won in 18:41.