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Jefferson's girls continue their rise


© St. Petersburg Times, published April 21, 2001

TAMPA -- A year ago, the Jefferson's girls did not win a meet. Now they are district champions.

The host Dragons edged Lake Wales 145-125 to take the Class 2A, District 9 crown Friday. Jesuit, meanwhile, scraped by Lake Wales in the boys meet 2161/2-2091/2.

Jefferson got a solid performance from freshman Nikita Williams, who won the high jump and 400 meters and finished second in the long jump and triple jump. She also ran the anchor leg on the 4x400 relay, almost winning after starting in fourth about 30 meters back. "I never even expected to be considered for a district title," Jefferson coach Christy Phillips said. "This will be a great incentive to build an even better program."

Academy of the Holy Names (99 points) did well in the distance events to finish third. Sara Petric led the way with wins in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200. Teammate Jessica Trujillo tied for second in the pole vault and was first in the 100 hurdles and fourth in the 300 hurdles.

The story of the boys meet: Jesuit took the distance races, Lake Wales took the sprints, and they split the field events.

"Lakes Wales is fantastic, and they have tremendous athletes," Jesuit coach Mike Boza said. "We're thrilled to beat them. We only hope there will be some more sprinting talent (in regionals) to neutralize them."

The meet was neck-and-neck until the 3,200, when the Tigers, led by Colin Strickland took the top four spots. Lake Wales' win in the 4x400 relay was not enough. Jesuit also got first-place finishes from Eric Papp (discus), Mark Burgess (shot put), Tai Tai Egon (triple jump) and John Atrab (800).

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