St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather

printer version

Falcons focus on future, not on near-miss


© St. Petersburg Times, published February 8, 2001

TAMPA -- This year's Leto boys track team couldn't beat its Class of 2000 squad, but then again, only one team did. Barely.

Last year's Falcons came within a half a point of winning the Class 3A state title, losing 52 1/2-52 to Pensacola Woodham in the meet's last event.

"One-half point ... " Leto coach Dean Robertson said. "I've thought of a thousand ways we could have made up that half-point. Man, so close. ... But now we have to move on."

This doesn't mean Leto is down, though. Far from it. Participation is up, and talent is waiting to bust out.

Leading the way are do-everything athletes Terrance McKennon and Jon Shepherd, whose best events are the hurdles.

"It's great because we have each other to compete against every day in practice," McKennon said. "At some other schools, an athlete might not have that competition at practice going for him.

"But you always have that at Leto."

You also have Robertson and five assistants teaching technique in every single event.

"We've always had a bunch of former athletes come back to practices and help out with coaching," Robertson said.

"I think everybody wants to keep the track tradition going here."

Behind all of it, and no one disputes it, is Bob Ennis, who guided Leto to nine state cross country championships but now works only a couple of days a week with the track team, mostly with the hurdlers.

"We are well aware that coach Ennis is a legend, and we have no doubt he knows what he's talking about," Shepherd said. "We listen to everything he says, and we work on it.

"Because of the coaching we get here, I wouldn't want to be any other place than Leto. I'm very proud to be a part of this program."

Robertson said he expects to be competitive with Wharton and King this season, but he might give the preseason advantage to Wharton.

"Wharton returns a bunch of athletes from last year's team, which was very good," Robertson said. "Then they got this transfer (Dwight Ellick) who won the New York state 100-meter title last season. With (Ellick), they should probably be the team to beat."

But just because Leto graduated several state title contenders -- including Mike Jenkins, who broke school records in the triple jump (47 feet, 1 inch) and 400 meters (48.79 seconds) -- don't count Leto out in 2001.

Who knows? Maybe first-year sprinter Walter Tate might break out. Or perhaps it will be sophomore distance runners Josh Salas and Coe Federenko who put up surprising winning times.

"We'll be there," McKennon said. "Leto's coaches always get the most out of their athletes."

Back to Sports
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy
Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright

From the Times sports desk

  • NBC experimenting to find right Games mix
  • A city's shame
  • 2002 Winter Olympics

  • College hoops
  • Bulls way off-target in bid for first place

  • Recruiting
  • Hands down, it's the Seminoles
  • Buckeyes had Ross in the bag
  • Knights' mining finds several defensive gems
  • Wins outweigh losses for Leavitt
  • Change of heart puts some prize in UM's surprise
  • Sign of the times? UF hopes not
  • 'Noles need help -- and get it
  • Rattlers, Wildcats bolster offensive, defensive lines
  • FAU, FIU fill up on homegrown talent
  • Armwood creates noise with 7 signees

  • Lightning
  • Cloutier sent packing
  • Lecavalier might return tonight vs. Blues

  • Bucs
  • Bucs news conference today

  • Rays
  • Lopez, Rays split the difference

  • Sports Etc.
  • Detroit businessman takes on ThunderDawgs
  • NBA briefs
  • Women's college basketball briefs
  • Female jockeys dominating at Turfway Park
  • Sports briefs
  • East Lake coach won't interview for Manatee job
  • Falcons focus on future, not on near-miss
  • Captain's corner
  • Courses will give lessons on manners
  • Love, Huston eyeing Ryder Cup
  • Golf briefs

  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts