BROOKSVILLE - It was a mixed bag Friday for Nature Coast head coach Eric Milholland and his boys and girls cross country teams.
His girls managed to just beat Gulf, 29-37, to win the Class 2A, District 7 title on their home track and collect their second straight district championship.
Hernando was fourth with 113 points.
Shark ace runner James Harkless was just barely beaten by Crystal River's Brandon Harris for the boys individual title.
Harris had a time of 17:01.58 while Harkless had a time of 17:02:18. Harkless had beaten Harris consistently until Friday night. It was a cool night, which wasn't necessarily an advantage for the runners.
Even Harris could hardly believe he won.
"I honestly didn't think I would beat him at the end," said Harris. "I just barely out-strided him. This cold air is hard to run in. It's hard to breathe in."
"I'm just tired," said Harkless. "He definitely pushed me. This was just his run. Nothing to be disappointed in. You have to go out and see who is the better man."
Nature Coast's boys, district champions the past two years, took second to Gulf, 51-57.
One Shark had problems with illness.
"Jacob Rockwell (20th, 18:56) has had half a lung," said Milholland. "He fought. He battled the best he could. I'm proud of him. I'm proud of the team. I'm very happy. We are going on."
Both Nature Coast teams will run on their home course against next Saturday at the 2A-Region II Meet. The qualifiers from that meet move on to the state meet Nov. 9 in Tallahassee.
In the girls race, Gulf's Kari Grippo won with a time of 19:31.
Nature Coast's Alyssa Deligio was second with a 21:21. Teammate Alexa Lacy was right behind her at 21:27.
Giving a good pack time were Brianna Horn (22:08, seventh), Kaylee Arvay (22:38, eighth) and Mary Thomson (22:50, ninth).
"I had my teammate (Lacy) right beside me and that is so much easier to pace off," said Deligio. "You practice here every day and it's just a great feeling to run on your own track."
"We were short one girl today," said Milholland. "Crystal Burchhardt didn't run because of her back. We knew it was going to be a battle. Gulf has beaten us every time this year. We knew it would be close. They came through today. They did it.
"I think the home course (is an advantage). Nice night, a little hot when the girls were running. She (Deligio) and Alexa go back and forth (as team leaders) every week."
Class 2A, District 7 Meet
at Nature Coast Technical
1. Nature Coast 29, 2. Gulf 37, 3. Ridgewood 111, 4. Hernando 113, 5. Pasco 120, 6. Crystal River 133, 7. Wesley Chapel 148.
Top 15 Individuals
1. Kari Grippo, Gulf, 19:31; 2. Alyssa Deligio, Nature Coast, 21:21; 3. Alexa Lacy, Nature Coast, 21:27; 4. Eliza Gazda, Gulf, 21:44; 5. Katherine Buckman, Gulf, 22:00; 6. Amber Maxwell, Wesley Chapel, 22:01; 7. Brianna Horn, Nature Coast, 22:08; 8. Kaylee Arvay, Nature Coast, 22:38; 9. Mary Thomson, Nature Coast, 22:50; 10. Ashley Morris, Hernando, 22:56; 11. Anna Menees, Ridgewood, 22:59; 12. Martha Hernandez, Gulf, 23:01; 13. Clare Hernandez, Pasco, 23:03; 14. Summer March, Nature Coast, 23:11; 15. Abigail Raymond, Gulf, 23:15.
Boys Team Scores
1. Gulf 51, 2. Nature Coast 57, 3. Crystal River 98, 4. Pasco 117, 5. Ridgewood 119, 6. Hernando 124, 7. Wesley Chapel 144, 8. Central 201, 10. Hudson 276.
Top 15 Individuals
1. Brandon Harris, Crystal River, 17:01; 2. James Harkless, Nature Coast, 17:02; 3. Wesley Best, Gulf, 17:21; 4. James Raymond, Gulf, 17:25; 5. Kevin Hernandez, Pasco, 17:39; 6. Austin Mulyck, Nature Coast, 17:46; 7. Austin Gray, Central, 17:57; 8. Jordan Bourque, Wesley Chapel, 18:12; 9. Tyler Pantley, Hernando, 18:17; 10. Matthew Page, Pasco, 18:20; 11. Charles Steinkamp, Hernando, 18:21; 12. Robert Jessup, Gulf, 18:22; 13. Sebastian Gazda, Gulf, 18:25; 14. Nicholas Conway, Nature Coast, 18:27; 15. Conner Schwefringhaus, Nature Coast, 18:49.