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Busy day for Marion & Co.

The Dixie Hollins junior competes in six events and finishes no worse than third in any of them.

By BOB PUTNAM, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 26, 2002

ORLANDO -- Kevin Marion sprinted and jumped for nearly six hours under a blazing sun before trudging, sweat-soaked, across the infield to the back of the grandstands.

Once he reached his destination, the Dixie Hollins junior put his hands on his head and asked for one thing: aspirin.

A thoroughbred among plow horses, Marion stood out at the 26th annual Golden South Classic on Saturday.

Competing in six events, Marion left most of the competition behind. He won the long jump, the 200 meters and ran the anchor leg on the winning 4x100 relay team.

He also finished third in the 100 and anchored the runner-up 4x200 and fourth-place 4x400 relay teams.

So it was understandable Marion needed something to relieve him of a fever he developed by the end of the meet.

"I'm real proud of Kevin," Lightning Bolt Track club coach Garlynn Boyd said.

"He basically won the meet."

About the only thing Marion did not win was MVP. That went to Roy Cheney of Evans, Ga., who won the 110 and 400 hurdles.

"I don't know what they were thinking when they gave that award," Boyd said.

Marion started his day by jumping a pedestrian 23 feet, 1 inch in the long jump.

The mark was well off his state-record 25-5 he set in his last meet, but it was good enough to win.

"I had a hard time getting used to the runway and couldn't get a grip," Marion said. "Plus, I needed to save my energy."

In his next event, Marion teamed with Largo's Chauncey Corbin, Gibbs' Rashad Etheridge and Lakewood's Dermillo Wise to win the 4x100 relay. Marion's anchor leg sealed the victory as the Lightning Bolt squad ran the race in 41.03 seconds to beat favored Carter High from Dallas, which won the event at the Texas state meet.

Carter won the Class 5A state title two weeks ago with a time of 40.55, which ranks as one of the fastest in the country.

Originally entered in the open division, the Lightning Bolt relay team competed against Carter because there weren't enough teams for open and high school races. But the Lightning Bolt's time will not hold up in the national rankings because it is a club team.

Marion finished his day with two more sprints and two more relays.

"He was tired by the time he ran the 4x400," Boyd said. "But all the guys were."

Wise finished second in the 110 hurdles and third in the long jump. Corbin was third in the 110 and 400 hurdles.

Seminole's Devon Rich finished fifth in the 100, the highest placement among county girls.

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