BROOKSVILLE - Lecanto's thinclads are no longer the Hernando/Citrus Distance Classic champions.
After Nature Coast Technical fell last fall to the Lady Panthers at McKethan Lake, 37-51, on Thursday the Lady Sharks turned the tables.
In a stunning performance of a squad rounding into shape, the Lady Sharks bunched six runners among the first 10 to the 3.1-mile finish line to pound the Lady Panthers, 31-66.
The remainder of the field featured: Springstead (76), Citrus (113), Crystal River (113) and Hernando (129). Neither Central nor Weeki Wachee had five runners to qualify for a team score.
NCT was paced by sophomore Alexa Lacy. Last season, Lacy placed fifth in 20:33.06. This time she covered the 5-kilometer race in 20:46.98 - shattering her previous personal record of 21:24.34.
Lacy was followed to the finish line by Alyssa Deligio in fifth (21:14.79), Crystal Burchhardt sixth (21:37.09), Brianna Horn seventh (21:59.35), Summer March ninth (22:03.96), Mary Thomson 10th (22:13.13), Kaylee Arvay 12th (22:31.91), Jacey Vidaud 20th (23:54.56) and Theresa Piccinini 22nd (24:08.65).
"I thought the race went great," pointed out the 15-year-old Lacy as the Lady Sharks repeated as Hernando County champions. "We ran so well individually and as a team. I know I'm looking forward to districts next week."
On whether the Lady Sharks have peaked out, "There's still gas in the tank," said Lacy. "Winning the county is a small part of our overall goals."
"It's funny, the girls took a lot crud from the guys when they won the county, but lost to Lecanto last year," explained second-year Lady Sharks mentor Eric Milholland. "Now the shoe is on the other foot. I'm just happy for the girls.
"Going in Lacy and Deligio have swapped places back and forth on who would lead the team from week to week," added Milholland. "It was really nice to see Lacy post her best personal time but even Summer, Crystal Burchhardt and Brianna all ran real well, too."
Though the Lady Sharks grabbed the main headlines, first-year Springstead thinclad, sophomore Amber Philpott, continued her torrid pace.
The Lady Eagles, minus two-time Hernando Today Runner of the Year Tiana Newton (ill), managed a respectable third-place finish.
Philpott, who also captured the NCT Invitational and Citrus Invitational at Whispering Pines, led the 58-runner field to the finish line in an outstanding 19:01.68.
Philpott's previous personal best was 19:16.05.
"It was kind of hot today," described the 15-year-old Philpott. "After the first mile, there was no one around me - it was weird. I just wish I could have shaved two more seconds. I really wanted to reach the 18s."
10th Hernando/Citrus Distance Classic at Brooksville's McKethan Lake
Final Girls Cross Country 5K Team Scores:
PL TEAM PTS.
1. Brooksville-Nature Coast Technical (NCT) 31
2. Lecanto (LEC) 66
3. Spring Hill-Springstead (SPG) 76
4. Inverness-Citrus (CIT) 113
5. Crystal River (CR) 113
6. Brooksville-Hernando (HER) 129
7. Brooksville-Central (CEN) NTS
8. Weeki Wachee (WW) NTS
Final Top 10 Individual Results
PL NAME SCH TIME
1. Amber Philpott SPG 19:01.68
2. Claire Farnsworth LEC 20:06.09
3. Alyssa Weber CIT 20:43.08
4. Alexa Lacy NCT 20:46.98
5. Alyssa Deligio NCT 21:14.79
6. Crystal Burchhardt NCT 21:37.09
7. Brianna Horn NCT 21:59.35
8. Ashley Morris HER 22:03.06
9. Summer March NCT 22:03.96
10. Mary Thomson NCT 22:13.13
NATURE COAST (31) - 4. Alexa Lacy 20:46.98, 5. Alyssa Deligio 21:14.79, 6. Crystal Burchhardt 21:37.09, 7. Brianna Horn 21:59.35, 9. Summer March 22:03.96, 10. Mary Thomson 22:13.13, 12. Kaylee Arvay 22:31.91, 20. Jacey Vidaud 23:54.56, 22. Theresa Piccinini 24:08.65.
SPRINGSTEAD (76) - 1. Amber Philpott 19:01.68, 14. Joy Jackson 22:43.25, 17. Alexandrea Zieman 23:38.68, 23. Toni Pandolfo 24:14.08, 26. Julia Diven 24:25.76, 33. Amanda Santana 26:10.39, 37. Alexandra Ede 26:52.22.
HERNANDO (129) - 8. Ashley Morris 22:03.06, 27. Heaven Benson 24:39.23, 28. Berkley Laporte 24:42.96, 39. Sarah King 27:41.24, Arianna Minnie 29:05.32, 55. Raquel Mobley 36:09.20, 57. Racquail Mobley 37:23.45.
CENTRAL (NTS) - 34. Jenna Barbee 26:18.79, 46. Audrey Van Wagner 29:18.28, 49. Nicole Carrier 29:34.28, 53. Brianna Daniels 31:38.65.
WEEKI WACHEE (NTS) - 24. Jenna Gouldey 24:17.31, 50. Joanna McKinney 30:14.78, 52. Monique Helm 31:24.73.