TAMPA - Wharton put an emphatic end on a dominant performance in the Class 4A, District 5 meet, finishing the 4x400 relay in 3 minutes, 26 seconds, six seconds ahead of Chamberlain in Thursday's final event. The Wildcats easily won the championship over second-place Gaither.
Wharton got some unexpected wins, such as Jeff Johnson in the 300 hurdles (39.83). He edged Hillsborough's James Patrick at the finish, winning by .05 second.
"I've been to regionals three times in the hurdles and fallen short. I hope the third time's a charm," Johnson said, referring to next week's region meet at Palm Beach Lakes Dwyer.
Leto's Kostyantyn Fedorenko won both the 1,600 (4:36) and 3,200 (10:27). Kejuan Young also won two events, the long jump (21-2) and the triple jump (43-5).
Gaither's Doc Marshall said his win in the 100 (10.98) over Wharton's Jovan Mitchell and Clearwater's Jason Harris was "an upset."
"Everyone was talking about how fast (Mitchell) was," Marshall said. "I knew I could do it but wasn't sure. I got off to a bad start and had to push more, but I made up for it. I just kept pumping."
Marshall also was second in the 200 behind Gibbs' Rashad Etheridge (22.56). Mitchell made up for his loss in the 100 as anchor of Wharton's winning 4x100 relay team (43.19).
Durant a happy second
SARASOTA - Durant's boys "had a great night," according to Cougars coach Paul Lindstrom, but it wasn't quite good enough to win the Class 4A, District 6 meet.
Durant finished second with 92 points, 43 behind Sarasota Riverview.
Chan Poe led the Cougars, winning the long jump (21-3), the high jump (6-0), and placing second in the triple jump (42-8).
Durant's David Stratchko won the 330 hurdles (42.5) and was third in the 120 hurdles, while Fred Andrew won the 400 (51.48).
"Everybody competed real well," Lindstrom said. "We didn't have a chance to beat Sarasota Riverview tonight, but we couldn't be happier with what we did."
Riverview and Bradenton Manatee finished tied for third with 61 points, followed by Bloomingdale and Sarasota, which tied with 39.
- SCOTT PURKS
Jesuit wins big
WESLEY CHAPEL - Next stop for Jesuit: State.
The Tigers qualified a charter bus-load of athletes, maybe two, for next week's Class 2A state meet at Percy Beard Stadium in Gainesville. Jesuit won the Class 2A, Region 3 championship by 50 points Thursday night at Wildcat Stadium, winning four region titles.
The Tigers need all the help they can get to take on Miami Belen Jesuit for the 2A title.
"Everything is getting ratcheted up for next week," Jesuit coach Mike Boza said.
Eric Ballotta is ready. He won the 110-meter high hurdles with a personal best of 13.87 to beat Lake Wales standout Shelton Spears, who won the 300 intermediate hurdles in 38.30 to beat Ballotta (39.14). Ballotta then helped the 4x400 relay team of Evalio Harrell, Sean Bayode and Chris Plasencia to first (3:24.45), staving off Wesley Chapel.
The Tigers' Andy Biladeu won the 1,600 (4:20.06) and was second in the 3,200 (9:36.70). Teammate Beau Burroughs won the discus (149 feet, 11 inches) and was second in the shot put (50-9).
Robinson's Rashard Hicks won the long jump (21-91/4) and was second in the high jump (6-2) as the Knights finished sixth (35). Teammate Stanley Suber took first in the 400 (49.37).