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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.
NEW TAMPA - Wharton senior and first-year runner Kristin Farrell won the girls race at the Central Hillsborough Invitational in the dark Tuesday.
Her time was 24 minutes, 15 seconds. Baker Burchfield, also of Wharton, won the boys race (17:44).
King won the girls team race with a score of 36 and Wharton was close behind (37). Tampa Bay Tech scored 88 for third in a field of three teams. The other four teams invited either didn't have enough runners to score or didn't get the information about the change of location from King High to Trout Lake Park.
Wharton won the boys race with a score of 17. Chamberlain was second (38), followed by Armwood (77).
"We weren't informed of the location change and by the time we found the new place, both varsity races were over," Freedom coach Harley Shaw said. "Our sophomore girl Alyssa Franks ran the fastest time of the meet, 24:04, but because she ran with JV, it didn't count."
Wharton assistant coach Clarence Williams ran his second lineup of girls and a mixture of varsity and JV for the boys. "Both our boys and girls teams fared well today, but they left plenty of room to improve prior to the district meet," Williams said.
Farrell usually runs in the No. 6 spot for the Wildcats, but she had everything needed to beat her competition at No. 1. She said she struggled with the course in several spots, but recognized all the runners had the same struggle.
"The course was muddy and very slow," she said. "However, our coaches had been training and preparing us for any type course in the rainy season in Florida."
One of the best runners in the state also struggled with the course, but didn't complain. Burchfield placed seventh in the state last year and is a contender again. He said three of Wharton's top five were out Tuesday.
"This was one of the slowest courses I have ever run," Burchfield said. "There was a lot of mud and plenty of pot holes that caused us to stumble, but that is our sport. As a team we need to work harder before districts. There is nothing I would better see than our team win or place in the top three at state."