Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

North Suncoast cross country preview

No new district contains more North Suncoast runners than Class 3A, District 3. Despite the predictions and appearances, runners' times change on a dime and a flu bug. On paper, Wiregrass Ranch appears the team to beat. But several teams will have something to say about the district crown.

Girls teams to watch

Wiregrass Ranch: The Bulls enter as the favorites to win the district, and some internal competition has helped improve times. For the first time freshman Nikita Shah surpassed junior Ariel Grey, edging her in the Sunshine Athletic Conference meet. Shah's 20:12 finish, good for second place, edged Gray by 12 seconds.

Land O'Lakes: The Gators are running on their home course. With a slew of runners expected to graduate, this could be their best postseason opportunity for a season or two. Renea Porsch has led the way and is coming off a fourth-place finish at conference ( 20:47). The Gators had three in the top nine at conference, including fellow seniors Morgan Keppel and senior Lailoni Kailimai.

Mitchell: Kelli Williams leads a solid group of juniors. But her coach made it clear after Saturday's SAC victory that Williams needed an edge if she hoped to shine among the state's best. Whether the message got through will be known at district. Williams will be challenged by many familiar faces.

Outside threat: Lecanto freshman Chloe Benoist should provide a fresh challenge. She just won the Crystal River Invitational and finished second at the Gator Invitational ahead of Williams and Shah.

Boys teams to watch

Wiregrass Ranch: The Bulls claimed their first SAC title last week at Starkey Park, and it wasn't even close. Five Bulls finished in the top 13, including junior Ryan Pulsifer, who was second in 17:08. The Bulls are favorites to win their first district title.

Land O'Lakes: The Gators had three runners in the top six at SAC, but managed just a third-place finish while missing strong fourth and fifth runners. Senior Matt Schwartz continued the Gators' streak of individual titles dating to 2005 with his time of 16:49.

Nature Coast: A coaching change just before the season disrupted what many thought could be a huge year for the Sharks. The team and coach seem to have adjusted, and the result has been strong running in October. Nature Coast senior Bruce Federico has slashed his times significantly, running a 16:58.85 for fifth place in the Crystal River Invitational. The Sharks won the meet.

Outside threat: Citrus sophomore Timothy Wenger won the Crystal River Invitational and finished 10th at the Little Everglades Pre-State Invitational.

District breakdown

Class 3A, District 3

Host: Land O'Lakes

Site: Crew Lake Park

When: Nov. 5, girls 4:30; boys 5

Teams: Belleview, Central, Citrus, Dunnellon, Gulf, Hudson, Ocala Lake Weir, Land O'Lakes, Lecanto, Leesburg, Mitchell, Nature Coast, Ridgewood, River Ridge, Springstead, Sunlake, Wiregrass Ranch, Zephyrhills

Class 2A, District 3

Host: Crystal River

Site: Crystal River

When: Wednesday, girls 4:30; boys 5

Teams: Anclote, Crystal River, Eustis, Hernando, Interlachen, Keystone Heights, Mount Dora, Pasco, Santa Fe, Tavares, Ocala Trinity Catholic, Umatilla, Wesley Chapel, Williston

Class A, District 5

Host: Keswick Christian

Site: Taylor Park

When: Nov. 5, girls 10:15; boys 11

Teams: Academy at the Lakes, Admiral Farragut, All Saints', Bayshore Christian, Calvary Christian, Cambridge Christian, Canterbury, Carrollwood, Clearwater Central Catholic, Indian Rocks Christian, Keswick Christian, Lakeland Christian, Northside Christian, Lakeland Santa Fe Catholic, Seffner Christian, Shorecrest Prep, Tampa Bay Christian, Tampa Prep, Lake Wales Vanguard, Avon Park Walker Memorial Junior

Izzy Gould can be reached at or (813) 421-3886.

North Suncoast cross country preview 10/28/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 28, 2009 11:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs suspended RB Doug Martin breaks his silence and says his drug problem is 'definitely behind me.'


    He would not talk about the drug he abused. He didn’t identify the rehab facility he entered last January or how long he was there.

  2. Kickoff times announced for Florida-Michigan, FSU-Alabama


    College football's blockbuster Sept. 2 season openers finally have kickoff times.

  3. Why not Kaepernick?: Ryan Fitzpatrick could be ‘Earl Morrall to Jameis Winston’s Bob Griese’


    As the football world continues to question the Bucs’ motives for signing Ryan Fitzpatrick over Colin Kaepernick as Jameis Winston’s backup, veteran NFL writer Rick Gosselin weighs in with this post titled “The Bucs are playing a mind …

    The Bucs want Ryan Fitzpatrick to mentor Jameis Winston.
  4. This tweet from the Bucs, mocking the Falcons' 28-3 lead they lost in the Super Bowl against the Falcons, prompted a public apology from head coach Dirk Koetter, who called it "unprofessional and not smart."
  5. For starters: Rays looking to get even with Angels, with no TV


    The Rays are looking for a split in the four-game series with the Angels in today's 1:10 matinee, a game that is not on TV in the Tampa Bay market.

    RHP Matt Andriese will start for the Rays, seeking to go deeper than his last start, when he was ejected after hitting New York's Aaron Judge with his first pitch …

    Matt Andriese will start for the Rays.