Kerry Allen is back. Well, almost.
Eight months after being sidelined by a stress fracture in her lower back, Allen dominated the girls large school 5K race Saturday morning at the flrunners.com Invitational at Ed Radice Sports Complex.
Allen, a St. Petersburg junior, was the only Pinellas County runner to win. It was special for Allen, whose time of 19 minutes, 37.17 seconds was 1:10 ahead of Pensacola's Lindsay White.
"I'm still not 100 percent yet," Allen said. "I'm about a minute and a half off my times from last year, but I hope to be ready by state."
Allen raced in the large school event instead of the Race of Champions after meeting with coach Robb Townsend. "We discussed it and felt it was better if I ran with my team," she said.
The girls winner in the Race of Champions was Oviedo's Jenny Barringer, whose only career loss in a race of at least 800 meters was to Allen in 2003. Allen beat Barringer in the 3,200 at the Class 4A state track meet.
Saturday, Barringer (17:54.81) defeated Nicole Schappert of Boca Raton Pope John Paul II by less than a second. In the boys Race of Champions, Justin Harbor of Flagler Palm Coast (15:36.74) won with Jeremy Criscione of Interlachen second.
The Race of Champions team winners were the Winter Park boys and Miami Our Lady of Lourdes girls. Led by Tony Nicolosi (35th) and Josh Comer (44th), Seminole's boys were 15th.
Pinellas County runners dominated the girls large school race as Seminole won the team championship. Mary Magee (ninth) and Heather Nicolosi (14th) were the top Warhawk finishers.
St. Petersburg also performed well in the boys large school race. Thomas Nagy finished second, 10 seconds behind Sarasota Riverview's Zach DeVeau (17:00.28).