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Baron pulls upset to win state long jump title

SPC's Chris Davis surprises even himself in beating Dixie Hollins' Kevin Marion.

By BOB PUTNAM

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 6, 2001


CORAL SPRINGS -- With a leap of 24 feet, 1 inch in the long jump, the second-best mark in the nation this season, Dixie Hollins' Kevin Marion was the favorite to win the Class 2A state title Saturday.

Instead, Marion had to settle for being second-best. Not in the nation or state, but in his own county.

St. Petersburg Catholic's Chris Davis, who finished behind Marion at districts (second) and regionals (third), won the event with a leap of 23-11. The distance topped his personal best by 11/2 feet. "I was surprised as much as anyone," Davis said. "I really thought Marion was going to win."

Marion was in contention after jumping 23-3 on his first attempt. But others passed him after he scratched on his other attempts, all of which were more than 24 feet. Davis trailed Marion until he recorded the winning mark on his final attempt. Marion finished fifth.

"I didn't know I had jumped that far until someone told me," Davis said. "I didn't even know I won until someone yelled that out, too. It was a shock, but it was nice."

Davis, a highly recruited junior quarterback who is participating in track for the first time this season, was the only county winner. He also helped the Barons finish 13th with 20 points, the highest among Pinellas schools and the most points St. Petersburg Catholic has scored at a state meet.

"I'm very happy with everyone's performance," Baron coach Jeff Ehlert said. "We seem to keep improving every year."

Marion, meanwhile, false-started in the 100 and finished fourth in the 200 after winning his preliminary heat.

"I don't know what happened today," Marion said. "I'm a little disappointed, but I can come back."

Other top county finishers were St. Petersburg Catholic's Tony Cormier, who was fourth in the 1,600, and Clearwater Central Catholic's Kevin Lyons, who was fifth in the 3,200.

In the girls field, CCC's Apryl Wall was fourth in the 3,200 and Osceola's Kim Conaway was sixth in the 300 hurdles.

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