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2000 Track preview team by team
By JAMAL THALJI
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 27, 2000
BOYS COACH: Bill Linderman.
TOP ATHLETES: Jeff James, Sr., (100 High Hurdles, 300 hurdles); Ryan McCarthy, Sr., (100, 200, 400, 800, 1,600, LJ, TJ); Jason McCue, Sr., (Discus, SP); Adam Vitter, Sr., (Discus, SP).
OUTLOOK: Most of the Bucs' points will come from a solid group of seniors competing in multiple events and bolstered by a talented but very raw squad. The team will be strong in the throws and the hurdles. The defection of Eric Dieters, a returning state qualifier now at Ridgewood, hurts Gulf in the distance events.
GIRLS COACH: Dean Lofton.
TOP ATHLETES: Carmen Brown, Sr., (100, 200, 400, LJ, TJ, HJ, Discus, SP); Barbara Carr, Jr., (800, 1,600, 3,200); Dawn Selvidge, So., (100 High Hurdles, 300 Hurdles).
OUTLOOK: With more than 30 athletes coming out, the Bucs are one of the county's deepest teams. A core of very talented upperclassmen, including a returning state qualifier in Carr, makes the Bucs even more potent. The question is, can Gulf knock off Ridgewood?
* * *
BOYS COACH: Sheri Linderman.
TOP ATHLETES: Matt Cox, Sr., Discus, SP); Matt Devine, Sr., (100, 200, 400); Jason Kirby, Sr. (100, Discus, Pole Vault); Jason Runyon, Jr., (Discus, SP).
OUTLOOK: Hudson will be deep but inexperienced with underclassmen. The field events will be a strength, and the Cobras have a lot of potential in the sprints. But graduation has depleted the distance runners. "I've almost doubled my team from last year with 29 kids," Linderman said. "I'm really excited."
GIRLS COACH: Keith Taylor.
TOP ATHLETES: Michelle Hurtado, Sr., (3,200; 4x800); Erica Schultz, Jr., (100, 100 High Hurdles, 300 Hurdles); Amber Swaim, Sr., (Discus, SP, Pole Vault); Renee Vainisi, So., (200, 4x800, HJ, TJ).
OUTLOOK: The Cobras' star, Crystal Videgar, is gone. Freshmen and sophomores make up three-fourths of the team. The word rebuilding comes to mind. "Oh yeah, that's the key word," Taylor said. "That's 75 percent of the team new to high school track. It should be fun."
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LAND O'LAKES GATORS
BOYS COACH: Allen Claggett.
TOP ATHLETES: Jason Carpenter, Jr., (Discus, SP); Chris Clark, So., (100, 200, 400); Scott Habershaw, Jr., (1,600, 3,200); Godfrey Pestana, Jr., (4x100, 4x400, 110 High Hurdles, 300 Hurdles); Robert Schatzman, Sr., (1,600, 3,200); Scott Wall, Jr., (Discus, SP).
OUTLOOK: The distance events will be favorable to the Gators, with Habershaw back and gaining strength after breaking his ankle over the summer. The end of soccer and basketball season will boost the sprints. The hurlers will be strong, but with just 22 boys, the team won't have enough to cover every event. The jumps also are a weakness.
GIRLS COACH: Harold "Rock" Ridgeway.
TOP ATHLETES: Kara Garcia, Jr., (Discus, SP); Erin Lesli, Sr., (100, 200, 4x100); Liz Racker, Jr., (Discus, SP); Rachel Rigalla, So., (100, 200, 4x100, LJ, TJ); Emily Sarginger, Jr., (100, 200, 4x100, LJ).
OUTLOOK: Land O'Lakes doesn't have depth or experience. What Ridgeway has is a small but dedicated group of about 15 girls. The Gator 4x100 relay team could be a surprise. Land O'Lakes also could use a pole vaulter if anyone out there wants to apply for the job.
* * *
BOYS COACH: Raven Lewis.
TOP ATHLETES: Ben Alford, Fr., (1,600, 3,200, Pole Vault); Dustin Ballard, Jr., (800, 1,600, 3,200); Keymo Pearson, So., (HJ, TJ); Donnie Woods, Fr., (Discus, SP).
OUTLOOK: Norman Graham and Roosevelt Miller won't be around to carry the Pirates anymore. The team needs a lot more than just sprinters. Lewis is pleased with the character of his squad and expects Ballard to be a leader this season. Pearson is one of the county's top jumpers, and Woods will be an intriguing newcomer to the throws.
GIRLS COACH: Brian Woods.
TOP ATHLETES: Zynara Chapman, Fr., (Discus, SP); Shamara "Shorty" Craig, Jr., (100, 200, 4x100); Danielle Hill, Fr., (100, 200, 4x100, LJ); Shareece Jackson, So., (100, 200, 4x100); Sarah James, Sr., (100, Pole Vault); Jessica Robinson, Jr., (100 High Hurdles, 300 Hurdles); Amber Stinyard, Sr., (100, 200, 4x100, LJ, TJ).
OUTLOOK: Pasco lacks depth. But while it lacks numbers, talent is everywhere. James is the overwhelming favorite to vault to a state title. The 4x100 squad needs to be rebuilt. Chapman, Hill and Jackson are among the county's top newcomers.
* * *
BOYS COACH: Glenn Cable.
TOP ATHLETES: Joey Anders, Jr., (HJ); Sean Bean, Jr., (300 Hurdles); Chris Bopp, Sr., (110 High Hurdles); Eric Dieters, Sr., (400, 800, 1,600); Rory Hart, Sr., (110 High Hurdles, 300 Hurdles); Robbie Luka, Sr., (LJ); Brad Williams, Sr., (800, 1,600, 3,200); Matt Johnston, Sr., (800); Shaun Kapp, Jr., (Pole Vault); Jim Vitale, Jr., (1,600, 3,200); Jon Woods, Sr., (800).
OUTLOOK: If Ridgewood has a weakness, it's rebuilding a strong pole vault squad. Otherwise, the Rams are loaded in every event. The county's strongest and deepest team has it all: sprinters, distance runners, hurdlers and hurlers. The 4x800 team should be among the state's best, and Ridgewood wants to put a regional title on its mantle.
GIRLS COACH: Sue Vien.
TOP ATHLETES: Nancy Edwards, Jr., (HJ, LJ, TJ, 100 Hurdles); Katie Halkitis, Sr., (Pole Vault); Meaghan Keane, Jr., (800); Lizzy Leigh, Jr., (400, 800); Sara Mercer, Sr., (3,200); Jessica Penokie, Jr., (100 Hurdles, 300 Hurdles); Sarah Shields, Sr., (800, 4x800, Pole Vault); Tyler Webber, Sr., (300, 100 Hurdles, 300 Hurdles).
OUTLOOK: See above. The Rams are as strong, if not stronger, than their male counterparts and boast 48 girls. Deep and experienced in every event, it would be an upset if any team but Ridgewood wins the Class 3A, District 6 and Sunshine Athletic Conference meets. The pole vault also will be fun to watch as Halkitis battles Pasco's James.
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RIVER RIDGE ROYAL KNIGHTS
BOYS COACH: Brian Colding.
TOP ATHLETES: Richard Eagly, Jr., (400, 4x100, 4x400); Adam Eberle, So., (Discus, SP); John Gilmore, So., (100, 200, 4x100); Vladimir Luna, Jr., (800, 1,600, 3,200); Brett Newland, Jr., (400, 800, 4x800); Danny Sheehan, Fr., (1,600, 3,200); Mike Tubolino, Jr., (100, 200, 4x100, LJ, TJ).
OUTLOOK: River Ridge is deep but young with a slew of freshmen and sophomores boosting the turnout to about 50 -- the highest in recent years. The distance events won't be as strong as last season, though the field events will be solid. The pole vault is a work in progress. The Knights hope to give the Rams a scare. GIRLS COACH: David Heywood.
TOP ATHLETES: Kalyn Kinnard, Fr., (100, 200, 4x100, LJ); Emily Ollivier, So., (Discus, SP); Monica Petrini, Jr., (100, 200, 4x100); Jessica Verga, Jr., (400, 4x100, 4x800, HJ, TJ); Kim Verga, Sr., (4x800, 4x400, 300 Hurdles, LJ); Melissa Verga, Sr., (4x400, 4x800, Pole Vault); Emily Wilbanks, Sr., (800, TJ).
OUTLOOK: The Royal Knights will field one of the county's largest teams. Depth will be an advantage, but experience won't with three seniors, seven juniors and 30 underclassmen on the roster. Speed is a strength, but the field events need work. "Everyone's going to be learning this season," Heywood said, "which makes it a more fun season to me."
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WESLEY CHAPEL WILDCATS
BOYS COACH: Tony Lister.
TOP ATHLETES: Robbie Brill, So., (800, 300 Hurdles); Matt Harden, Jr., (TJ, Discus, SP); Spencer Honeycutt, So., (400, 4x400); Kenny "Junior" Roberts, So., (400, 800); Scott Sorensen, Jr., (400, 800, 1,600, 3,200).
OUTLOOK: The names on the Wildcats' roster should look familiar. The same football and basketball standouts form the core of yet another talented but inexperienced team. The youngest team in the county hopes to excel in the sprints and the relays, and Greg Harrison's return from torn knee ligaments will boost the sprints.
GIRLS COACH: Anne Wagner.
TOP ATHLETES: Melissa Domenech, So., (1,600, 3,200); Ashley Martin, So., (Discus, SP); Jennifer Robinson, So., (Discus, SP).
OUTLOOK: Girls teams have lagged far behind their male counterparts at Wesley Chapel this season, and the track team is no exception. A turnout of just 14 leaves the team lacking in every respect with just a few standout hurlers.
* * *
BOYS COACH: John McDougall.
TOP ATHLETES: Troy Barter, So., (800, 1,600, HJ); Drew Barthel (800, 1,600, 3,200) Tim Dykins, Sr., (400, 4x400, LJ, TJ); Mike Hazell, Sr., (800, 1,600, 4x800); Richard Kazbour, So., (800, 4x400, 4x800, LJ); Jerry Mitchell, Sr., (400, 4x400, 4x800).
OUTLOOK: The Bulldogs are still struggling to attract numbers but have always managed to squeeze a lot out of a little. The jumps and distance events will be kind, but the rest is up to several underclassmen. More could join the team later this season, which can only help.
GIRLS COACH: Robin Wilks.
TOP ATHLETES: Kristen Benedini, So., (800, 3,200, 4x800); Mary Katherine Mason, Jr., (Discus, SP); Pam Moses, Sr., (400, 800, 4x800, HJ); Tricia Westerfeld, Sr., (800, 1,600, 4x800).
OUTLOOK: Graduation depleted the sprinters and hurdlers. The team returns a core strong in the distance events. Wilks' best hope is that her new members quickly pick up the pace. Mason will be one of the county's top hurlers. Moses is a formidable runner.
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