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Cross country: Wiregrass Ranch sweeps SAC titles again

SHADY HILLS — Wiregrass Ranch has dominated since bursting onto the cross country scene six years ago and, cold weather notwithstanding, Saturday at Crews Lake Park was no different.

The sixth-year school swept the Sunshine Athletic Conference races with the girls claiming their fourth straight crown and the boys their third consecutive. In all, 10 Bulls (six girls, four boys) cracked the top 10 as All-SAC first-teamers.

"Our goal was to put six in the top 10 and we did it," girls coach Don Howard said.

Added Chris Loth, the Bulls' boys coach, "This is the second most important meet for us, so we put a big emphasis on it."

Gulf was runnerup and Mitchell placed third in the girls race while the Land O'Lakes boys took second and Mitchell third.

Gulf's Kari Grippo won the girls race in 18 minutes, 31 seconds, but felt adversely affected by temperatures in the low 50s.

"It was bad, very bad," said Grippo. "I couldn't feel my legs when I was running."

Added Wiregrass Ranch's Nikita Shah, the girls runnerup in 19:05, "I do so bad in the cold. I have no body fat."

Shah did not run a personal best but her five teammates that cracked the top 10 did. That group included Elise Cedre, third, 19:58; Chelsea Davis, fifth, 20:00; Berlin Waters, seventh, 20:29; Emily Payne, eighth, 21:13; and Savannah Goode, ninth, 21:17.

Mitchell's Cancello sisters, Claudia and Elaina, and Gulf's Mia Savino also finished in the top 10.

Wiregrass Ranch's Sam Hippely won his first SAC boys title in 16:19, a school record. Teammates Ermias Bireda, Tyler Mattera and David Hill joined him in the top 10.

Travis Nichols of Land O'Lakes was runnerup in 16:31.

"Sam had a really good race," Nichols said. "He finished strong that last mile."

Rounding out the top 10 boys were Land O'Lakes' Tyler Stahl, Mitchell's Nicholas Kostakis, Sunlake's Kenneth Fessel, Anclote's Christopher Sorrick and Nick Buliga of Gulf.

Cross country: Wiregrass Ranch sweeps SAC titles again 10/22/11 [Last modified: Saturday, October 22, 2011 9:44pm]

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