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Nature Coast Tech Track Team Wins Districts

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Half a point; that was the difference between Nature Coast Tech and second place. The Villages Charter Buffaloes narrowly missed the top spot at the April 25 tournament as Head Coach Chase Liggett and the Brooksville-based Sharks emerged with the Boys’ District Championship in tow. Mission accomplished.

“Going into the season, our goal was to bring NCT track back,” said Coach Liggett. “We wanted to compete on the district and regional level again consistently. So, winning on Thursday was a ‘mission accomplished’ moment for everyone involved. Winning this District Championship was a complete team effort. Beating a program like The Villages by half a point is the definition of, ‘everyone and every point matters.’”

An impressive clutch performance for the team in Columbia blue and black, all levels of the team contributed to their FHSAA 2A District 6 title. This included a triple threat of freshmen qualifying for the regional track meet in May with Noah Carpenter in the 1600-meter and 3200-meter, Joseph Lizor (Javelin), and Dominic Picariello (400 and 4×400). They made up what will be a sizable contingent of Sharks at regionals as 18 athletes individually qualified and all three relay teams qualified for the tournament.

The trio of Carpenter, Lizor, and Picariello were not the only underclassmen who impressed, though. One sophomore, Noah Bennington, ran beyond expectation. He recorded a pair of personal bests in the 1600-meter (5:33.63) and 3200-meter (12:09.72) and his 1600m was roughly 20 seconds faster than his last outing at the Gulf Coast 8 Conference tournament on April 16. It was his performance in the 3200m that was a pivotal piece in Nature Coast securing the district title.

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“The biggest performance of the night came from Noah Bennington in the 3200 [meter] run,” Coach Liggett said. “He [broke his personal record] by around 45 seconds to take 6th place in that event which was huge in us taking the district championship. He was seeded 11th and he found it within himself to push and find a way to score points. We are very excited to see how we can compete at the regional meet, and also very excited about the future of our program.”

The South Sumter Raiders would take bronze over the Hudson Cobras at the event by three and a half points while the Hernando Leopards rounded out the top five. The two remaining in-county squads in the district also finished in the bottom half of the eight schools at the competition.

FHSAA 2A District 6 Team Results (Points):
Nature Coast – (160.50)
Villages – (160)
South Sumter – (103)
Hudson – (99.50)
Hernando – (61)
Weeki Wachee – (45.50)
Central (Brooksville) – (30.50)
Crystal River – (29)

Coach Chase Liggett and the Sharks will hope to see more excellent running from Bennington and company moving forward. The team’s next event will see the Columbia blue and black competing in the regional tournament at Mount Dora Christian Academy on the seventh of May.

Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch is a Graduate with Distinction, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. He's written numerous articles reporting on Florida Gators football, basketball, and soccer teams; the sports of rugby, basketball, professional baseball, hockey, and the NFL Draft. Prior to Hernando Sun he was a contributor to ESPN, Gainesville, FL and Gator Country Multimedia, Inc. in Gainesville, FL, and Stadium Gale.
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