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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
ST. PETERSBURG - The usual suspects show up Wednesday for the Class 2A, District 9 finals. Seminole had Andrew Blazuk and Alex Metka on the boys side and Tierney Moses and Alexandra Smith for the girls. Northeast had Jessie Bardin and Megan Romano. And, of course, there was Clearwater's Clay Bullock.
But it was a wrinkle here and there that brought most of the drama. Clearwater, behind the strong performance of Bullock and three opponent disqualifications, pulled off the upset of the night as it outscored Seminole 359-353 to take its first boys title in eight years.
Seminole seemed to be in control but had two of its swimmers false start in the 500 freestyle and the 100-yard backstroke. Northeast, which finished with 347.50 points, also had a chance to win but had one of its swimmers disqualified in the 200 free relay.
Bullock led the way with another dominant performance. The senior cruised to victory in the 100 butterfly and the 500 free, winning in over five seconds in the fly and over eight seconds in the free. Bullock teamed with Adam Corbin, Zachary Lain, and Webster Cook in the 200 medley relay to finish first and with Lain, Corbin and David Lechner to take first in the 400 free.
On the girls side, Romano's absence in the individual events clearly swayed the difference in Seminole's direction as the Warhawks used their depth to claim the title. While Seminole only won four of 12 events, it took advantage of the extra swimmers in the finals and consolations.
Romano, who is headed to Colorado Springs this weekend for a mandatory event with the United States Junior Nationals team, competed only in relay events, helping Northeast take the 200 medley and 200 free relays.
Seminole had wins in the 200 IM, the 100 fly, the 100 breast and the 1 meter diving events. Danielle Jones started things for the Warhawks with a 407.25 in diving. Moses took the fly, Smith won the breast and Kristine Metka finished first in the 200 Im. But, it was second, third and fourth place finishes that proved to be the difference maker for the Warhawks.