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No team, no title for Blue Jackets

By DUNN NEUGEBAUER
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 26, 2002

INDIAN ROCKS CHRISTIAN -- It came down to the last lap of the last event -- the 4x400 relay -- before a regional champion was decided.

When the tape was broken in 3:34.68, it was Berkeley Prep that pulled off the come-from-behind win to capture its first title Thursday night.

Berkeley finished with 72 points, outdistancing Admiral Farragut (70) and Northside Christian (60).

Admiral Farragut went into the relay holding a eight-point lead. But because the Blue Jackets didn't field a 4x400 team, Berkeley had to take second to tie and first to win.

Mike Scannon, Rolf Steier and Chris Acton-Maher built up a 10-meter lead, and Tommy Kerr held on.

Northside Christian will be well-represented at state. Ryan Gabrici placed third in the discus, Doug Hunter took second in the 300 intermediate and 110 high hurdles, and Brandon Hartz and Brian Klingle took first and third in the pole vault.

Controversy costs Barons

WESLEY CHAPEL -- St. Petersburg Catholic coach Jeff Ehlert knows he takes a strong unit to the 2A state meet.

But it could have been stronger. A judges' decision cost his 4x400 relay a place at state and the team third overall.

The judge ruled between the second and third legs, an SPC runner received the baton several yards outside of the exchange zone. The squad would have been second but was disqualified. A non-call in the girls 4x400, in which an SPC runner was tripped, also spoiled his mood.

"I can't comment on anything," Ehlert said. "I don't want to be fined."

SPC's Chris Davis won the long jump (23-111/2). Tony Cormier won the 1,600 (4:29.98), and Sam Secord won the 800 (2:01.11) despite a strained right knee tendon.

The Barons' Brian Sullivan was fourth in the 3,200 (10:05.00).

SPC's boys 4x800 relay of Bobby Yevich, Brian Sullivan, Mark Vallin and Cormier took fourth (8:37), as did teammate Matt Murdock in the 400 (50.27) and Sullivan in the 3,200 (10:05.00).

Osceola's Joey Griffin took third in the 400 (49.97).

-- JAMAL THALJI

Rebel wins three

SEMINOLE -- Kevin Marion said he wasn't at his best, but the Dixie Hollins junior was good enough to win the three events he entered.

Marion, who has his eyes on a state title in the long jump, jumped 23 feet, 10 inches to beat Lakewood's Dermillo Wise by just more than an inch. Marion also won the 100 meters (10.57) and 200 (21.42).

But it's the long jump Marion specializes in, and he said he has some improving to do.

"It took a while for me to get my rhythm," Marion said. "It was all right, but I can do better. I'm looking to go 24-25 feet at state."

Wise won three events in addition to finishing second in the long jump, the 110 hurdles (13.92), 300 hurdles (37.95) and triple jump (23-10).

Seminole, though, won the team title with 125 points. Largo was second with 97, and Boca Ciega third with 86.

Seminole placed in the top four in nine of 17 events, including first-place finishes by Derek Parkus in the pole vault (13-6) and Kenneth Magee in the 3,200 (10:10.06).

-- RODNEY PAGE

Balance keys Wharton

CLEARWATER -- Host Clearwater had two winners -- Sam Vavra in the shot put and the 4x800 relay -- and finished second with 80 1/2 points.

Pinellas had few other highlights as Wharton dominated with 202 points to win its second straight district title.

Balance was a big reason. The Wildcats placed in the top four in all but one event and won eight.

The only other county winners were Gibbs 4x100 relay and Palm Harbor University's Justin Trulock (800).

-- BOB PUTNAM

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