By BOB PUTNAM
© St. Petersburg Times, published April 12, 2001
After losing seven point-scorers to graduation, including Ross Theriault and Ben Taylor, who are both running in college, it appeared St. Petersburg Catholic was headed for an uneven season.
Still, despite lacking depth and having just three seniors, Barons coach Jeff Ehlert said he knew there was enough talent to be successful. The talent was on display last week at the All-Catholic meet at Jesuit. Although St. Petersburg Catholic missed out on the team title, it won seven events, more than any team. Two of St. Petersburg Catholic's athletes, Chris Davis and Matt Murdock, performed so well they ended up battling each other for MVP honors.
Davis, the quarterback of the football team who is participating in track for the first time, won the long jump with a personal best of 22 feet, 91/2 inches, was second in the triple jump and 400 and was part of the winning 4x400 relay.
Murdock won the 200 and 400 and also was on the 4x400 team. Ehlert said he decided Davis should get MVP honors because he competed in one more event than Murdock.
While his decision was tough, it is a nice problem for Ehlert and the Barons to have. The addition of Davis, along with a few talented freshmen, has allowed Ehlert to plug in holes left by those who graduated.
The results have shown. Besides winning seven events at the All-Catholic meet, the Barons also ran a personal best 8 minutes, 13 seconds in the 4x800 relay for second place.
"We started the season slow, but I expected this group to be pretty good," Ehlert said. "The last couple of weeks, we've really started to come together. The only thing we're lacking is depth."
The depth of last year's team was vital to St. Petersburg Catholic winning the Osceola Relays, the Catholic Conference Invitational, the Northside Christian Invitational and the Class 2A, District 10 meet. The loss of so many scorers is a big reason the Barons have not won a meet this season despite winning so many events.
Still, there is enough talent to overcome those odds when St. Petersburg Catholic hosts the Class 2A, District 10 meet April 19.
"We still have the top guys," Ehlert said. "We should be one of the favorites."
TWO OF A KIND: Unlike the All-Catholic meet, the Pinellas County Athletic Conference meet does not choose an MVP. If there were one, it would be hard to pick between Lakewood's Dermillo Wise and Dixie Hollins' Kevin Marion.
Wise won the triple jump, the 110 and 300 hurdles and was part of the winning 4x400 relay as he helped the Spartans dethrone three-time defending champion Seminole. Marion won the long jump, 100 and 200 in helping the Rebels place fifth, their best showing in many years.
Long jump -- Marion (DH) 23-91/2, Davis (SPC) 22-91/2, Wise (Lw) 22-7; Triple jump -- Wise (Lw) 46-0, Davis (SPC) 44-31/2, Stewart (Lw) 43-43/4; High jump -- Rodriguez (BC) 6-8, Rudge (Kes) 6-6, Corbin (Lar) 6-2; Pole vault -- Pakus (Sem) 13-6, Ramos (BC) 13-0, Peterson (SP) 12-6; Discus -- Butcher (AFA) 153-3, Hunter (BC) 150-0, Butler (Osc) 143-4; Shot put -- Tyson (Ne) 52-101/2, Jackson (Dun) 51-4, Kirchmann (AFA) 47-10; 4x800 -- St. Petersburg Catholic 8:13, Largo 8:25.66, Lakewood 8:38.23; 110 hurdles -- Wise (Lw) 14, Paschal (Lar) 15.4, Soloman (PP) 15.4, Morton (EL) 15.4, Corbin (Lar) 15.4; 100 -- Marion (DH) 10.7, Stempuzis (Sc) 10.7, Mott (Lw) 10.8; 1600 -- Cormier (SPC) 4:30.73, Bauer (Lar) 4:31.36, Lyons (CCC) 4:35; 4x100 -- Gibbs 43.03, Lakewood 43.09, Seminole 43.49; 400 -- Murdock (SPC) 51.0, Rodriguez (BC) 51.56, Dakoski (PHU) 51.82; 300 hurdles -- Wise (Lw) 40.7, Lashley (Lw) 40.2, Corbin (Lar) 41.14; 800 -- Cormier (SPC) 2:02, Timm (Lar) 2:05.09, Bauer (Lar) 2:06; 200 -- Marion (DH) 21.7, Davis (Gi) 22.3, Mott (Lw) 22.3; 3200 -- Lyons (CCC) 9:47.03, Bauer (Lar) 10:00.47, Craig (SPC) 10:04; 4x400 -- Lakewood 3:29.79, Boca Ciega 3:33, SP Catholic 3:33, St. Petersburg 3:36.