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Masterson, Shimer in Pasco County sweep

Pasco County has got it going on.

The county captured individual regional titles at Friday morning's Class 3A, Region 3 meet, as Mitchell's Jeff Masterson and Land O'Lakes' Dani Shimer both won championships.

Masterson defended his region crown with a time of 16 minutes, 7 seconds, while Shimer won her first region championship with a time of 19:39, the best finish in school history.

County boys placed in the top three and county girls in the top two, while the Wesley Chapel boys and River Ridge girls both clinched surprise berths in the Class 3A state meet Nov. 8.

The Mitchell boys also will advance to state, but only after a disappointing fourth-place finish for a team ranked seventh in the Florida Athletic Coaches Association 3A poll.

After Masterson, Wesley Chapel's Kurt Able earned second with a time of 16:27. Land O'Lakes' Steven Bell was third at 16:34 at the Lee County Sports Complex.

"That was great, I could see that coming," Masterson said. "It doesn't matter what order it was. We were the top guys coming into that meet. It just proves that Pasco County is coming up in the world."

In the girls' race, Wesley Chapel's Stephanie Amerman took second in 19:46.

"I kind of expected the Pasco County girls to dominate this region anyway," Shimer said. "It was just me and Stephanie in the last 400 meters."

Danielle Coyle placed sixth and Danielle Coyle 13th to get the River Ridge girls to state, placing sixth and edging Estero 175-193. "We did cut it close but we're going," coach Erik Hermansen said. "The team goal all season was to qualify for states and they've done really well."

2A-3: Gulf girls second

TAMPA _ For the better part of three miles, Gulf's Danielle Florey was stuck staring at the back of Academy of the Holy Names' Sara Petrick.

Around and around Ed Radice Park they ran as they competed in the Class 2A, Region 3 meet when Pertick started getting closer. It was only a matter of time before Florey passed and ran away with the individual title with a time of 20:34, her best of the season.

Thanks to Florey and teammate Melissa Dattoli, the Bucs clinched second (29 points behind Academy) and will be back at Ed Radice for the Class 2A state championships. They will be joined by Hernando, St. Petersburg Catholic, LaBelle and Bishop Verot, the top six teams.

On the boys side, Jesuit posted a perfect score by placing all its runners in the top five, led by Andy Biladeau (15:54). Hernando was second, followed by Immokalee, St. Petersburg Catholic, Lemon Bay and Bishop Verot. Zephyrhills missed a state berth by 14 points in seventh place.

But the race of the day was between the Academy and Gulf girls, who were trying for the upset.

Petrick and teammate Aileen Fletcher dominated the first part of the race but Fletcher came back to the pack, leaving Petrick by herself. The junior held her own through the 2-mile mark but gave way to Florey with about a half mile to go.

"After the first mile she wasn't that far ahead," Florey said. "I just wanted to get there. I don't know if she slowed down or if I sped up, but I was able to pass her and become region champion. That's pretty awesome."

The boys race was all Jesuit as Biladeau won by 44 seconds. Immokalee's Jesus Trejo was the first non-Tiger to place, followed by Gulf's Thomas Accaria, who will run at state as an individual, and Michael Laird and Logan Emerson from Hernando in ninth and tenth.

_ MIKE READLING

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