NEW PORT RICHEY — East Lake senior Katherine McMeekin let her experience dictate her cross country race on Saturday.
And when she noticed Mitchell sophomore Kelli Williams hit the right spots on her home course in the Class 4A, District 4 meet at Starkey Wilderness Park, McMeekin was content to wait for the newcomer to fall down the stretch, only that never happened.
Williams surprised everyone when she won her first district meet with a time of 20 minutes, 34 seconds. McMeekin finished second in 20:38.
"The race felt good," McMeekin said. "My plan was to get into the top 15 because my shins have just been bothering me all season. I was happy to come in second."
Palm Harbor University finished second as a team (109 point) behind Sarasota Riverview (73). PHU's top finisher was Brittany Lisman (fifth, 20:58), and coach Darryl Southard made a decision to sit his No. 2 runner, freshman Beatrice LaFleche, who was battling a slight hip injury.
"She was here warming up when I decided to pull her," Southard said. "… It was important to make sure she's healthy next week because we have a chance to go to state."
St. Petersburg finished seventh with Penny Markuske taking 10th in 21:17.
In the boys competition, Countryside finished second overall with 69 points behind Sarasota (45). The Cougars were led by junior Zach Christenson in sixth (17:08), senior Nick Ribble in ninth (17:29) and junior Kosta Fotopoulos in 11th (17:33).
"We knew Sarasota had some great guys, and we were hoping our guys could stay close with them," Countryside coach Eileen Givens said.
Largo was fourth thanks to Thomas McGrath's 10th-place showing (17:31) and Rick Pluta taking 17th (17:42).
St. Petersburg's Wes Reynolds took third (16:32) to help his team to seventh (186). Sickles senior Derek Wehunt won in 16:08.