HOLIDAY — Academy of the Holy Names had the best local finish at Saturday's Class 2A, Region 3 meet at Anclote High.
The Jaguar girls placed second with 56 points to champion Lemon Bay's 51. Berkeley Prep was right behind the Jaguars (63). On the boys side, LaBelle took home top honors (53 points). Jesuit and Berkeley Prep duked it out for fourth and fifth place.
One of the key battles was for 21st between No. 3 runners John Robbins of Jesuit and Maximilian Borland of Berkeley. The pair kicked out the last 100 meters with Robbins taking the edge by four-tenths of a second. It helped seat Jesuit in fourth place (100) and Berkeley fifth (109). Bucs top runner, Leonel Ochoa, placed fifth in 17:03.2.
The girls race was dominated by Lemon Bay's Haley Blem (20:29.40), who won almost 10 seconds ahead of the field. AHN's Greta Dieck battled Lemon Bay's Maddison Welch for second most of the race.
"At the 2-mile mark, (Welch) pulled ahead of me but I was able to catch her on the edges and in the woods," Dieck said. "Then on the last stretch she passed me, I passed her back and she sprinted out and got me at the end."
Dieck, just an eighth-grader, finished in 20:43.2, less than five seconds behind Welch for third place. The Jaguars also grabbed sixth with Lucinda Lennie (21:14.5) and seventh with Colleen Doherty (21:15.6). Dieck uprooted 2A-10 district champ Catelin Lipham of Berkeley, who clipped Dieck in the last 10 meters of the district meet last week. Lipham took fourth at regionals in 21:00.2.
Jesuit's Jason Caldwell hung with Immokalee's Urias Velasquez Morales for most of the race. The pair took a while to get out in front with a fast front pack pushing them. But by the halfway mark it was Morales and Caldwell within arm's reach of each other and putting distance on the rest of the field.
"I was happy I was able to hang with (Morales) down the stretch," said Caldwell, who ran a 16:55.42 to finish second. "My confidence is pretty high and I think with the atmosphere at states I can hope to beat him — if I can beat him I'll place pretty high at states."
The only other Tampa-area male runner to qualify not on Jesuit or Berkeley was Brion Riley of Lakewood (13th, 17:38.7).
4A-2: If you thought James Zentmeyer's and Jack Guyton's 15-minute times from the Hillsborough County meet at Al Lopez Park were flukes, think again.
Sickles' Zentmeyer and Plant's Guyton incinerated the course at North Port High, finishing first and second. Zentmeyer won this one after ceding first to Guyton at districts last week. Zentmeyer's 15:26.0 cracks the top 10 times of the season, according to Flrunners.com. Guyton, who recently committed to Florida, placed second in 15:35.5.
The third-place runner came in at 16:15.10, more than 30 seconds behind the Tampa tandem.
Zentmeyer's score propelled the Gryphons to the region title with 60 points to runner-up Newsome's 97. The Plant boys finished third (108), Steinbrenner fourth (123) and the Wiregrass Ranch boys grabbed the sixth and final spot (170).
Sickles' Angel Maldonado (fifth, 16:19.9), Durant's Haftom Fliegelman (sixth, 16:21.0), Newsome's Aaron Harper (eighth, 16:26.0), Plant's Rob Leverone (ninth, 16:26.7) and Newsome's Andrew Flynn (10th, 16:26.9) rounded out the top 10 for Hillsborough County.
On the girls side, county and district champ Abigail Grant of Sickles finished third in 19:11.0. Newsome's Emily Zwijacz was just behind in fourth (19:15.3). Teammate Marcella Benner (19:30.2) grabbed seventh and Maria Somrah (19:32.3) ninth in helping the Wolves take the runnerup spot with 71 points to champion North Port's 65.
The Wharton girls were fourth with freshman Alisha Deschenes taking 13th in 19:39.8. Pinellas powerhouse East Lake was torpedoed by top runner Jennifer Lima coming down with the flu and limping into 23rd place (20:16.10). The top East Lake finisher was Wednesday Terry (11th, 19:38.1) as the girls put together 152 points to outdistance Steinbrenner and grab the final qualifying spot. Steinbrenner will still send Kamryn Anderson (10th, 19:37.8) and Morgan Sheer (12th, 19:38.2) on to state.
3A-2: At Alachua, Mitchell's Emily Kerns was the lone local to finish in the top 15. The senior placed sixth in 20:00.64. Land O'Lakes, paced by Emma Skantze' 17th-place finish (21:24.36) was fifth overall, followed by the Mustangs.
2A-2: Nature Coast freshman Trevor Foley (16:34.48) easily won the boys race in Alachua, beating the runnerup by almost 12 seconds. The Sharks also qualified for state as a team, finishing third (135 points), 101 points behind champion Trinity Prep. Wesley Chapel, paced by Dominic Moreno (12th, 17:25.85), finished sixth (165).
Also moving on to state: Pasco's Zach Weaver (fifth, 17:01.32) and Kevin Hernandez (13th, 17:27.54), and Gulf's Wesley Best (14th, 17:29.68).
For the girls, Nature Coast junior Amelia Schmit was second (20:19.10), behind champion Leigha Torino of North Marion (19:31.70). Also advancing locally: Wesley Chapel's Amber Maxwell (fourth, 20:33.00).
A-3: In Melbourne, Hannah Brookover placed second (18:36.35) to lead the Calvary Christian girls to a fourth-place finish (106 points). Host Holy Trinity won (39), and Indian Rocks Christian placed sixth (160).
Also among the top 15: Shorecrest' Olivia Rovin (fifth, 19:00.36), Calvary's Brooke Santiesteban (12th, 19:36.32) and IRC's Bobbi Labrant (14th, 19:41.16).
For the boys, seven area runners placed in the top 15 while Indian Rocks Christian (96 points) and Shorecrest (104) finished second and third, respectively, to champion Holy Trinity (32).
Seffner Christian's Noah Perkins had the highest individual finish, placing third in 15:48.02. Also of note: Admiral Farragut's Patrick McNamara (fourth, 16:00.29) and Hunter McCann (seventh, 16:22.15), Shorecrest's Luke Peterson (fifth, 16:09.90), IRC's Luke Boeche' (eighth, 16:23.73), Carrollwood Day's Jack Pironti (11th, 16:31.15) and Northside Christian's Justin Nunamaker (12th, 16:43.94).