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Bears' Bess briefly gives field run for money

The flrunners.com meet is a unique opportunity for Hernando County's best runners to see how they match up against the top schools from other areas.

Jacob Bess found out that he can hang _ for at least a while. The Central junior finished 13th in the large-school race Saturday in Tampa, completing 3.1 miles in 17 minutes, 56 seconds. For the first half of the event, he was up front with the leaders, though he ultimately placed well behind winner Zach DeVeau of Sarasota Riverview (17:00).

"He loves to lead; that's one of the things he wanted to do," Central coach Eric Milholland said. "It started out that way. He was right up there. They really turned it on the second mile."

As it turned out, for the first time this season, Bess was not the fastest county runner. In the small-school race, held earlier in the morning, Hernando's Ben Martucci (17:18, third overall) and Bret Chatman (17:48, 10th) recorded quicker times.

It's impossible to say whether all that would have held true if the runners indeed raced together, but it is interesting to speculate.

Look at the girls side _ Taylor Cooke finished ninth in the invitational race, but her performance of 20:27 was a couple of seconds faster than Hernando's Leela Hadsock, who won the small-school event in 20:29. The two rivals already are close, with Cooke prevailing at the season-opening Red Mule 5K and Hadsock finishing higher in the Lecanto Invitational. But the two were separated at flrunners by organizers, who moved 2003 small-school champion Lecanto up to the invitational race.

BALANCING ACT: Theresa Dorman's involvement with Central's junior ROTC program takes up several Saturdays, so flrunners was her first race of the season. All she did was finish 16th (22:27) in the large-school race. "She really surprised me," Milholland said. "I know she can do it. She really came out and wanted to medal." Unfortunately for Dorman, the top 15 won medals and she was 1.59 seconds behind 15th-place Amanda Perez of Ridgewood.

UP NEXT: Area teams will run at Hernando High on Saturday for the Zak Lukas Invitational. The girls race is at 8:30 a.m., boys at 9:10 and junior varsity to follow. Nineteen teams are confirmed to compete, including Lake Weir, Dunnellon, all Citrus County schools and all Pasco County squads except for Wesley Chapel.

_ JOHN SCHWARB, Times staff writer

CROSS COUNTRY HONOR ROLL

GIRLS/TEAM TIME RACE/DATE

Leela Hadsock, Hernando 20:04 Red Mule 5K, Aug. 28

Anna Gray, Hernando 21:14 Lecanto Inv., Sept. 18

Danielle Coopman, Hern. 21:48 Lecanto Inv., Sept. 18

Kaitlyn Sauskojus, HCA 21:50 Red Mule 5K, Aug. 28

Theresa Dorman, Cen. 22:27 Flrunners, Sept. 25

Nicole Daughtry, Hern. 22:40 Flrunners, Sept. 25

Josefine Tonn, Hernando 22:50 Lecanto Inv., Sept. 18

BOYS/TEAM TIME RACE/DATE

Jacob Bess, Central 17:11 Red Mule 5K, Aug. 28

Ben Martucci, Hernando 17:14 Red Mule 5K, Aug. 28

Bret Chatman, Hernando 17:19 Red Mule 5K, Aug. 28

Thomas Mountain, Hern. 17:50 Red Mule 5K, Aug. 28

Andrew Martucci, Hern. 17:51 Red Mule 5K, Aug. 28

Josh Dubois, Central 18:32 Red Mule 5K, Aug. 28

Stephen McManus, Spr. 18:37 Red Mule 5K, Aug. 28

_ JOHN SCHWARB, Times staff writer

Up next:BOWLING

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