Saint Stephen's junior Ellie Berdusco will get the chance to defend her state championship in the 500-yard freestyle after winning that event and another Saturday at the Class 1A-Region 3 meet in St. Petersburg.
Berdusco won the 500 freestyle in four minutes, 56.57 seconds and took the 200 freestyle title in 1:52.35.
The top finisher and relay team in each event automatically advanced to next week's state meet in Stuart. At-large berths will be announced Sunday.
Berdusco also helped a Saint Stephen's relay team to a second-place finish. She, Kristen Brockett, Kristi Schleicher and Lauri Schleicher came in second in the 200 freestyle relay. The Falcons finished fifth as a team behind champion Tampa Berkeley Prep.
Out-of-Door Academy's Joe Plechy came in third in the 50 freestyle in 22.92 seconds.
CLASS 3A-DISTRICT 8 -- Eric Erlenmeyer and Sang Cho each won an individual district title and swam on a winning relay team to lead the Lakewood Ranch boys to the team title at Sarasota YMCA.
The Mustangs scored 397 points, just five more than second-place Seminole Osceola. Braden River, led by Ryan Walker's two individual district titles, placed fourth.
Erlenmeyer won the 100 backstroke in 54.69 seconds, and Cho won the 100 breaststroke in 1:02.38. They swam with Jonathan Chaires and Daniel Erlenmeyer to win the 200 medley relay in 1:41.99. Luke Hanner also won a district championship for Lakewood Ranch, claiming the 100 butterfly in 55.05.
Walker took the 50 freestyle in 22.20 seconds and the 100 freestyle in 49.48.
The top two individuals and winning relay team in each event advanced to next week's Region 3 meet in St. Petersburg. At-large berths to region will be announced Sunday.
In the girls meet, Madison Jean and Sydney Panzarino each won district championships to lift Lakewood Ranch to third place behind Osceola and St. Petersburg Northeast. Jean won the 100 butterfly in 58.31 seconds, and Panzarino won the 100 freestyle in 55.39. Braden River placed fourth.
CLASS 2A-REGION 3 MEET -- Bayshore freshman Theodore Smith punched his ticket to the state swim meet with a pair of top-three finishes Friday in Dunedin.
Smith finished second in the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:45.68 and third in the 200 individual medley in 2:03.06.
Only the region champion gets an automatic bid to next week's state meet in Stuart, but Smith's times will earn him at-large bids in both events, according to results from other regions posted on the FHSAA website.
Smith likely will be the only area swimmer to earn a state berth in Class 2A, but the Southeast boys made a strong showing, placing fifth in the team event behind champion Tampa Jesuit. Patrick Healy and Austin Lambert led the way with third-place finishes. Healy was third in the 100 butterfly in 57.52 seconds, and Lambert was third in the 100 backstroke in 58.82.
CLASS 2A-REGION 3 -- When Canaan Meester-Kitterman changed his training habits during the summer, he knew he would get off to a slow start during the cross country season.
But the Bayshore senior also believed he would be peaking at the right time, and he proved that correct in Holiday.
Kitterman ran the 3.1-mile course in 16 minutes and 54.5 seconds to place second and record his highest finish at regions.
"I feel good about my training. I am feeling stronger and more confident heading into states," Meester-Kitterman said. "I was second most of the way today behind the winner (Leonel Delacruz, Immokalee, 16:37.10). The course was good. It started raining, but it was a fun race. I enjoyed the competition."
The top six teams and 15 individuals qualify for this weekend's state meet in Tallahassee. Bayshore, the only area team in the boys race, placed 10th. Southeast's Dominic MacRae placed 24th (17:59.80), and Elisa Lopez was 23d in the girls race (22:47.60)
"I am happy with my place because I was shooting for the states and I am going," Meester-Kitterman said. "My summer training helped because I have never run faster than I am now for cross country."
CLASS 1A-REGION 3 -- Cardinal Mooney runners Grace Casagrande and Cal Davidson-Turner easily reeled in trips to state in Melbourne.
Casagrande, the district champion, came in second at the region in a time of 18 minutes, 14.72 seconds. Julie Wollrath of Melbourne Holy Trinity won the race in 18:14.72.
Davidson-Turner turned in a sixth-place finish in the boys race, recording a time of 16:38.69.
The top six teams and individuals finishing in the top 15 earned their way to Saturday's state meet at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee. Holy Trinity won the boys and girls team titles. No area team advanced to state.
Only the Cardinal Mooney runners advanced from the Bradenton area. Lauren Csubak led Saint Stephen's by finishing 24th in 20:40.83.
-- Herald staff reports