Courtesy photo Taylor Tubbs vies for the lead heading up a hill during the first half of Saturday's Region 2-3A meet in Lecanto. Tubbs would qualify for State for the second straight year with a second-place finish.
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published: Wednesday, November 14, 2012
By DAN HOEHNE
By DAN HOEHNE
She knew where she stood and just had to maintain her pace.
Heading into Saturday's Region 2-3A Cross Country meet in Lecanto, Sebring's Taylor Tubbs was seeded second.
With the top 15 finishers from the meet qualifying for the State Final in Tallahassee, all Tubbs had to do was keep her usual pace and hold her spot.
She did that and more in securing her place.
"Me seed time was at least one minute slower than the number one seed (Nikita Shah of Wiregrass Ranch)," Tubbs said. "It was a really tough course, but I ran it very well and finished just nine seconds behind her."
Nine second exactly, with her time of 18:41.40 to Shah's 18:32.40, while staying less than three seconds ahead of Bellview's Catherine Blaney, who took third.
Tubbs, however, will be going it alone as Sebring's lone representative, despite some strong runs amid the crowded and talented field.
Hannah Schroeder came out aggressively, getting ahead of the pack in the early going.
But she wouldn't be able to quite keep up the pace, despite posting a good time of 21:19 on tough and hilly course, and took 32nd out of the 114 runner field.
Ashley Castelli was a little further back with her time of 22:42.70, while Cassandra Marentes, Laura Eshelman, Katherine Stoll and Erin Lamb all came in consecutively with times of 25:16.90, 25:23, 25:37.60 and 25:39.80, respectively.
Wiregrass Ranch and Sarasota took the top two spots, team wise, while the Lady Streaks placed 12th overall.
On the boys side, a blistering pace was set and saw the winner, Zackery Summerall of Sarasota crack the 16-minute mark with a finishing time of 15:54.97.
Sickles' Zainelabin Fator nearly broke 16 minutes, finishing in 16:00.85, with the scores falling back and grouping from there.
Just a little too far back, however, Eric Foster took 27th in 17:18.91 and Wesley Koning placed 39th in 17:52.25.
Further back, Damian Foster and Tim Koning came in back-to-back with times of 18:19.97 and 18:22.32, respectively, while Jose Andrew Rivera timed in at 19:06.86, Grey Lawrence at 19:36.79 and Saul Marentes in 20:55.05.
But while the Sebring boys didn't make it to State this season, all but Tim Koning have two more years to build on the experience gained at this year's regional meet - Koning, a freshman, has three more shots.
Over in Lake Nona, for the Region 2-2A meet on Saturday, an excruciatingly close race saw Lake Placid junior Dalton Shelton just short of making a return trip to the State Finals.
Alex Nehgme of Lake Highlands Prep took the 15th and final qualifying spot from the Regional with a time of 17:52.10, while Shelton was two tenths of one second behind at 17:52.30.
A tough finish, without a doubt, but as with the host of Blue Streak underclassmen, Shelton will have one more try next season.
Lady Dragon senior Elizabeth Leon had a respectable showing in her last go-round, finishing with a time of 24:01.30, while freshman teammate Quiahja Williams showed promise for the years to come, finishing just two spots back in 24:09.40.
Similarly, Avon Park freshman Logan Lashley made a strong showing in his first Regional competition, taking 47th in 18:55.30, with potentially three more opportunities left in his high school career.
For Tubbs, this is the second straight year she'll be making the trip, with hopes to improve upon last year's placing of 61st on a tough Little Everglades Steeplechase Ranch course in Dade City.
"I believe I'm seeded eighth going in, so that's an improvement already," she said. "The top 10 places get medals, so my goal is to run my race and get in the top 10."
So, again, she knows were she stands - and just needs to maintain her pace.
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