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State cross country: Northside Christian's Katelyn Greenleaf notches third consecutive top 10 in Class A

Seminole’s Kaitlin Homme digs toward a 31st-place showing in the girls Class 4A race at Little Everglades Ranch. The top finish by a Pinellas runner was Katelyn Greenleaf’s ninth in Class A.

KATHLEEN FLYNN | Times

Seminole’s Kaitlin Homme digs toward a 31st-place showing in the girls Class 4A race at Little Everglades Ranch. The top finish by a Pinellas runner was Katelyn Greenleaf’s ninth in Class A.

DADE CITY — As Katelyn Greenleaf pushed her way toward the finish at Little Everglades Ranch, she was quickly running out of energy.

"Coming up that hill (at the end) was brutal," Greenleaf said.

Never one to lose focus, the Northside Christian sophomore gutted it out to finish in 19 minutes, 14 seconds, good for ninth in Saturday's Class A state cross country meet. On a challenging course with multiple elevation changes, Greenleaf recorded the best finish among Pinellas runners.

It was her third straight top-10 at state (sixth in 2007, seventh in 2008).

Greenleaf fell a half-minute short of her personal best, but even if she had matched that it wouldn't have mattered. Kathryn Fluehr of Naples Community School blistered the course in 16:59 to win the Class A crown and post the day's lowest time by a female.

"I definitely ran my best," Greenleaf said. "I wanted a really good time, but I'm happy in the top 10."

Seminole junior Chase Sutton had Pinellas' next-best finish. He was 11th in the Class 4A boys meet, finishing in 16:05. Sutton, second to Chamberlain star Mark Parrish at the region meet, had mixed feelings about his showing.

"I'm not really pleased with my placement," Sutton said. "But I ran tough. After the first mile, I was just about dead. I'm happy I didn't just let up. I gave the effort."

Among county teams, the Shorecrest Prep boys, ninth in Class A, had the highest finish. Caelum Schandle, 31st in 17:14, was the team's top runner.

"This is my favorite course in Florida," Schandle said. "I love the uphills and downhills."

Other area highlights:

• Canterbury eighth-grader Alexandra Eaton clocked 19:45 to place a surprising 20th in the Class A girls race.

• In the Class A girls standings, Keswick Christian, led by freshman Hannah Palm, placed 11th to edge rival Northside Christian by one spot. Shorecrest Prep finished 19th. Palm was 34th in 20:15. Victoria Goodwin of Northside (47th, 20:35) wasn't far behind.

• In 4A, locals Alicia Aldridge of East Lake (27th, 19:44) and Kaitlin Homme of Seminole (31st, 19:52) each had strong showings. "I'm happy," Aldridge said. "Mentally, that course just drains you."

• In 3A, Osceola's Alexis Irwin was 37th (20:13) in the girls race, while Rick Pluta of Largo took 49th (16:52) for the boys.

• On the boys side of Class A, Admiral Farragut was 20th in the team standings. Josh Johnson of Indian Rocks Christian placed 35th (17:24).

State cross country: Northside Christian's Katelyn Greenleaf notches third consecutive top 10 in Class A 11/21/09 [Last modified: Saturday, November 21, 2009 10:46pm]

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