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Building the perfect decathlete

By FRANK PASTOR
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 20, 2003

GIRLS

100-METER RUN -- Older brother, Tim, is the most successful running back in school history. But Central sophomore Tia Gaynor made a name for herself by winning the county meet in 13.84 seconds.

Worth a look: Rayna Toole, Springstead.

LONG JUMP -- Few athletes are as focused as Central freshman Stephanie Tillman, who reviews her steps. She was rewarded with a leap of 15 feet, 9 1/2 inches at GCAC.

Worth a look: Danielle Coopman, Hernando; Toole, Springstead.

SHOT PUT -- Arguments could be made for Central's Lani Coates and Sara Tooman, but in head-to-head competition, Hernando's Valerie Blount was better. The freshman won the county meet with a throw of 32-10.

Worth a look: Amber Collard, Springstead.

HIGH JUMP -- Maybe it's all the leaping she does as a volleyball player. Or the athleticism she showed in winning the Gulf Heptathlon in 2001. Whatever it is, Central's Chivone Weyde is hard to top at 5-2.

Worth a look: Vicky Martin, Springstead.

400-METER RUN -- Her teammates call her "Flash," which is all opponents saw of Central's Theresa Dorman as she won the county meet in 1:05.89.

Worth a look: Traci Gimbel, Springstead; Danielle Coopman, Charleta Williams, Hernando.

110-METER HURDLES -- You have to wonder where Central senior Sarah Rosario gets her energy. When she's not in class, she is at the track working on her steps.

Worth a look: Brooke Schrang, Springstead, Nikki Weaver, Central.

DISCUS -- Not even an ankle injury could keep Central's Sara Tooman down. A region qualifier last season, the sophomore threw a personal-best 104-5 in winning conference .

Worth a look: Valerie Blount, Hernando.

POLE VAULT -- Hernando's Jamie Stockton matched her school and county record with a vault of 8-6 at the Kiwanis Invitational.

Worth a look: Meghan Wakeley, Central.

JAVELIN -- Sticking with the reasoning that the discus more closely approximates the javelin than the shot put does, Tooman is the pick here.

Worth a look: Blount, Hernando.

1,500-METER RUN -- A state qualifier in the 1,600 and 3,200 relay as a freshman, Hernando's Leela Hadsock won the conference (5:43.73) and Kiwanis (5:42).

Worth a look: Kerri Costanzo, Central.

BOYS

100-METER RUN -- Despite a strained quadriceps muscle that limits his practice time, Hernando's Rod Roberts won the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference meet in 11.44 seconds and ran a personal best 11.11 against Lecanto.

Worth a look: Mike Rubino, Central; Quindon Floyd, Springstead.

LONG JUMP -- For Central's Kyle Keene, who jumped 21 feet at conference, athleticism runs in the family.

His father played basketball and ran track. His mother competed in track and soccer.

Worth a look: Floyd, Springstead; Roberts, Hernando.

SHOT PUT -- The best part about Springstead's William Wilson is his potential.

Already throwing farther than 40 feet, the 5-foot-11, 240-pound sophomore will only get bigger and stronger.

Worth a look: Mike Nelson, Central; Jonathan Gerthe, Hernando.

HIGH JUMP -- Central's Keene outperformed some of the best athletes in the state at the Florida Relays with a jump of 6-4. He won the county meet with a leap of 6-6 and cleared 6-7 in practice.

Worth a look: Floyd, Springstead; Roberts, Hernando.

400-METER RUN -- Central sophomore Paul Witiak overcame a shoulder injury from wrestling to lead county runners at the conference (57.58) and River Ridge (56.46) meets.

Worth a look: Brian Brooks, Hernando; Tadd Hale, Springstead.

110-METER HURDLES -- Not even a back injury could slow Springstead's Paul Ernandes, who ran 15.9 in the Kiwanis Invitational after a visit to a chiropractor straightened his vertebrae.

Worth a look: Mike Fitzpatrick, Central; Brooks, Hernando.

DISCUS -- Freshmen Steve Markford and Chris Sibilia-Wait of Springstead each fit the bill.

With strong work habits and perfect body styles, both have thrown farther than 127 feet.

Worth a look: Nelson, Central; Cameron Wittman, Hernando.

POLE VAULT -- Central's Lee keeps getting better.

After breaking his school record with a vault of 14-0 at the Florida Relays, the senior cleared 14-6 in the Kiwanis Invitational, third-best in the state.

Worth a look: Adam Monroe, Springstead; Logan Emerson, Hernando.

JAVELIN -- Though Florida high schools do not compete in the event, it is more similar to the discus than the shot put, giving the nod to Springstead's Markford and Sibilia-Wait.

Worth a look: Nelson, Central; Brooks, Hernando.

1,500-METER RUN -- Florida high schools run 1,600 meters, but a shorter race wouldn't seem to bother Hernando's Steve Wilkins.

He ran a personal-best 4:48 at Kiwanis and 4:49 in conference.

Worth a look: Mike Laird, Hernando; Jason Hedrick, Central.

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