LITHIA -- The Manatee girls cross country team ran as a pack Thursday at the Class 4A-District 7 meet.
That's why the Hurricanes will be running next week at the Class 4A-Region 2 meet.
Manatee tied with Tampa Riverview for the third and final region-qualifying spot with 89 points at Lithia Newsome High School. But the Hurricanes claimed the spot in a tiebreaker because its sixth runner had a better finish that Riverview's. Traditionally, only the time five places are counted in team scores.
"In my opinion, this is one perfect example of how cross country is a team sport and literally every runner 1-7 counts and every finish position is important," Manatee head coach Rae Ann Darling Reed wrote in an email. "I always tell my runners that every spot counts and today that was so true!"
The top three teams and individuals who placed in the top 13 advanced to the Nov. 10 region meet at McIntosh Middle School in Sarasota.
Jessica Jones led Manatee by placing 10th in 21 minutes, 43.35 seconds. Katreyna Zeppi came in 20th, and the rest of the Hurricanes -- Casey Carson, Amber Gould, Kristen Johnson, Nicole Hittel and Savannah Smith -- claimed places 23-27.
Manatee boys runner Chris Pate earned a trip to region as well. He placed fifth overall in 17:28.68. The Hurricanes boys placed fourth with 84 points, 25 points behind third-place Sarasota Riverview.
Host Newsome won both the boys and girls events.