CLEARWATER — Countryside's chances of winning a fourth straight boys team title at the Pinellas County Athletic Conference meet appeared remote during the field events.
The Cougars' Anthony Lombardo won the pole vault Wednesday. The problem was Countryside placed in the top three in just one other field event and fell nearly 50 points behind the leaders.
Then came the running events and the Cougars moved into contention, surging from third, second, then first after the 800.
Countryside's strong showing in the middle and distance races proved the difference as it defended its title, scoring 140.5 points to beat Lakewood (106).
"We were sweating it out in the field events," Cougars coach Eileen Givens said. "I didn't know if we could make up that much ground. But the boys wanted it and came through."
The big swing came in the 800, where Countryside took the top four spots, led by the winner, Jake Herrmann (2:01.34). Other champions for the Cougars were Zach Christenson in 1,600 (4:36.28) and the 4x400 relay team (3:25.58) and the 4x800 (8:13.03).
Northeast's Juarez Wynn, one of the state's top performers in the 100 meters, won his signature event in 10.94 seconds. But he missed out on winning the 200 when he waved his hand after the starter pistol went off and was last out of the blocks.
On the girls side, Lakewood beat Countryside 77-70. Keona Anderson was the Spartans' only champion in multiple events, winning the triple jump (35-6) and 100 hurdles (15.74). Lakewood's Kala Funderburk pulled up after the 100 meters with what appeared to be a pulled hamstring and did not compete in her other running events.
East Lake's Leah Fisher (100, long jump) and Countryside's Thea Linkfield (200, 300 hurdles) also won more than one event.
Class 2A, District 10: St. Petersburg Catholic's girls were runnersup with 113 points. The Barons' Asia Olds took first in the long jump and anchored the winning 4x100 relay team. Kelsey Dougherty-Howard also won the 100 hurdles for SPC.
Clearwater Central Catholic's Domenica Owens (800, 1,600), Lindsey Cooper (200, 400) and Tobias Probst (1,600, 800) won multiple events.
The Marauders girls' also took first in the 4x400 relay.