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Hernando, Central hope run of good luck goes on


© St. Petersburg Times, published April 19, 2001

BROOKSVILLE -- After two months of preparation, track season opens in earnest today. The road to next month's state competition in Coral Springs begins with the Class 2A, District 6 meet at Central.

Six schools are in the field, including Hernando and the host Bears, and the top four finishers in each event advance to next week's regional. That's not to say there's not something on the line today, as Hernando's boys go for their third straight district crown and Central's girls seek their fourth consecutive.

"We've beaten all the teams consistently all year long," said Central coach Vic Cervizzi. "I don't like being the favorite, and I'd rather be the underdog, but it all really depends on who shows up to perform."

There's some pre-meet maneuvering going on between Cervizzi and Hernando coach Rodney Byrd. Consider the 800 meters, perhaps the Bears' strongest event.

"I'm shooting for all four slots," said Cervizzi, who could pull it off with the quick quartet of Trever Scales, Ted Aquino, Joel Crandall and Adam Dixon. Each has run the event in 2:09 or better.

Byrd is countering, however, by shifting his lineup with the hopes of keeping the Bears from getting their maximum points in the 800. Sprinter Eric Williams, who normally runs in the 4x400, will be in the 800, as will distance runner John Emerson, a district favorite in the 3,200 meters.

"I knew Vic was loaded in the 800, so I'm trying to eliminate him getting all the points there," Byrd said. "I think he's got the numbers on me, but it's a numbers game. I've tried to create some numbers for us also. You find a point here, a point there."

Among the best events to watch: Central's Jerry Daniels and Hernando's Derrick Mobley in the 100 meters; Hernando's Emerson against Mitchell's Danny Sheehan; and Hernando's Gabe Boze against Central's Bobby Vasquez in the discus. On the girls' side, Central should be in good position for another district crown. The Bears' strength again is depth. In last year's meet, there were two Central athletes among the four qualifiers in nine of the 14 individual events, with 17 total athletes moving on to the regional. Those lucky enough to advance will be back at the same track, on the same day, at the same time next week, with the top four competitors from three other districts joining them for the Region 2 meet at Central. The district alignment has changed enough from last year that Hernando hasn't competed against two of the five teams it will go up against today. More than anything else, Hernando and Central have remained district opponents, which only adds to the rivalry.

"The kids, they want that championship," Byrd said. "I don't have to tell them."

* * *

Class 2a, District 6 track meet

WHEN: Today. Field events start at 1 p.m., 4x800 relay at 1:30. Rest of events begin at 4 p.m.

WHERE: Central High School.

WHO: Central, Hernando, Mitchell, Pasco, South Sumter, Wesley Chapel.

COST: Admission is $4 per person.

NEXT UP: The top four finishers in each event advance to next week's Region 2 meet at Central, which combines the winners of four district meets.


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