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Lowe's four firsts lift Lecanto to win

KIWANIS INVITATIONAL: The Panther girls win by 32 while Tony Lyons paces Citrus to boys title.

© St. Petersburg Times
published April 18, 2003

BROOKSVILLE -- Of the ribbons that adorn a wall in Stacey Lowe's home, most are for fourth or fifth place, "which is really annoying," the Lecanto senior said.

Lowe has done some redecorating this season, adding first- and second-place ribbons, along with a few thirds.

Lowe, who moved from Wolverhampton, England, two years ago when her father purchased a business that builds kitchen cabinets, earned four more ribbons Thursday.

She won the 100- and 300-meter hurdles and high jump and helped Lecanto to first in the 400 relay at the Kiwanis Invitational at Hernando's Tom Fisher Memorial Stadium.

In the process, Lowe led Lecanto (154 1/3 points) to first in the girls meet, 32 points ahead of second-place Citrus (122 1/3).

Lowe was particularly pleased with her performance in the 300 hurdles, where her time of 49.98 seconds was 0.26 faster than top-seeded Leona Halfacre of South Sumter and a second faster than Lowe's previous best.

"That was a big deal for me," Lowe said. "When they told me, I was like, 'Are you for real?' I was so happy."

Shortly after completing the hurdles, Lowe returned to the high jump pit for a jumpoff with Seven Rivers Christian's Danielle Albury. Both cleared 4 feet, 10 inches before Albury missed at 4-11. After taking a few moments to review her steps, Lowe successfully cleared the height.

She didn't mind rushing from one event to another.

"It doesn't bother me, because I do five events," said Lowe, who also entered the triple jump. "I'd rather be out there than sitting here watching, because I'd get frustrated."

Lowe finished the 100 hurdles in 16.95. The 1,600 relay team won in 4:20.8.

In the boys race, Tony Lyons won the 800, 1,600 and 3,200, and Citrus took five of the top eight spots in the 3,200 to pull ahead of South Sumter.

The Raiders' Tony Fields placed first in the 110 and 300 hurdles and triple jump, but it was not enough to prevent Citrus from outscoring South Sumter 146-124.

Lyons finished the 1,600 in 4:28, exceeding his previous best by six seconds.

"I got rested up," Lyons said. "I got a good rest, I'm eating a lot better and I'm getting into the mind-set where I'm wanting to win everything no matter how I feel."

Central's Kurt Lee set a personal record of 14-6 in the pole vault. The height is second in Class 3A this season behind Leon's Scott Crews (14-9). Stephen Gaddis of Port St. Joe owns the state's top mark of 15-0.

Lee, who already holds the school record, vaulted 14-0 at the Florida Relays on March 26 and matched the feat at last week's Gulf Coast Athletic Conference meet. He missed at 15-0.

"It feels good," Lee said. "It would have been nice if I could have gotten 15-0. I've got to work at getting a little better at the top of the pole."

Lowe hopes to get to the state meet for the first time after failing to place in the 300 hurdles at last season's region meet and narrowly missing qualifying in the 1,600 relay.

"That'd just finish my senior year off for me," Lowe said. "That would be the best way to go out."

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