Spencer Guerette was healthy and happy with the world.
The Anclote senior was flu-free and finished second in the Mitchell Invitational cross country meet last Saturday at Starkey Park. He had a time of 17:20. Only Sickles runner Zainelabdin Fator was ahead of him, finishing first with a time of 17:08.
"A couple of weeks ago, I felt terrible,'' Guerette said. "I have never felt better. I can always do better. Today, I love this course."
"Spencer has been sick for the past couple of weeks,'' said Anclote coach Alan Parmenter. "This week is the first week he has really felt great during the competitive season. I told him to go out and stay with the leaders for the first mile. Stay with them at the two mile and open up a lead or close up any kind of gap. I saw him at the two-mile mark and he was in the top four. This is a tougher course than the University of Florida."
"I took the lead at the 21/2-mile mark,'' said Fator, a native of Sudan. "My time was decent. Some people have problems with this course. There were a lot of sandy parts, but you just have to go through it."
Mitchell's Claudia Cancello had plenty to celebrate, winning the girls race with a time of 20:18. She beat Gulf's Kari Grippo, who finished in 20:38.
"I just wanted to stay with (Grippo),'' Cancello said. "It's a hard course. I'm proud of myself. It was my first win. This is fun. The sugar sand was tough, but the rain made it harder so that was good."
Mitchell coach Jeff Leavey said Cancello was running about as fast as former Mustang distance star Kelli Williams, who on the University of South Florida cross country team.
"Claudia is just running phenomenally,'' Leavey said. "Did I expect (her to win)? Yes. About a half mile to go, she was second."
Grippo had some physical problems.
"I have a respiratory problem," Grippo said. "I had it before school started. I ran in the pouring rain. Last year, I came out running way too fast and I peaked way before state. This year, I want to do my best at the end of the season."
"She'll be there by the end of the season," said Gulf girls coach Dean Lofton. "The girls ran well (finishing fifth with 150 points)."
The Wiregrass Ranch boys finished fourth with 119 points. Coach Chris Loth said No. 1 runner Ermias Bireda did not run because of an injury.