Of the eleven teams entered in the Green Devil Cross Country Meet, ten were from Pinellas County. Steinbrenner from nearby Hillsborough came to crash the party though. Hannah Brookover was equally impressive in the girl's race as the action went down at scenicCrescent Lake Park in St Petersburg. Andy Warrener has the recap of all the action.
The combined girls Varsity and JV race went off first. Brookover established herself from out of the gates.
"I just wanted to get out in front from the beginning," Brookover said. "I really couldn't see anyone around me but people were yelling out times and distances - it helped me a lot."
Brookover didn't even recognize the people helping her along in her race and she needed the help as she built a tremendous lead even in the early going. By the first time around Crescent Lake, Brookover had established her lead with teammate Brooke Santesteban coming up behind her. A pack of four runners trailed Santesteban with Osceola's Fatima Abu-Rumann and Northeast's Hayley Brahm in the mix. By the second time around the lake, Brookover was unconquerably ahead. Soon after, Brookover had more than 30 seconds in front of trailing Santesteban. It finished just that way with Brookover across the finish in 19:52.74. Santesteban finished second in 20:41.76. Brahm came down the chute in third in 20:57 and Abu-Rumann rolled in fourth at 21:36.
"The grass was kind of high but the course was flat so it was pretty easy going," Brookover said. "The change of direction at the end was a little weird but the course was pretty well marked."
Brookover established herself as the athlete to beat at the Green Devil meet, swamping the field.
"I just want to keep dropping my times," Brookover said.
Brookover was under 20 minutes last week at Lecanto and improved this week. She'll head to North Port next week for a much larger meet. Brookover is so fast that she trains with the Calvary Christian boys team.
"I like it, they push me," Brookover said. "I think as a team we've really progressed this year, I'm excited for the season."
Speaking of running with the boys, late entry Steinbrenner's dominance of the meet was almost complete. Here are some numbers. Steinbrenner boys took the top five spots, they took six of the top seven spots, they took seven of the top nine spots. They finished with a perfect score of 15 to runner up Osceola with 76. The Steinbrenner boys, also known as, "Boss Running" launched into utter dominance from the get-go. Seminole's Cameron LeClair was in front for the first lap around the lake with a massive pack of runners just a few seconds behind him. By the second trip around, the Boss Running boys had established control. Tommy Keith and Ian Campbell had slipped in front of LeClair and a pack of Boss boys were hot on his tail. Five Steinbrenner boys had moved into primary positions by the end of the race and LeClair had to settle for sixth place.
"The only way we were going to do something great was as a team," Steinbrenner senior Anthony Rocca said.
The Steinbrenner boys who have fashioned their team name after the nickname of the man their school is named after made a resounding statement on Thursday.
"This group is all about teamwork," Keith said.
Keith mentioned how all of the Steinbrenner cross country runners meet in coach Robert Ennis' room every morning before school and how they eat, train and even hang out together. Keith finished in 17:30 taking the team title with teammate Campbell behind him at 17:32. Not scorching times but the team effort and pack mentality will have cross country coaches in Hillsborough County and in the Tampa Bay area scratching their heads.
Note: The meet did not submit results so the best we have our these photos of the top teams and top finishers.