Wiregrass Ranch girls also tops at tournament
By Kyle LoJacono
Wiregrass Ranch and Land O’ Lakes high schools boys cross country teams were at the top of Class 3A, District 3 all season and nothing changed in the league tournament Nov. 4.
The Bulls came in first with 33 points, while the Gators finished with 87. Sunlake High came in fifth with 153 points.
“I was happy to finish better than Nature Coast,” said 17-year Land O’ Lakes coach Kris Keppel. “We lost our No. 5 runner a couple of weeks ago and Chris Dotson, one of our seniors, stepped up and did what he needed to help us finish second.”
Freshman Tyler Stahl tore a muscle in his thigh Oct. 15 and is out for the rest of the season. Dotson, a senior, has filled in at that slot for the Gators. He finished in 38th place with a time of 18 minutes, 26 seconds, a new personal best.
Wiregrass Ranch senior Josh Reilly took the individual title with a time of 16:16. Fellow Bulls runner Ryan Pulsifer took second with 16:23.
Gators senior runner Hendrix Lafontant came in third with a 16:29, besting his personal best time by 23 seconds. His teammate Jake Morken also cracked the 17 minute mark with a time of 16:59, his fastest of the season.
The top eight teams in the tournament advance to the 3A-2 regional tournament at Starkey Park Nov. 13.
“I expect us and Wiregrass to finish in the top two again,” Keppel said. “It’s a course we know and if we run up to our potential we should be right there again.”
The Wiregrass Ranch girls also took the district title with 37 points, besting Gulf High’s 104. It is the third straight district crown for the Bulls.
Wiregrass Ranch runner Nikita Shah was the fastest on the squad with a time of 18:56, good enough for third place individually.
The lady Gators finished in 10th place with 203 points. They were led by Alea Basulto, who finished in 24th place with a time of 21:50.
Keppel also coaches the girls team and said he thought they had a chance to finish in the top 8 and advance, but knew they would need some of them to finish with season-best times.
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