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Preps

Jesuit boys prevent a sweep by Wharton

By JIM REESE

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 9, 2003


TAMPA -- In the 33rd Nash Higgins Relays Saturday at Leto, perennial power Jesuit finished two points ahead of Wharton (81-79) to claim the boys title and the Wharton girls easily took first with 91 points, finishing 26.5 ahead of runner-up Plant.

"We had a good day," Wharton coach David Watson said. "Our coaches have done a great job building the track tradition we have at Wharton. I look for us to have a fine year."

In a tuneup for postseason meets, Robinson's Rashard Hicks shared boys MVP honors after clearing 7 feet in the high jump, which tied the best mark in the state this season. Hicks also finished first in the long jump (21-1) and anchored Robinson's 440 relay team that finished sixth.

Leto's Coe Federenko was the other MVP after leading his team to victory in the 4-mile relay. His 1-mile leg was completed in 4:31. Federenko also won the 2-mile invite race in 10:14 and finished his day anchoring the distance medley relay, which finished second to Jesuit.

In the girls meet, Kate Truesdale of Gaither and Natalie Mosher of Wharton shared MVP honors. Mosher led her team to victory in the pole vault and Truesdale anchored the Cowboys' winning efforts in the 4x100, 2-mile and distance medley relays.

Gaither coach Ladd Baldwin is counting on Truesdale, Amanda Quick, Heather Dickson and Whitney Harder to propel the Cowboys to the next level.

"I am thrilled with today's efforts," Baldwin said. "To be able to come in here against this competition and leave with these results speaks volumes to the determination and drive of our athletes."

The Tigers edged Wharton for the boys championship by winning the distance medley and 2-mile relays. They were led in both events by sophomore Andy Biladeau, who last season set the national indoor freshman record with a 4:22.63 mile.

"We have a good nucleus here and this should be a great year for us," Jesuit coach Mike Boza said.

Jesuit also finished first in the shot put and discus.

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