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Wildcat hurdler had sights set high

Angela Medvid thought about the state meet with each passing race.

By JAMAL THALJI, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 7, 2002

WESLEY CHAPEL -- The difference between Angela Medvid flying over the hurdles this season and last season is this:

For once, Medvid was chasing a goal at the end of the finish line.

Which is why in one season the Wesley Chapel junior transformed herself from average to exceptional, earned a neckful of medals and walked away from the Class 2A state meet tied for the highest honor a county athlete earned this season: the bronze medal, in the 300-meter hurdles.

"This year, my goal was to go state and maybe place there," Medvid said, "and next year, my goal is to actually get first or second, because now I've learned how to work hard for my goal."

And she has learned how to utilize her talent, the kind that was readily apparent to coaches at the start of the season.

"She worked really hard all season long, and toward the end of the season she realized what she could do," coach Annie McGhee said. "All the coaches were telling her how much talent she had, and I'm not sure she believed it until she saw what she was able to do against the other competition."

During a month-long stretch, Medvid started to realize her potential and began whittling away at her times.

At mid-April's Sunshine Athletic Conference meet, she won the 300 hurdles (46.19), finished second in the 100 (16.31), fourth in the long jump (15-feet, 5-inches) and fourth in the triple jump (30-101/4).

A week later at the Class 2A, District 9 meet, she won the 300 hurdles (50.18) and the triple jump (32-21/4) and was second in the 100 hurdles (16.17).

A week after that, at the Class 2A, Region 3 meet, Medvid made history, winning the first region titles in school history (along with pole vaulter Atumn Yanchunis). Medvid won the 100 (15.41) and the 300 hurdles (47.34.).

"I was thinking, "Wow! I've never done this before,' " Medvid sad. "I set school history, and I didn't want anyone to take it from me."

At state, Medvid completed her rise, earning the bronze in the 300 hurdles (46.79.)

But McGhee said it was at the March Citrus Invitational in Inverness where Medvid turned the corner, running against an unfamiliar field and winning the 300 hurdles (49.38)

"I reaLly think it's a lot of focus and determination for her," McGhee said. "You take a lot of bumps and falls throughout the season and you've got to pick yourself up and keep on going, no matter how hurt you may be."

Medvid had to do just that at the Florida Relays in late March in Gainesville, when she fell in the 100 hurdles.

Now her sights are set on next year, and she faces an unexpected choice: Should she try for a college scholarship in track or volleyball, where she is an outside hitter?

"Whoever's willing to let me have a crack at both sports," Medvid said, "I'm willing to take them up on it.

She also has her sights set on winning gold or silver next year at the state meet.

"Oh my gosh, that would mean everything to me," she said. "I would probably wear (the medal) everyday. I would never take it off."

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