By ERIC VICIAN
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 10, 2002
TAMPA -- Saturday's Nash Higgins Relays will be remembered for a variety of accomplishments.
Wharton's boys won't forget the annual meet at Leto because Jesuit snapped the Wildcats' two-year run as champions, edging them for a six-point win. By contrast, the Wharton girls shocked favored Plant as the Wildcats claimed a 16-point win over the Panthers.
Boca Ciega's Roberto Rodriguez, last year's state high jump runner-up, was named the Male Performer of the Meet. He won the triple (44-11/2), long (21-3) and high (6-10) jumps and led the Pirates to a fifth-place finish. Rodriguez failed to clear seven feet in the high jump.
Jesuit's boys won the meet despite claiming just one event title (2-mile Invitational), while the Wharton girls won a meet-best four events: the 1,320 and 400 shuttle hurdles, and the high and triple jumps.
Senior Kendra Smith led Wharton, which finished third last year, and earned the Female Performer of the Meet award. She won the triple jump (37 feet, 8 inches) and high jump (5-2), and was on the winning 4x1320 and 4x100 relay teams. She also finished second in the long jump.
Bloomingdale senior Jon Miller easily won the pole vault, clearing 15 feet. Then, unaware of Dave Lawson's Hillsborough County record of 15-6 set in the 1980s, he attempted a state-record vault of 15-10. He narrowly missed on three tries.
The Armwood boys won the most events, taking first in the shot put and discus, and tying Boca Ciega for first in the long jump. But the Hawks' runners couldn't catch up in the field events as they finished a distant sixth. Riverview took third place.