What was supposed to be the 15-team Bear Relays was quickly diminished Friday morning to the Bear Delays and postponed until the next day.
When the sun finally rose on Central's track Saturday, that 15-team relay meet turned out to be a four-team straight-up track meet.
"With only four boys teams showing up, we just decided to scrap the relay format and go with a regular track meet," said Central boys coach Vic Cervizzi.
He said the focus also changed to just seeing what his runners could do _ those runners who showed up that is.
Last weekend was one of the few Saturdays students could take their SAT for college admittance. Consequently, Central was minus Joe O'Donnell, one of its top distance runners, and the other three teams also were running without top seniors.
"I know Joe was up in Citrus County taking his test," Cervizzi said. "And the Lake Howell coach was missing 10 of his No. 1 runners. Everybody was missing someone."
What those absences led to was a watered-down meet won by Groveland South Lake with 101 points. Lake Howell was second with 91, then Central (61) and Clearwater Central Catholic (4).
Despite its third-place showing, Central found one more bright spot in a sprint corps that had been noticeably absent the past couple of years. That surprise came in the form of junior Bruce Woods, who finished second in the long jump with a leap of 19 feet, 9 inches, second in the 100 in 11.17, and second in the 200 in 23.39.
"Bruce did a nice job in the 100 and 200," Cervizzi said. "He showed some speed that nobody knew he had."
Also helping the Bears gain most of their points was Rich Mason, who won the high jump at 6 feet, was second in the triple jump at 40-9 and in the 110 high hurdles (15.41), and fourth in the 300 hurdles.
Also, Brandon Lauria won the mile and 2-mile easily and Central was second in the 4x800.
The Bears now will concentrate on Friday's tri-meet against visiting Gulf and Citrus. Cervizzi said he expects his team to follow the same pattern it has all season: dominate the distance events and try to hold on in the rest.
"We'll probably win the distance events," Cervizzi said, "but those other schools have speed. There should be some good races; Gulf has some quick distance runners."
The Bears will be without one of their top distance runners again as Lauria takes a recruiting trip.
"I just want to look and see what our team's like and try not to peak too early," Cervizzi said. "Lecanto always runs good during the season and then peaks early and then we beat them at the line in conference and district. We'll see what happens."
PANTHER INVITATIONAL AT A GLANCE
WHERE: Lecanto High track.
WHEN: Thursday, with field events beginning at 3:30.
WHO: Girls track teams from Central, Hernando and Springstead.
COUNTY GIRLS RUNNERS TO WATCH: Central _ Brooke Bastien, Jenna Iannella, Heather Hamilton, Shamelia Whittaker, Michelle Wentworth, Trecia Swanston, Desiree Bergeron; Hernando _ Sarah DePalma, Angie Smith, Kendall Enos, Bridget Walker, Stephanie Poe, Shawn Bowers; Springstead _ Allie Seymour, Jessica Rohrbacher, Eve Swanson, Yessenia Velez.
COUNTY BOYS RUNNERS TO WATCH: Hernando _ John Capel, Joe Maner, Leon Williams, Bryant Scrivens, Casey Isaac, Brian Major, Jon Britton; Springstead _ Eugene Hicks, Corey Hill, Inte Cubillo, Joe Gallagher, Joe Altieri, Josh Blake, Phil Faulkner.