When Bob Goddard saw all those front-of-the-pack runners with Citrus High jerseys coming out of the woods and onto the Central High track, he figured his Hurricanes girls were in pretty good shape.
That they were, blowing away the field of the Bear Invitational high school cross-country meet for a 67-point victory Saturday morning. Goddard was only mildly surprised.
"We had a hard week of practice," the Citrus girls coach said, "and I thought they'd be a little more tired than that."
But Citrus, ranked No.
10 among Class 3A teams by the Florida Athletic Coaches Association, clearly was the class of Saturday's field.
The Hurricanes finished with 39 points, followed by surprising River Ridge (106), Springstead (129), Hernando (131), host Central (142), Candler-Lake Weir (147), Crystal River (154) and Clermont (226). Six other schools had no team score.
South Sumter's Maja Zajvaldova cruised to victory with a 2-mile time of 12:29, followed by Lake Weir's Grace Daley (12:47).
Zajvaldova, an exchange student who is Czechoslovakia's junior-national 1500-meter champion, has won six of seven high school races since coming to the United States.
"I would like for somebody to push me for time," said Zajvaldova, who went unchallenged Saturday, "but at the same time, I'm nervous when somebody's there."
Citrus was led by third-place Christina Scharf (13:32) and fifth-place Shannon Weaver (13:58), with Springstead's Vera Blevens finishing between them (13:57).
The Hurricanes' other top finishers were eighth-place Bernilla Yiterman (14:09), 11th-place Karen Kolinski (14:25) and 12th-place Autumn Parker (14:34).
Hernando's Jody Spangler easily won the 3-mile boys race, finishing in a course-record 16 minutes, 1 second. Spangler, who said he thought the course was perhaps 30 seconds faster than it should have been, led from shortly after the start.
"I usually don't go out that quick," he said, "but we did a lot of sprints this week."
Zephyrhills, with 43 points, was the boys team winner.
Spangler led by 25 seconds at the 2-mile mark and continued to pull away from runner-up Will Staples of Zephyrhills, a freshman who finished in 16:34 after sprinting past Hernando's Eric Omdahl just shy of the finish. Jimmy East of Zephyrhills was fourth in 16:47, followed by Ian Feldt of Citrus (16:47).
Hernando's boys were second with 68, followed by Orlando Edgewater (114), Pasco (140), River Ridge (148), Springstead (168), Citrus (184), Central (201), Crystal River (252) and Clermont (272) in the top 10 of a 16-team field.