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Shorecrest finds success in relays

Published April 30, 2004

GAINESVILLE - Samantha Specht came down with the flu at last week's region meet and ran a less-than-stellar leg on Shorecrest's 4x400 relay team.

As a result, the Chargers finished behind Keswick and lost the team title by a point.

Specht, a seventh-grader, made up for that performance in a big way at the Class A state meet Thursday.

She teamed with Emma Boston, Pavendeep Birk and Erin McClenthan to help Shorecrest finish sixth in the 4x400. The four set a school record, finishing in 4 minutes, 17.35 seconds to top the previous mark by two seconds.

"I think we all had a lot more confidence this week," Specht said. "I've had pulled muscles and a runny nose the past two weeks. But we all focused on this race and came together."

Shorecrest also did well in other relays.

The 4x800 team of Cori Morris, Casey Evans, Birk and Boston took fifth in 10:07.58. The 4x100 team of Natalie Bryant, Tayler Tremaine, Chrissy Mastry, Jenna Kesty was sixth (52.21).

Kesty, who twisted her ankle at last year's region meet and was unable to compete in the 100 hurdles at state, finished seventh in the event (16.18).

By placing in the top eight in four events, the Chargers scored 12 points to finish 18th, highest among county girls teams.

"We have a young team and some of the girls are new to this," said Shorecrest coach Jeff Raab, who returns all but two athletes.

"But a lot of them surprised me by running really great."

The most noticeable nonparticipant was Indian Rocks Christian's Melissa Kotchman. The sophomore, who finished second in the 1,600 last season, had the flu this week and was too weak to run.

Nevertheless, Kotchman attended Thursday's meet in hopes of watching her sister, Brittany, and brother, Matt, both of whom qualified for the first time.

Only problem was she came too late.

"I just missed them by a hour," Kotchman said. "It took everything I had to be here. But I wanted to be here with my team and my family."

Admiral Farragut's Melissa Defabrizio was the other county girl to place. She cleared 7 feet, 6 inches to finish eighth in the pole vault.

[Last modified April 30, 2004, 01:05:39]

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