Saturday, January 20, 2018
Sports

Youth wins the day in Gasparilla Distance Classic 5K

TAMPA — When Ellie Pleune finished as the runnerup in last year's Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic 5K by 19 seconds, she wasn't satisfied with her result.

If anything, it drove her for more.

In the year after that race, the 13-year-old Pleune went to work to assure she would have her best shot to stand alone as the winner. Through an assortment of distance drills and other workouts, putting anywhere from 20 to 30 miles on her soles in a four- or five-day span each week, she prepared as hard as ever.

On Saturday, with the sun beginning to peek through morning clouds like a spotlight on her path toward the finish line, Pleune's drive paid off. She scampered down the final stretch of Bayshore Boulevard concrete to her first victory in three tries in 18 minutes, 14 seconds over 14-year-old Lydia Friedman (18:24).

"It's pretty good, considering I got second place last year," said Pleune, an eighth-grader at Benito Middle School in Tampa. "I put in a lot of training to get here."

Pleune's overall time bested her speed from last year (18:45) by 31 seconds, and her 2015 mark — a ninth-place finish — by a minute-and-a-half. Tarpon Springs' Kailand Cosgrove, who bested Pleune last year, finished sixth at 18:53.

"It means a lot to me," said Pleune, who will compete next in the 8K today. "I definitely wanted to get first."

On the men's side, Robinson High alumnus Jack Rogers — now running competitively at the University of Florida — won in 15 minutes, 33 seconds — a personal best.

Tampa's John Weaver, 21, was in a dead heat with Rogers in much of the final meters before finishing second at 15:35. Nicholas Buliga of New Port Richey was third at 15:46.

Race officials said 13,604 participated in the 5K. Rogers, who finished third last year behind two UF teammates, said he mostly came down for the workout. The win was a nice bonus.

"I'm not really a distance guy, so that's why they got a little ahead of me in the middle of the race there," he said. "But near the end, I usually have more turnover speed than other guys and I just caught him at the end. … I'm happy with it."

     
Comments
Why free agency hasn’t turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

Why free agency hasn’t turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

RHP Alex Cobb never expected to be going into late January without knowing where he was going for spring training.The longtime Ray's first foray into free agency hasn't gone as planned, much like the 150-plus others waiting for something to give in a...
Updated: 5 minutes ago
Lightning falls to Wild, its fifth loss in seven games

Lightning falls to Wild, its fifth loss in seven games

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Lightning said all the right things about needing to look in the mirror and do some soul-searching during its recent funk. Veterans said they had to lead the way. Coach Jon Cooper believed this eight-game trip would "show us wha...
Updated: 24 minutes ago
Wozniacki advances to quarterfinals

Wozniacki advances to quarterfinals

MELBOURNE, Australia — Second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki is through to the Australian Open quarterfinals and with a chance to regain the No. 1 ranking in women’s tennis. Wozniacki beat Magdalena Rybarikova 6-3, 6-0 today at Rod Laver Arena. Rybarikova...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Sports in brief

SPORTSNO AIR FORCE GAMES; NFL BROADCASTS ABROAD IN JEOPARDYThe federal government shutdown prompted the Air Force Academy on Saturday to call off sports events and upended plans for military outside the United States wanting to follow today’s NFL con...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Florida wins big SEC showdown with Kentucky

Florida wins big SEC showdown with Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Jalen Hudson came off the bench to score 17, and Chris Chiozza, Keith Stone and Kevarrius Hayes contributed clutch baskets down the stretch as Florida rallied to upset No. 18 Kentucky 66-64 Saturday night. "We were able to win it jus...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Avalanche climbs into playoff spot with ninth straight win

DENVER — The Avalanche has gone from pushover to powerhouse in less than a season, and its recent streak is evoking memories of past glory. Nathan MacKinnon, Erik Johnson and Mikko Rantanen had a goal and an assist each, Jonathan Bernier made 27 save...
Updated: 1 hour ago
After rout, LeBron scoffs at playoffs

After rout, LeBron scoffs at playoffs

CLEVELAND — LeBron James came up just short of 30,000 points. Oklahoma City nearly got there, too. Unable to stop Paul George, Russell Westbrook or Carmelo Anthony, the Cavaliers were embarrassed 148-124 Saturday by the Thunder, which not only rolled...
Updated: 1 hour ago
McIlroy shoots third-round 65, trails by 1 at Abu Dhabi

McIlroy shoots third-round 65, trails by 1 at Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Rory McIlroy fired 7-under 65 Saturday in the third round of the Abu Dhabi Championship to move one shot behind co-leaders Ross Fisher and Thomas Pieters. Fisher shot 65 and overnight leader Pieters added 67 to reach...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Sunday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballMiami at N.C. StatenoonCh. 44Rutgers at MichigannoonBig TenWomen: South Carolina at KentuckynoonESPNUWomen: Marquette at VillanovanoonFS1Women: George Washington at DaytonnoonCBSSNWomen: Virginia Tech at Virginia12:30 p.m.Fox S...
Updated: 2 hours ago

National Hoopfest: St. Petersburg’s Serrel Smith shines in loss to national power

TAMPA — Where there's a will, there's a way. And Serrel Smith had a gym-full of will on Saturday.With St. Petersburg trailing nationally-ranked Oak Hill Academy by as many as 21 points in the third quarter of the National Hoopfest contest, Smit...
Updated: 2 hours ago