Gulf High senior Aimee Lund won the 31st race of her career and set a new girls' record Saturday in the fifth annual Citrus Invitational cross-country meet at Whispering Pines Park. Lund covered the two-mile course in 11 minutes, 29 seconds, surpassing the 11:59 time she posted in winning the race last year. It also was just two seconds off her best time of last year (11:27), which was set in district competition.
"Gail (Pennachio of Ridgewood) and the Venice girl (Alaina Ruh) were right behind me for the first part of the race," Lund said. "I push myself a lot, but this is a fun course. It's all woods with downhills and uphills and different from any other course I run."
Lund's victory by 20 seconds over Pennachio helped Gulf retain its girls' crown in the race. The Buccaneers outpointed Ridgewood 41-47.
Lecanto's Marlene Gardner took third place in the girls race.
Senior Willie Hill and junior Eric Cummings took first and third places, respectively, to pace Springstead to victory in boys' competition.
Hill completed his three-mile run in 15:23, two seconds ahead of Ridgewood's Alex Martinez. Cummings crossed the line at 15:30.
"We considered this a pre-conference race and this was what we needed to do," Hill said of the Eagles' win. "It's also a kind of revenge against Ridgewood."
Ridgewood won the Ram Invitational earlier this season by one point over Springstead. The Rams are the only team that has defeated the Eagles this year, Cummings said.
The top three boys finishers stayed closely packed for the first two miles. Hill then pulled away, but Martinez made a late move to challenge as the two finished.