If it sounds strange that Lecanto High cross-country standout Marlene Gardner would finish 19th in a four-team meet, consider this: she ran against the boys. Gardner, a senior, returned late Tuesday from a Spanish-class field trip to Ybor City and missed the start of the girls race in Crystal River's Pirate Invitational. But Gardner, who placed fourth in the Class 2A state meet last year, hated to miss a workout, so she joined the field for the boys race.
Her time of 20 minutes even was for good for 19th place in a field of 35, and a little battle-of-the-sexes satisfaction.
"Don't run," she was told by several of her male counterparts when they learned she would compete against them. But Gardner tried to tell them their worries were ill-founded.
"I said, "C'mon. I'm not that good.' They were talking about a 16 (minute time)," Gardner said. "It was more like an ego thing. "God, I've got to hurry up. I can't let a girl beat me.'
"I think it's funny," she said. "You're running by them and they're grunting. But at least I got to run. I thought I'd get back and everybody would be gone."
Citrus' Roger Toedtemeier won the boys event in 16 minutes, 16 seconds. Citrus had a perfect score and beat second-place Crystal River 15-55. Lecanto finished third with 73 points. South Sumter had 106.
In the girls race, Heather Purdin won in 13:21 and Citrus claimed the team title with 21 points. Crystal River had 48. Lecanto did not have enough runners for a team score and South Sumter did not compete.
Baker lifts PHCC-north
in basketball season-opener
BROOKSVILLE _ Pasco-Hernando Community College's north campus (Brooksville) women's basketball team beat PHCC's west campus (New Port Richey) team 31-30 in a preseason tournament game Saturday.
Shellie Baker, a 1990 Hernando High graduate, hit both ends of a one-and-one with :06 left to secure the win. North campus led 18-10 at halftime but lost its advantage with five minutes remaining before Baker's winning free throws.
Baker scored a team-high 11 points. Former Hernando High teammate Jeanette Coleman scored eight points and Citrus High product Abi Brown added six for north campus.
PHCC-north coach Joe Solomon said the women played only a single game Saturday because illnesses prevented the school's east campus (Dade City) club from competing.
Here are the top high school performances from the past week, as selected by Times reporters.
Aimee Lund, Gulf cross country
The senior won her 31st career race, setting a girls record of 11 minutes, 29 seconds, Saturday at the Citrus Invitational at Whispering Pines Park in Inverness. It was two seconds off her personal best of 11:27, set last year.
Mike Penix, Pasco football
The junior rushed 21 times for 78 yards and a touchdown Thursday night to help the Pirates remain on top of the Class 3A, District 4 standings, 17-14 over Crystal River.
Willy Rueck, Gulf football
The senior completed 8-of-10 passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed 14 times for 91 yards in the Buccaneers' 20-18 triumph over Boca Ciega on Thursday night.
Willie Hill, Springstead cross country
Hill, a senior, ran the three-mile Whispering Pines Park course in 15 minutes, 23 seconds for a two-second victory over Alex Martinez of Ridgewood in the Citrus Invitational boys meet.
Dawayne Roberts, Springstead football
Roberts rushed 23 times for 174 yards _ including touchdowns of 3, 38 and 50 yards _ in Springstead's 37-18 victory over Land O'Lakes on Friday night.
Eric Sanders, Springstead football
Sanders rushed 11 times for 104 yards _ with touchdowns of 4 and 20 yards _ in a 37-18 victory over Land O'Lakes on Friday. Sanders also caught a two-point conversion pass and blocked a punt to set up another scoring drive.
Desmond Sanders, Hernando football
Sanders caught four passes from quarterback Chad Moore for 65 yards and a 14-yard touchdown in Hernando's 14-6 loss to Tampa Jesuit on Friday night.
Brian Bova, Lecanto football
Bova had three field goals and an extra point in a 16-8 upset of South Sumter Friday. He also punted 30 yards under pressure in the closing minutes with the regular punter, Willis O'Steen, sidelined by an ankle injury.
C.J. Natteal, Lecanto football
Natteal, a junior, caught two passes for 77 yards _ one falling backward down the sideline and another after a deflection _ in a 16-8 win over South Sumter. Natteal also caused a fumble that led to a field goal.
Rob Malpica, Citrus football
Malpica, a sophomore running back, rushed for 138 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries in the Hurricanes' 19-6 win over Dunnellon Friday afternoon.
_ Staff writers Joanne Korth, Tim Buckley and Cammy Clark contributed to this report.