CLEARWATER — The rest of the boys field at the Ed Wells/Kiwanis Invitational looked at Countryside and engaged in some wishful thinking.
Maybe the Cougars would be vulnerable after finishing second at the USF Invitational this past weekend. Maybe Countryside's legs would be wary after just three days rest from its last big meet. Maybe it all would be too much for the Cougars to handle.
Maybe the rest of the boys should have known better.
Winning county meets is what Countryside has done best in its emerging dynasty. Since coach Eileen Givens took over five seasons ago, the Cougars have won the Ed Wells Invitational. That didn't change Tuesday night.
Once again, Countryside overwhelmed the competition, using its depth to break away from the pack and claim another team title.
"The guys on this team are workaholics," Givens said. "We were really well-rounded coming into this meet."
The Cougars dominated the distance events with two place winners in the top four in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meters. Zach Christenson, the boys running MVP, won the 1,600 (4 minutes, 31 seconds) for the third straight year. He also took first in the 3,200 (9:13) and ran a leg on the winning 800 relay.
"I was definitely surprised with the results," Christenson said. "I was expecting it to be tougher after running on Saturday. But I pushed myself really hard."
Other Countryside boys who won individual titles were Ricy Brown (triple jump, 800), Wylan Bernitt (300 hurdles) and Derek Messmore (400). The Cougars also won the 400 relay.
Lakewood's Theodore West won the 100, 200 and was on the winning 100 relay team.
The Spartans won the girls title, edging Northside Christian.
Kala Funderburk led Lakewood by winning the 200, finishing second in the 400 and running anchor leg on the winning 400 relay.
The Mustangs' Katelyn Greenleaf was the girls MVP after setting a meet record in the 1,600 (5:14). She also won the 3,200 and was on the winning 800 relay.
Countryside's Thea Linkfield was the only other girl to win multiple events, taking first in the 100 and 300 hurdles.
Bob Putnam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8129.