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South Sumter wins title again

By KEITH NIEBUHR

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 5, 2001


BUSHNELL -- There were few surprises at the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference meet, and that was a good thing as far as South Sumter was cornered.

The Raiders took first in three classes, second in three more and, as many expected, won their second consecutive conference title by finishing with 52 points.

Central, which had one winner, was second with 44 points while Citrus, with three winners, was third with 40, followed by Springstead (25), Lecanto (24), Hernando (21) and Crystal River (14).

"It really came out the way we thought it would," South Sumter coach Rusty Irby said.

The Raiders picked up wins from Don Gavin (154 pounds), Ben Moffit (219) and Nathan Seay (heavyweight) and qualified three more lifters for the April 21 Class A state meet in Bell, giving them 15 total.

South Sumter improved to 3-0 against Central and 1-1-1 against Citrus.

Central's lone win was at 119, where Viet Lam posted a 420-pound total to win his division by 60 pounds.

The Bears earned second-place finishes at 129 (Chris Dyer), 199 (Jerry Daniels) and heavyweight (T.J. Hedick) and increased their number of state qualifiers to 11 by qualifying three more. "We were the only school to place (top six) in every event, so I was happy about that," Central coach Mark Griffith said.

Citrus, hurt by the loss of two lifters recently suspended for the season, got wins from defending state champion Jordan Darga (169), Clayton Swearingen (183), whose 525-pound total was a personal best, and Greg Haight (199).

"I can't say enough about Greg Haight," Citrus coach Jonny Bishop said. "He's often overlooked, but he's been steady for two years."

Warren Hendry (129) of Springstead, Harold Skidmore of Lecanto (139) and Sam Forrester (238) of Hernando were the other winners.

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