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After four long years, Adams has her medal

The Largo senior hurdler also earned a scholarship to FSU.

By BOB PUTNAM, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 8, 2002

The Largo senior hurdler also earned a scholarship to FSU.

Monica Adams trudged back from the infield to the stands with a bronze medal dangling from her neck.

The senior from Largo had just finished running the 100-meter hurdles at the Class 3A state meet, an event she had dominated. Adams was a district and region champion and hoped to finish her high school career with another title.

But when Adams lunged at the finish line, two other girls were ahead of her. Although she had lost, Adams was content as she accepted her medal. It wasn't gold, but it still glittered.

She had run one of her fastest times of the year (15.10 seconds) and earned her first medal at a state meet.

"I don't like to lose and always try to think of what I could have done to win," Adams said. "I could have had better technique, but I improved and that's what you always want to do."

A state title was about the only thing she was not able to check off her list. After missing her junior year with a knee injury, Adams came back determined to grab the attention of college coaches.

The plan worked. A week before the state meet, Adams got a qualifying score on her ACT and a scholarship offer from Florida State University.

"It's nice the way things have ended for me," Adams said. "I didn't get gold, but everything fell into place."

Once she made it to the stands, Adams showed off the medal that took her four years to achieve.

"I was proud of her third-place finish," Largo coach Mike Beck said. "I knew there were some fast girls there and I told her this was as good as you can get.

"The main thing for Monica is that the year ended so much better than she could have expected. She got a medal, a qualifying ACT score and a scholarship offer all within a week.

"She'll do well and I know she'll be successful because she overcame so many obstacles just to get where she is today."

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