CLEARWATER — The Indian Rocks Christian Invitational, held at Calvary Christian, had some of the best track teams in the area in smaller classifications.
Only problem was many of those teams did not bring their elite individuals.
Some schools are on spring break this week. Other athletes had either performed in big meets last week or were gearing up for one this weekend.
There was no leaping or hurdling from Admiral Farragut’s Brittany McGee, who would have been the favorite in her four individual events.
Calvary Christian’s girls, a favorite to make a deep postseason run, are running in the Disney Invitational on Saturday and entered most of their athletes in just one event.
So the spotlight was firmly on St. Petersburg Catholic’s Ryan Green, who was making his return to track after taking off the first month following basketball season.
Green, a two-sport star who has signed to play football at FSU, is a sprint specialist. He was favored to win the 100 meters but pulled up at the end and finished third. He dropped out of the 200 and 4x100 relay.
“Ryan wasn’t hurt or anything,” Barons coach Sam Secord said. “It’s just a product of working his way back into track. It was tough because I had banked on him winning the 100 and placing high in his other events.”
Without those points, St. Petersburg Catholic had to make up some ground. The Barons did, thanks to their middle-distance runners, and won the team title.
“It shows we have some depth, which is something I’ve been trying to work on the past few years,” Secord said.
Secord, a former 800 runner at SPC, has developed some strong runners whom he relied on Thursday. Connor Curetin won the 800, reaching a personal goal by running the event under two minutes for the first time. Teammate Michael Rusnak, a state-place winner in the 400 last year, won his signature event.
The Barons also got strong performances in the 4x800, as well as the 1600 and 3200.
“We’re really strong in those distance areas,” Secord said. “I have some guys who could do really well at states, which is what we’re aiming for. They certainly helped in this one after not a lot of points from Ryan.”
On the girls side, Clearwater Central Catholic also showed off its depth, gobbling up points in the sprints and hurdles, to win the team title.