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Barons can't overcome lack of speed

St. Petersburg Catholic duo settles for second place.

By BOB PUTNAM, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 5, 2002

St. Petersburg Catholic duo settles for second place.

CORAL SPRINGS -- St. Petersburg Catholic's Tony Cormier and Sam Secord had the credentials to contend for state titles at Saturday's state meet.

Cormier was the top returner in the 1,600 meters, and Secord was undefeated in the 800.

But for all their accolades, there was one thing Cormier and Secord did not have enough of Saturday: speed.

Miami Gulliver Prep's Andrew Martin was the fastest competitor in both events, and Cormier and Secord spent the night chasing him.

Martin won both events, and Cormier and Secord settled for bronze medals.

"I felt I ran a good race," said Cormier, who ran the 1,600 in a personal-best 4 minutes, 20.40 seconds.

"But that field was crazy fast. I hadn't seen speed like that in this event before."

In the 800, Secord set the pace by surging ahead in the first lap before Martin and Fort Pierce Lincoln Park's Christopher Potter passed him.

"I knew I had to come out and lead and have everyone catch me," said Secord, who ran the 800 in a personal-best 1:56.53. "If I go didn't go out in front, I wouldn't have had a chance."

Cormier and Secord's third-place finishes helped the Barons finish 23rd with 12 points.

St. Petersburg Catholic had a chance to fare better in the team standings, but its 4x400 relay was disqualified in the regionals and Chris Davis, the defending state champion in the long jump, did not compete because he took the SAT.

"I'm real happy with Tony (Cormier) and Sam (Secord)," SPC coach Jeff Ehlert said. "We had some setbacks, but we ended up having two medal winners."

The only other county boy to place in the top eight was Osceola's Joey Griffin, who finished fourth in the 400 in 49.54.

Griffin missed his personal-best by two-tenths of a second and said he could have done better but got to the stadium right before the race and did not get to warm up.

Osceola's Kim Conaway, the only girls participant from the county in 2A, finished seventh in the 300 hurdles in 47.36, a second better than her personal record.

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