Shorecrest Boys, Oak Hall Girls On To State After 1A Region 2 Championships

(Photos by Jeff Adams)

Three regions converged on Holloway Park in Lakeland on Friday morning. Even as the morning mist was slowly burning off, runners from all over the region made their bid to compete in the state finals next Saturday.

In Class A, the girls race set off first with runners heading up a grass slope and circling back through the one-mile mark. In the lead it was Calvary Christian's Hannah Brookover battling with Oak Hall's Grace Blair and Community School of Naples' Linsay Tomaini. Runners went back into the wooded area and wound through the trails of the park before emerging near the three-mile mark. When they emerged it was Brookover in total control and she cruised to a win in 18:43.63. Blair finished second in 19:00.61 and Tomaini third in 19:27.51, with the top three all under 20 minutes on a slow, tough course.

"I kind of forgot what it was like here, I haven't run her since my sophomore year," Brookover said. "I'm excited for states, though, I am going to try and hit my best time at states."

Brookover's performance help float her team into fourth place with 125, just behind Evangelical Christian's 124 for third. Tomaini helped her squad to a second-place finish with 111 but no team could come within 50 points of Oak Hall, who won it with 59. It was Oak Hall's fifth straight regional title.

The boys race started off on an awkward note as top seed Noah Perkins of Seffner Christian was managing the course in a walking boot. Perkins had a foot injury flare up and he had no choice but to walk off the course when the race began. It fell to Perkins' team to get him to states and they pulled it off with a fourth place team score of 155. Perkins may get to run at states after all.

With Perkins out, it opened the door for a new runner in the region to emerge. That runner was Shorecrest's Luke Peterson. Peterson, with a 16:02 from Pre State, got out in front early and by the time he emerged from the woods at the three mile mark, the race was his. Peterson made it a 16:48.62 to win it.

"I wasn't feeling too good before the race but I knew if I put up a solid effort, we'd see what I could do," Peterson said. "This was my best time on this course and I'm glad I don't have to run it again, this course makes states seem easier."

Indian Rocks Christian's Cooper LaBrant took second in 17:02.42 and Hunter McCann of Admiral Farragut Academy grabbed third in 17:14.57, making it a 1-2-3 finish for Pinellas County. Peterson's score helped push Shorecrest past IRC for the team title 96 to 137. Oak Hall boys were third with 143.

(Photo by Andy Warrener)

"We had a couple guys not feeling well today but we'd been training well all week long and spirits were up," Chargers boys coach Jeff Raab said.

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