Going the distance

LAKE PLACID - After heavy rain and lightning delayed the first cross country meet of the season, runners from Sebring, Lake Placid, Hardee, LaBelle, and Bartow braved slick grass and a handful of puddles as they made their way around Lake Placid High School on Thursday. "As long as the weather stayed away, I knew we were going to get some pretty good times," Lake Placid coach Scott Morgan said. "It might have been a little slippery on the grass, but our kids weren't hot, since it got so cool." Sebring's Eric Foster was the meet's overall winner, finishing with a time of 17 minutes and 10 seconds. His performance helped pace the Blue Streak boys to victory, as the team ended the afternoon with 32 points. LaBelle was next with 33, followed by Bartow in third with 91, then Hardee with 92, and Lake Placid brought up the rear with 119. Other solid performances on the boys side included Sebring's Malcolm Holdman and Wesley Koning, who finished third and fourth, respectively, with times of 17:43 and 18:04.
Lake Placid's Julian Obregon placed 18th, giving the Green Dragons their highest finish afternoon on either side with a time of 20:58. Scott Sigrist and Nicholas Gregor also placed for the Dragons, coming in at 21 and 23, respectively, at 21:18 and 21:42. Lake Placid's Dalton Shelton, last year's All-Highlands Boys Cross Country winner, did not run due to an illness. "Dalton is definitely expecting to dominate at the state level this year," Morgan said. "Last year he got so close." To qualify at state, runners must finish in the top 15. Shelton barely missed the cut last year, coming in at 16th. Meanwhile, on the girls side, LaBelle took home first place with 21 points. Sebring placed second with 46, followed by Bartow in third with 81, and Hardee in fourth with 104, while Lake Placid finished fifth with 120. Ashley Castelli finished third for Sebring in the girls run with a time of 22:34 to give the Blue Streak girls their highest place of the day. Sebring's next best finish came courtesy of Kaytlyn Cooper, who placed seventh at 23:37. Dianna Salinas was right behind her in ninth place with a time of 23:53. Three more Blue Streaks finished in the top 15, all of which were consecutive, as Ashley White finished 13th with a time of 25:28. She was followed by Erin Lamb in 14th at 25:48, while Christen Pyles was 15th in 26:34. Yadira Cortes placed 19th for Lake Placid, giving the Dragons their highest spot on the girls side, with a time of 27:30. Nicole Moore finished 22nd at 28:27 while Courtney Delaney and Maria Gonzalez finished back-to-back at 24th and 25th with times of 28:30 and 28:57, respectively. "We've got a good fresh pack this year," Morgan said. "I'll have to gauge who we have from this meet. We lost a couple of days due to the rain. So we held a few indoor workouts, and it was a little different." "But we have guys like Nick and Dalton coming back, so we'll be fresh." bhoward@highlandstoday.com 863-386-5841