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Track: It's go to state or just go home

By GREG AUMAN

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 27, 2000


Today's regional meet at Central will do one of two things for athletes hoping for a trip to the state meet in Gainesville: It will validate their seasons or end them.

In each event, the top four finishers from last week's four district meets compete for four berths in the state meet.

The only athlete in the county to post the top qualifying mark in his or her event is Hernando senior Dan Brown, whose mark of 47 feet, 1 inch in the shot put last week was the best in the region by 4 inches.

Hernando's Raquel Lao has the girls second-best qualifying mark in the discus at 117-2, nearly 6 feet behind Dunnellon's Joy Long.

Central's girls have five qualifiers with top-four seeds, led by the Bears 4x100 relay of Alaya Smiley, Sharesa Scott, Tiffany Mobley and Daisha Holland. Central has the top time in its heat.

Distance runners Erin Courtney and Theresa Bergeron qualified in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters, and could advance in both. Courtney is seeded second in the 3,200 and seventh in the 1,600; Bergeron is third in the 1,600 and sixth in the 3,200. Holland, a state qualifier last year, is in position to return as the fourth seed in the 200.

The only county athlete to hold a top-four seeding in two individual events is Hernando senior Aondre Greene, who is second in the 200 meters and fourth in the 100.

One event where two county hopefuls will go head-to-head is the boys 4x800 relay. Hernando is the second seed and Central third. The relay is the Bears' only boys qualifier seeded higher than seventh and is their best shot at reaching the state meet.

Several county athletes qualified in more than one event, but the busiest today look to be Hernando's Brandon Butts, Eric Williams and Katee Lukas, who qualified in three individual events plus relays.

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