New winners emerge

Published April 4, 2007

An added element of intrigue greeted participants at the Hernando County Athletic Conference championships with the absence of two of the top boys competitors. Neither Springstead jumper Ethan Selph nor Central sprinter DuJuan Harris participated, meaning a slew of events normally locked up by the duo were suddenly up for grabs.

In the end, the Hernando boys rode the strength of their distance runners to a 101-point showing, giving them an easy margin of victory over the rest of the field. On the girls side, Springstead eked out a three-point win over second-place Central.

Jeff and Jason Haynes, twin seniors at Springstead, benefited the most from the absences. Jeff placed second in the triple jump with a mark of 38-08, while Jason won the long jump and triple jump and placed second in the 100 meters. Harris usually participates in all four events, while Selph participates in the long and triple jumps.

"There would have been more competition," Jason said.

Both Selph and Harris are expected to participate in district meets, which begin next week.

Central thrower Jessie Hartman won both the shot put and the discus.

On the girls side, Hernando's Gina Potito won four events: the long jump, high jump, 100-meter hurdles and 300 hurdles. Nature Coast freshman Danielle Doucet followed a strong showing at the Kiwanis Invitational by winning three events: 100, 200, and 400.

But perhaps the best story of the day was George Fribley, who extended the best five-day stretch in his athletic life. The Hernando junior won the 100 and placed second in the 200 and triple jump.

That followed a Friday that may go down in Hernando County lore: at the Kiwanis Invitational at Hernando High, Fribley placed second in the 100 and was part of the Leopards' first-place 4x100 squad. After he was done with the 4x100, he walked to the baseball field and suited up in the outfield for the Leopards, who were hosting Gulf. He hit a grand slam that jump-started an 8-1 Hernando victory.

"It had to be the most exciting day in sports for me," Fribley said.

A leadoff hitter, Fribley had never hit a home run in a high school game before Friday.

"As soon as I hit it, I heard the ground go, 'Ohhhh. . . .," Fribley said. "So I started doing my Sammy Sosa trot."

David Murphy can be reached at dmurphy@sptimes.com or 352 848-1407.