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Blue Jackets' depth helps team keep up

Admiral Farragut's athletes won't take first place in many events, but the team is still winning some meets.

By BOB PUTNAM

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 29, 2001


A Naval Honor School, Admiral Farragut always has had strong runners.

This year is no different.

John Biffar was the Times All-County Cross Country Runner of the Year.

Biffar now is helping the track team with his skills. The only problem is there's Biffar, and ... well ... not much after that when it comes to distance runners.

Still, the Blue Jackets have not skipped a beat and are performing well with newfound depth in other areas.

"Actually, we have a lot of good throwers, hurdlers and jumpers," Admiral Farragut assistant coach Matt Lameyer said. "That's where our strength is. It is a little change of pace."

The balance paid off when the Blue Jackets won the Northside Invitational last weekend with 160 points, beating out runner-up Indian Rocks Christian (113).

Biffar was strong in the distance races, winning the 1,600 and 3,200. He claimed two of Admiral Farragut's three first-place finishes.

However, the team was helped out more by second- and third-place finishes in the field events, sprints and hurdles.

Adam Butcher, a football signee with UCF, competes in the discus and the shot put. He is helped out by Andres Kirchmann, another lineman who does the shot put.

Brown Charite has jumped more than 20 feet in the long jump and more than 40 feet in the triple jump. In addition, he does the 110 and 300 hurdles. Andrew Duff also competes in the hurdles. "We knew we could do well, but we certainly didn't think we'd do that well," Lameyer said of the Northside Invitational. "It's nice to know we can do it."

LONG ON JUMPERS: The long jump is rapidly becoming the most competitive in the county with three jumpers -- Dixie Hollins' Kevin Marion, Lakewood's Dermillo Wise and St. Petersburg Catholic's Chris Davis -- recording jumps that are among the best in the state.

Marion owns the state's best mark at 23 feet, 91/2 inches. Wise has jumped 22-7 and Davis 22-3. Keswick Christian's Reed Rudge isn't too far behind at 21-4.

FLORIDA RELAYS: Most teams did not have a rest this week.

First, there was the Ed Wells/Kiwanis Invitational (boys only) and the Seminole Rotary (girls only), which were Tuesday.

Now it's the Florida Relays, which start today for Class A and 2A and Friday for Class 3A and 4A.

With athletes from around Florida competing, the meet is the best chance for teams and individuals to get a gauge on how they will fare at the state meet.

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