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Ram boys, Knight girls earn wins

By STEVE LEE

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 19, 2000


NEW PORT RICHEY -- In Wednesday's final tuneup before the Sunshine Athletic Conference meet, it looked like River Ridge and Ridgewood needed some work.

Not on their times, but on keeping their cards straight.

Four disqualifications -- two for each team -- resulting from mixups of scoring cards. But even the miscues could not put a damper on Ridgewood's first boys unbeaten season, capped by a 116-64 win. River Ridge won the girls meet 117-85.

"I know we learn by our mistakes," Rams coach Sue Vien said. "Tonight, we made them all, so we had a lot of learning going on here."

Like Vien, Royal Knights coach Athena Graham said there should not be mistakes made by swimmers filling out proper cards for their respective events or getting them turned in on time.

"We have the conference next week (the SAC meet is Oct. 27-28), so they should know that by now," Graham said.

Both coaches were forced to juggle their lineups due to the miscues. Ridgewood's Jessica Leeman and the Rams' 200 free relay team of Mike Blum, Brian Stoll, Mike Szeliga and Mike Mansfield were barred from competition. Jared Velez and Tara Jacobs were disqualified for River Ridge.

The mistakes were costly for individuals but did not alter the predicted outcome. Ridgewood's boys (8-0) and River Ridge's girls (7-1-1) were favored to win. River Ridge had only seven boys for the meet.

"I knew the depth that we had," Vien said. "Even with the mistakes that we made, we were fine."

"I am very proud of my boys," Graham said. "We just don't have the numbers."

River Ridge's Kevin Rumble, the defending state champion in the 200-yard individual medley, won that event and the 100 breaststroke and anchored two winning relay teams (200 and 400 free).

Brooks McNichols (100 free, 200 free) and Mark Lavelle (50 free, 100 backstroke) offset Rumble's effort with two victories apiece.

Lavelle also teamed up with Joe Dalia, Matt Vien and Pete Weinstein to win the 200 medley relay. That foursome finished the season with a perfect 8-0 mark in that event.

As the meet progressed and it appeared the Rams were going to win, Dalia, whose win in the 500 free gave him an 8-0 mark in that event, said,

"I think (going unbeaten) would be really cool because we've never done it before."

Lindsey Hayes paced Ridgewood's girls with two individual wins (100 free and 100 back). River Ridge's Brandy Mickey also won two events (200 IM and 200 free).

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