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Seminole, Largo carry the day

Coming just a week after the Pinellas County Athletic Conference meet, one can usually ascertain how Class 5A, District 5 will unfold since the bulk of the county public schools are in it.

And for team races, the boys and girls were indeed nearly identical at Taylor Park Thursday as the Largo girls and Seminole boys cruised.

Individually, however, 5A-5 did not hold true to form. Since Seminole and Countryside dropped from Class 6A, Tampa's Plant and Jefferson moved out of the district. That meant last year's girls winner, Caroline Annis _ Plant's state champion _ was gone.

Also, the top 15 advanced to the Nov. 15 South I Regional at Venice instead of the usual top seven. The top six teams also move on.

The changes benefited the Warhawks as their boys team remained undefeated in the county with seven runners in the top 15, starting with a surprise win from Jason Nymark.

The senior took the lead for the first time in the final mile and won in 16 minutes, 3 seconds. He outsprinted Largo's Dan Deschamplain, who also ran his best race of the year, by 2 seconds. "I wanted to win at least one race this year," Nymark said. "And I figured this was a good opportunity."

Dunedin's Ray Blanchard led more than half the race but faded to sixth. Seminole's Mike Kyne and St. Petersburg's Nate Hansen jockeyed for the lead before Nymark came from behind. Defending champ Dane Hair of Dunedin was fifth.

The girls race was so predictable, even Seminole's Misty Harper, who led majority of it, knew how it would turn out. Lakewood's Nicole Scott stayed a few steps behind Harper and kicked in a sprint in the final 100 yards to win in 18:51.

"I hate to say it, but I knew she was going to beat me," said Harper, who was 4 seconds back.

Scott's victory ensured the Spartans would advance, but it was the senior's last high-school race. Scott's religious convictions prevent her from racing on Saturdays.

For Scott, the race was a personal state meet and she is glad she went out on top.

"It was a great experience," Scott said.

Class 6A, District 4

TAMPA _ Leto's streak of 17 straight district boys titles came to an end at the hands of Sarasota Riverview.

Riverview won thanks to its sixth man, Chet Zabik. The Rams and Falcons were tied at 59 points after scoring the usual top five runners. Zabik finished 23rd, four spots ahead of Leto's Mike Knutson.

Leto's Sean Gilman won in a personal-best 15:06 followed by Riverview's David Topping (15:10) and Leto's Jeff Hill (15:16). East Lake's Sean McCabe (15:48) was sixth.

Bloomingdale won the girls race, finishing ahead of Riverview 59-76. Gaither's Alli Tatangelo won in 18:20, her personal best.

Neither East Lake team qualified for regionals; the girls missed by one spot while the boys were ninth.

Bay Conference

SEMINOLE _ Northside Christian took both individual titles at Lake Seminole Park, but it wasn't enough to win the team titles.

Berkeley Prep won the boys team title while George Roth of Northside was the individual winner. Erin Giesa was the girls individual winner and Bradenton Christian, led by twin sisters Kristina and Kamille Bratton, edged Indian Rocks Christian 36-44.

Roth (16:20) and Matt Elkins (16:35) were 1-2 for Northside. Mike Spurlock (16:40) lead Berkeley with a third-place finish.

"The boys ran real good." Northside Christian coach Dean Soles said. "And it looks like we might qualify for the state meet."

Giesa, recovering from a car accident after last week's Keswick Invitational win, ran 18:25.

_ JACK HOUGHTELING

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