DADE CITY — Navigating the rugged hills at Little Everglades Ranch, Katelyn Greenleaf had a few runners to catch in the backstretch.
The Northside Christian freshman should have been hallucinating by then — her body and mind protesting that she was not meant to run a 5K race this hard. But she kept telling herself she needed to catch the front-runners.
For her final kick, Greenleaf called on the last ounce of everything she had.
But it wasn't enough. Greenleaf was unable to make up ground on the leaders, finishing seventh in the Class A state meet. It was one spot below her sixth-place finish from a year ago.
Still, Greenleaf was not frozen in disappointment. She did not ask herself what more she could have done.
She was content after recording a personal-best time of 18 minutes, 45 seconds.
"It was a tough race, but I was real happy with my time," Greenleaf said. "I wanted to get under 19 minutes, and I finally did."
Greenleaf and teammates Victoria Goodwin (32) and Melissa Seguin (35) finished in the top 40. That helped the Mustangs place seventh in Class A, the highest placement of any county girls team. Keswick Christian, led by Hannah Palm (30th individually) and Mary Jacubec (37th), were ninth.
In Class 3A, Osceola's Alexis Irwin continued her steady improvement in the postseason, taking 32nd overall.
Clearwater Central Catholic's Laura Nauert was the county's highest place winner in the 2A race, finishing 58th.
East Lake's Katherine McMeekin overcame shin splints to earn the county's highest finish in 4A at 44th.
Bob Putnam can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 445-4169.