By JAMAL THALJI and ROD GIPSON
© St. Petersburg Times, published April 27, 2001
SPRING HILL -- It was freezing cold. The winds were awful. The meet ran late -- way late. But for the Ridgewood girls and Springstead boys, the conclusion of Thursday night's Class 3A, District 9 was well worth the wait.
The Ram girls handily won their 13th district title, scoring 239 points while the Eagle boys defended theirs with 138 points.
The Gulf girls were second with, and the Ridgewood boys were second with 102. "We didn't have a lot of first-place finishers," Springstead coach Fred Hudson said. "It was our depth that won it for us. I guess in the end, that's what counts."
The Rams' defending state high jump champion, Shawna Luikart, won that event again (5 feet, 2 inches). Jessica Penokie won the pole vault (9-0) and the 300 intermediate hurdles (48.35). Nancy Edwards won the triple jump (34-71/2), Crystal Phillip won the discus (101-11). Jen Hayes won the 100 hurdles (15.37 seconds). Lizzy Leigh won the 1,600 (5:36.09). Lizzie Sheridan won the 3,200 (12:13), and the Rams 4x400 relay (4:19) also won first.
But the Gulf sprinters enjoyed a fine night. Anna Szwejkowska won the 100 (12.76) and Michelle Sigona came from behind to win the 200 (21.16). The 4x100 squad of Courtney Burns, Climmie Collins, Sigona and Szwejkowska defended their district title with a school-record time of 50.73. Land O'Lakes Christina Hanson won the 400 (1:01.21), and Alison Foster won the shot put (31-111/2).
Land O'Lakes' Godfrey Pestana swept the hurdles, winning the 110 (14.49) and 300 (39.45) while teammate Scott Wall won the discus (132-1).
Springstead's 4x400 relay squad of Jimmy Galyon, Michael Martinez, Sentell McDonald and Ricardo Binns won (3:38.89). Hudson's Steve Gordon won the discus (46-51/2).
Ridgewood's Jim Vitale won the 800 (2:04), 1,600 (4:20) and 3,200 (9:57). Ram teammates Kevin Brantley won the high jump (6-2) and Joe Anders the triple jump (42-81/2). -- JAMAL THALJI
TAMPA -- Throughout the regular season, Wharton established itself as a power with its boys and girls teams. As host of the Class 4A, District 5 meet, the Wildcats weren't particularly hospitable as both squads routed the competition.
However, the River Ridge boys didn't exactly roll over.
The Knights, behind John Gilmore's first-place long jump, first-place shot put and strong showing in the discus (second), River Ridge was able to solidify second.
The Wildcat boys, behind the strength of several first-place finishes in the running events, including its 3,200-meter relay team, won the district with 189 points. River Ridge was second with 91. On the girls side, the victory was equally as impressive.
The Wharton girls totaled 158 points to outdistance second-place Gaither by 65. River Ridge was sixth. -- ROD GIPSON