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Emergency brain surgery sidelines Land O’ Lakes cross country runner Steven Barnabei

Posted Nov 7, 2012 by Larry Bugg

Updated Nov 7, 2012 at 01:04 PM

Land O’ Lakes High’s boys cross country team will be without its team captain when its run at the regional Saturday.

Steven Barnabei, a junior, had to have emergency brain surgery Nov. 2 at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Tampa. He is now at home recovering.

“We will miss him,’’ said Land O’ Lakes coach Kris Keppel. “He’s our team leader. He was always at practice and a hard worker. I don’t have a lot of information on this. We don’t know if it’s cancerous or not. We will honor him with a patch on our singlets. The entire boys and girls teams are supportive of Steven and his family.”

Keppel said Barnabei, who was battling for the No. 4-spot on the team, had severe migraines and is not expected to run again this season, but hopes Barnabei can compete in the track and field season in the upcoming spring.

The Land O’ Lakes High team was third in the district last Saturday and will compete in the Class 3A-Region 2 meet Saturday at Lecanto High School. If the Gators qualify at the regional for one of the top six spots, they will advance to the Class 3A state meet Nov. 17 in Tallahassee.

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