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Wharton, Gaither earn Relay wins

By ERICA STEEBER

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 11, 2001


TAMPA -- Wharton's boys and Gaither's girls won the 26th annual Manuel-Griffin Relays Saturday at Hillsborough High. Wharton cruised to its win, outscoring second-place King by 401/2 points (100-591/2). Boca Ciega finished third with 43 points.

Conversely, Gaither squeaked to its win. It finished with 59 points, one point ahead of Riverview and two ahead of Wharton. All of the events, except the pole vault, were relays. For field events, each team's top three attempts were added to determine a team score.

The Wharton boys got first-place finishes in the triple jump (122 feet), high jump (17-6), sprint medley (1 minute, 58 seconds), 2-mile relay (8:19.75), 4x100 (43.05), distance medley relay (11:06) and 4x400 (3:24.13). Leading the way for Wharton were MVPs Alex Harris and Josh Cotton.

The Gaither girls got their victory with the help of Dara Altman, who finished first in the pole vault at 10 feet, and 2-mile relay (10:12.05).

The girls competition was tight throughout the day as Gaither, Riverview, Wharton and Tampa Bay Tech, which finished fourth with 54 points, took turns with the lead. The Hillsborough girls came from behind in the 4x100 and 4x200 to win and help them finish fifth. Lakewood senior Sharneka Brown earned MVP honors. She placed second in the long jump (16-3), ran the third leg of the 4x200 relay, ran the second leg of the winning 4x400 relay and anchored the 4x100 relay. Lakewood placed in all three relays to help it finish sixth.

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