BROOKSVILLE — The race has been run 32 times under two names. But this sixth running of the Zak Lukas Invitational (once known as the Red Mule) on Saturday featured something that the past 31 events had not — the closest team finish in the history of the boys' event.
Wharton (92 points) edged both Land O'Lakes and Wiregrass Ranch by one point for the title. John Grellner (16 minutes, 41 seconds) and Nick Swain (17:10) led the way for the Wildcats with second- and eighth-place finishes, respectively. Grellner, who is just getting over a chest cold, was happy with the results.
"Eventually, I'd like to get into the 15's more consistently, but I feel like I did well today," Grellner said. "I was chasing down (Felix) Soto the whole time."
Grellner was referring to individual champion Soto from Land O'Lakes, who won in 16:01.
Wharton (41 points) also won the girls' crown for a team sweep. The Wildcats were again paced by senior Alyssa Franks (19:49), who finished second to Ocala Vanguard's Tori Lawson (19:43).
"(Tori Lawson) and I broke away right in the middle of the last mile," Franks said. "She was actually a lot of help for me out there, pushing me the whole way."