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Newcomers make Lecanto girls even better

By CAREY FREEMAN, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 3, 2002


CRYSTAL RIVER -- It should come as no surprise that Lecanto repeated as girls champion at Saturday's Crystal River Invitational.

CRYSTAL RIVER -- It should come as no surprise that Lecanto repeated as girls champion at Saturday's Crystal River Invitational.

With athletes such as Kate Wheeler and Kylene Colasanti, it should have been expected.

Colasanti and Wheeler, who were playing basketball two weeks ago and have had little time to train, combined to win three events in leading the Panthers (196 1/2 points) over North Marion (117 1/2) and Ocala West Port (95).

"This is my second meet, so I'm just trying my best. And I still have a lot of work to do," said Colasanti, who beat out Wheeler in the 300-meter hurdles. "As a team, I think we did really well."

Colasanti added second-place finishes in the high jump and pole vault and ran a strong third leg for the 4x400 relay, which took first by 11 seconds over Crystal River. Wheeler won the high jump and triple jump and ran the final leg of the 4x400.

The Panthers also got second-place finishes from Diedre Witherspoon (1,600 and 3,200) and Santana Huggett (800). Stacey Lowe (high jump), Allison Hughes (100 hurdles), Nicole Mailloux (1,600) and Nicole Gasiorek (400) took thirds.

Ocala Forest dominated the boys competition with 170 1/2 points and seven victories. North Marion (118 1/2) and Crystal River (112) rounded out the top three. Lecanto and Seven Rivers Christian finished seventh and eighth.

The Pirates were led by Matt Hinman and Robbie Thompson, who finished first and second, respectively, in the shot put. Lecanto's Phil Reed finished third.

Seven Rivers' Shawn Allen won the high jump for the fourth consecutive meet with a leap of 6 feet, 6 inches, which tied the meet record and was 2 inches short of his personal best. Allen beat North Marion's Torris Rutledge (6-2) and teammate Chris Roth (6-0).

"(Allen) is a real leader of this team, and he's helped bring Chris Roth along," Warriors coach Scott Lyons said. "High jump is Shawn's forte."

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