By KEITH NIEBUHR
© St. Petersburg Times, published April 6, 2001
CRYSTAL RIVER -- Prior to the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference championships, several coaches remarked it was "just another meet."
Two teams might disagree.
The Lecanto girls and Springstead boys had impressive showings, and each walked away with a conference title.
Lecanto, which won nine events, finished with 181 points, 32 more than Central, last year's champion.
Springstead claimed six events to finish with 1531/2 points and beat out Hernando County rivals Central (129 1/2) and Hernando (101 1/2) for the crown.
"Our times were phenomenal," Lecanto coach Freddie Bullock said.
"Absolutely phenomenal. I'm so excited about that."
The win was Lecanto's fourth at a major meet this season.
The Panthers picked up individual wins from Kylene Colasanti (300-meter hurdles), Nicole Mailloux (800 and 1,600), Kate Wheeler (high jump and 110 hurdles), Deidra Witherspoon (3,200) and Liz Witherspoon (400) and also won the 4x400 and 4x800 relays.
Mailloux and Wheeler were the only girls to win multiple individual events.
"This is a shock because we don't usually focus on wins and losses at conference," Bullock said.
Springstead's boys also won the GCAC title last season.
"We really came together as a team tonight," Eagles coach Fred Hudson said. "We had a lot of (personal records)."
Steve Ferguson led Springstead with wins in the long jump and triple jump. Jimmy Hess (pole vault), Leon Hughes (300 hurdles) and Clinton Pierce (110 hurdles) also won individual events.
The Eagles added another first-place finish in the 4x100, where they posted a season-best time of 43.59 seconds.
"This is by far our best meet (this season)," Hudson said. "We're cranking it up for districts now.
"This is a formidable field."