After finishing second at districts last week, Wesley Chapel junior David Forry was confident he would put on a better show at the regional meet.
He was right.
In a steady downpour Saturday morning, Forry tamed a difficult course and an elite foe, winning the Region 2 individual title in 16 minutes, 3 seconds. Citrus senior Tony Lyons (16:08), who beat Forry at the district meet on the same course, was second.
"It helped me out a lot knowing this course," Forry said. "I knew where to put my feet."
Dunnellon (100 points) won the team title. Rockledge (105), Titusville Astronaut (107), Citrus (116), Orlando Bishop Moore (127) and Hernando (128) also qualified for state.
Cocoa Beach (52), with three runners in the top four, easily won the girls division. Orlando Bishop Moore (77), Rockledge (109), Gulf (114), Lecanto (124) and Crystal River (132) also reached state. Cocoa Beach senior Elynore Kabboord, last year's state champion, won by 86 seconds.
Forry and Lyons went back and forth most of the race.
"You couldn't fit a sheet of paper between us," Lyons said. "He knew the course better _ a lot better. I could tell he was ready for it. He ran great."
Forry took the lead for good with about 500 meters left.
"Every time he threw something in, I threw something in," said Forry, who set a personal best and broke his own school record. "We were pushing each other the whole race. I knew I could do it, but I knew it would be hard to take Tony. Any time you beat somebody great like Tony, it's a good thing. I'm getting some momentum."
Behind Lyons, Citrus, a disappointing third last week, advanced to its eighth consecutive state meet. The Hurricanes' next-best effort came from senior Justin Macdonald, who was 17th.
Hernando was led by Mike Laird (11th) and Logan Emerson (13th). The Leopards won the District 3 title last week but were not as sharp Saturday.
The girls race was not much of a contest.
Cocoa Beach had every runner in the top 30. Gulf, behind Melissa Dattoli (10th), Amber Shuhart (11th) and Danielle Florey (19th), was the top area team.
"They ran awesome," Gulf coach Dean Lofton said. "They performed better overall than last week and overcame some adverse conditions."
Stephanie Amerman of Wesley Chapel (fifth) and Deirdra Witherspoon of Lecanto (seventh) were the top area finishers. Holly Van Sicklen of Crystal River was 14th and Nicole Mailloux of Lecanto 15th. Wesley Chapel's Kurt Able was fourth in the boys division.