ST. PETERSBURG — Keswick Christian's girls are intent on proving this season that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
There is no superstar who specializes in running would-be challengers into the ground. Instead, there are five strong runners, all capable of emerging from the pack.
On Thursday, it was Mary Jacubec's turn.
With No. 1 Hannah Palm feeling sick, Jacubec stepped up and finished fourth. Not far behind were Crusaders teammates Stephanie Kistemaker (fifth), Alyssa Bouman (sixth) and Rachel Kistemaker (eighth), which gave Keswick Christian the numbers it needed to win the team title at the Viking Invitational with 37 points.
"We're so young," Crusaders coach Fred Meinke said. "But they're all exceeding expectations."
Seminole's Katie Homme won the girls race, followed by Osceola's Alexis Irwin and Northeast's Elyse Snyder.
In the boys race, Northeast's John Zurek broke away from the pack early and never relinquished his lead.
Zurek's toughest competition was supposed to come from St. Petersburg's Wes Reynolds. But he is running in the Flrunners.com Invitational this weekend and did not participate.
"I was looking for Wes but never saw him," Zurek said. "So I just went out fast and ran by myself."
Largo's Thomas McGrath, Gabe Ramos and Rick Pluta finished 2-3-4. That was enough for the Packers to win the team title with 33 points.
East Lake volleyball stages rally
Trailing by two games to Clearwater, East Lake jumped out to leads in Games 4 and 5 and came away with a 15-25, 25-19, 24-26, 25-23, 15-13 victory.
"We had to win a big match," said coach Terry Small, whose team improved to 7-3. "We had to prove to ourselves and everybody else that we are not just a young team, we're a new team that's coming together to be a good team."