TALLAHASSEE — Paul Stafford came just seven seconds from a state title as the Lake Wales senior took second in the Class 2A boys race at the 2017 FHSAA Cross Country Championships on Saturday morning at the Apalachee Regional Park.

Stafford finished in 15:23.02, just behind Charles Hicks of Jacksonville Bolles (15:16.78). While Stafford, who beat Hicks earlier in the season, was disappointed he didn’t win the title, he noted that he finished 37th in 2016 and shaved more than a minute off last year’s time of 16:41.23.

“I can’t complain with the results,” Stafford said. “Improvement is always good. Just motivation to keep getting better.”

Stafford and a number of the state’s top runners left the course after the event for the 10-mile drive west to Florida State University for a weekend visit with the coaching staff and a tour of the on-campus facilities.

Sophomore Anderson Denton took 31st in 16:46.21 as he and Stafford helped Lake Wales take 14th overall in the 2A boys team competition.

Frostproof senior Antonio Gomez took sixth in 15:51.50 to give Polk County a pair of top-10 runners in the 2A boys’ event. Gomez improved from an eighth-place finish in 2016.

“I wanted to run under 15:30 but I changed the plans,” Gomez said. “I’m satisfied. This year was the best year. I’ve come really far.”

George Jenkins sophomore Anna Sentner took eighth in the 4A girls race in 18:42.37. It was an improvement from her freshman year when she ran 19:10.32 and finished 19th.

“I’m definitely happy with my place,” Sentner said. “It was my goal to get in the top 10. … I’m so thankful that I have so many people out there to push me and make me a better runner.”

Teammate Amy Frisch was 37th in 19:50.89, helping George Jenkins take 11th overall. Jenkins No. 2 runner Alicia Ruiz, who has been sick, dropped out of the race after a mile because of dehydration. With Ruiz, the Eagles likely would have finished at least sixth and challenged for fifth.

Other top Polk County finishers on Saturday:

Cristal Gomez finished 25th in 19:20.28 and Gabriell Rybinski was 28th in 19:29.82 for Frostproof, which took 15th in the 2A girls’ race.

Three Lakeland Christian runners were in the top 60 of the 1A girls’ race: Kennedy Lewis took 40th in 20:37.73, Sarah Bayes was 56th in 20:57.47 and Gretchen Caswell was 60th in 21:05.51.

Seth Martinez of Lakeland Christian was 33rd in 17:13.94 in the 1A boys’ race.

George Jenkins’ Brady Zimmerman was 75th in the 4A boys’ race in 17:16.70.