The annual Lecanto Invitational was held on Saturday morning at Lecanto High, and the host Panthers had the county’s best showing on the boys side taking fifth place overall.
Steinbrenner (39) and Sunlake (33) utterly dominated, combining for the first 14 individual placers, followed by Osceola (132), Montverde Academy (141) and then Lecanto (148).
Crystal River senior Cody Thompson was the first runner not from Steinbrenner or Sunlake to cross the finish line, running a 17:51.56 to take 15th.
For the Panthers, Chase Wilson finished 20th (18:20.84), Brandon Rydzewski was 22nd (18:44.91), Jeremiah Piraux came in 27th (18:57.76), Aidan Finamore took 39th (19:27.34) and Tanner Leturno placed 46th (19:43.43).
"Another successful meet. We had a lot of high school boys and girls teams comes in, along with some middle school teams from the area. A lot of good competition, too, which was good to see," Lecanto boys coach Nate Cuellar said. "A lot of the schools came from Tampa or the Tampa area. Competing against schools a lot larger or schools that are consistently state finalists or competing for a state championship, the fact we were able to compete ... I think it goes a long way toward us having a good chance to make it to states for (Class) 3A."
Crystal River and Citrus tied for eighth in the team standings, each with 250. Thomas Tyler of the Hurricanes was the next-fastest county runner behind Thompson, with a 19th-place 18:16.72.
Seven Rivers Christian ended up 16th (412), led by Caden Kearse in 49th with a 19:56.76.
Citrus’ girls were sixth as a team with a 140. Montverde won the meet with a 39. Mackenzie Scordato ran a 20:51.52 for the ’Canes, good for seventh place to pace all county runners. Teammate Taylor Koon was next fastest, posting a 21:56.08 for 15th.
Also for Citrus, Carleigh Steel came in 35th (23:46.01), then Kaley Kjos (25:03.56), Jalena Alexander (25:05.60) and Kendall Gibson (25:10.87) placed 49-51.
Lecanto was seventh as a team (238), with Jordan Prinner coming in 30th (23:09.70), and Seven Rivers was ninth (280), as Mia McDougal was 43rd (24:32.00) and Mauve McDougal came in next at 44th (23:39.78).
Crystal River’s girls were 14th (369), led by Jordan Martynowski (70th, 27:10.13).