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Wharton continues Relays domination

Wildcats teams sweep event, and boys team wins fourth consecutive title.

By ANTHONY GAGLIANO

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 23, 2003


TAMPA -- Wharton celebrated another victory in the Manuel-Griffin Fraundorfer Relays. The Wildcats' teams swept the event, and the boys won their fourth consecutive championship and sixth of the past nine.

The rest of the field struggled to keep pace Saturday as the Wildcats nearly doubled their closest competition's score. Wharton's boys outdistanced Gaither 87-46, while the girls led by 11 after five events before stretching their final margin to 36.

The real race was for second place on the girls' side, as host Hillsborough placed sixth in the final race -- the 4x400-meter relay -- to edge Plant by one point and Gaither by two.

"It's awesome," Hillsborough girls coach Jean Wiser said. "This is our first time finishing second at this big event, and it's a privilege and an honor, especially on our homefield at our event. And without our distance team, we couldn't have come in second. What they've done is awesome."

In addition to the three points from their 4x400 team, the Terriers finished second in the 4x110 and 4x220 relays. The Hillsborough long jumpers were also runners-up, and the high jumpers claimed the team's lone victory.

Gaither freshman Amanda Quick was named the girls' MVP. She dazzled coaches with a come-from-behind finish in the final 100 meters of the distance medley to give the Cowboys the win over Plant. Quick won all three of her events, including the 2-mile relay and 4x400.

"I was just sitting there and I didn't even know it until I heard my name," Quick said of her MVP honors. "But it was our team. It all depends upon them."

Wharton used a well-rounded effort to capture the team titles. The Wildcat boys claimed three first- and three second-place finishes. The girls squad had only one first-place finish but compensated with four third-place finishes and three seconds.

The Wildcats also balanced field and track events as the boys took first in the 2-mile and distance medley relays along with top honors in the triple jump.

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