By BOB PUTNAM
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 31, 2001
|[Times photo: Michael Rondou]
Will Jones, left, and Corey Joseph work out during Gibbs' practice Tuesday. The Gladiators have several runners who run the 40 in 4.5 seconds or better and run the 100 in less than 11 seconds.
Gibbs' 4x100-meter relay team has hardly registered a blip on the state track scene.
The Gladiators foursome finished fifth at districts and did not get to compete at regionals or at state.
This season, that 4x100 team might be a blur rather than a blip.
The Gladiators are loaded with sprinters -- Cedric King, Will Jones, Ron Gibson, Fred Middlebrooks, Chris Davis, Corey Austin ... the list goes on and on.
All run the 40 in 4.5 seconds or better and run the 100 in less than 11 seconds. For Gibbs coach Anthony Givens, the biggest task is choosing only four to run the event.
The task Givens has for the four who are picked is even bigger.
He said he believes they can run the event in less than 40 seconds, a daunting task considering the state record for the 4x100 is 40.60 seconds set by Lauderdale Lakes Boyd Anderson in 1998.
"It can be done," Givens said.
Givens knows the time is fast and it might be slow to come by since most of the track team is still participating in winter sports. But once they are out, watch out.
"This has got to be the fastest team I've ever had here," Givens said.
Why the sudden turnaround, especially in one event?
"Just lots of speed," Givens said.
Actually, there was speed and talent on last season's team. It was just harder to recognize, especially toward the end of the year. Gibbs' 4x100 team stayed close behind Boca Ciega and zeroed in on beating the Pirates at districts. But three members of last season's 4x100 relay team were disciplined the day of the district meet and were not able to compete.
So Givens had to put together a makeshift lineup with King the only veteran. The group never made it past districts and King was the only one to advance to state, competing in the 100 meters.
This season, Givens expects a lot more to make it to the 3A state meet. Besides sprinters, he has talent in the field events (Benson Callier, Mike Lynche, Dustin Keseleski and Byron Jackson), hurdles (Corey Joseph) and distance events (Chris Lane and DeAngelo Woody).
All he needs is confidence.
"For so long Gibbs hasn't had much of a history in some sports," Givens said. "We're just trying to get them dedicated."
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