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Pirates, Bucs lead charge

By STEVE LEE, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published November 3, 2002

NEW PORT RICHEY -- Friday's girls diving event was the first indicator the Sunshine Athletic Conference meet would be one for the books.

Three divers topped the previous meet record, and Saturday, nine more SAC marks fell as Pasco won the boys competition with 68 points and host Gulf's girls won with 100.

Land O'Lakes diver Kaci Ressler scored 443.40 points, easily topping the 356.45 scored in 1999 by Ridgewood's Jamie Huss. Gulf's Michelle Mendonca (401.25) and Land O'Lakes' Jackie Van Broekhoven (381.75) also surpassed the previous record, and River Ridge's Shelby Justus came close at 342.65.

"None of us missed a dive," Ressler said. "It was tight the entire time."

Gulf dive coach Jerry Mancuso said he believes Ressler, Mendonca, Van Broekhoven and Justus are potential state qualifiers.

"All four have a shot," Mancuso said.

Gulf's title was its second outright. The Buccaneers won in 1999 and shared the 1997 crown with River Ridge.

"I think this one's better because it wasn't just four or five (key girls) that won," coach Linda Cassidy said. "It was the team."

Gulf set two relay records, and freshman India Surlis broke the 100-yard breaststroke mark with a time of 1 minute, 9.74 seconds.

Surlis, Kimmi Murphy, Emily Vlahakis and Jessica Lampkin won the 400 free relay in 3:56.19, and Mendonca, Murphy, Lampkin and Michele Walicke won the 200 free relay in 1:49.28.

Pasco won its first SAC title and set a conference record in the 200 free relay. Davy Johnson, Jason Epperson, Ross Coscia and Brett Clark won in 1:36.94.

"The guys have been working hard the last three years to get to this point," Pirates coach Russ Rosenbauer said. "They set a goal early (in the preseason) to win the title."

Land O'Lakes finished second in the boys and girls meet. Both squads went 8-0 during the regular season.

"We have the cake without the icing," Land O'Lakes coach Robin Hilgenberg said. "And it still tastes good."

Other record-setters were Margie Chamberlain and Trevor Martin. Chamberlain's marks came in the 200 free (1:59.29) and 100 fly (59.40). Martin won the diving with 364.20 points.

Hudson's Joe Hroma set two records to lead the Cobras to third in the boys meet, the 200 free in 1:52.07 and 100 butterfly in 55.02.

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