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Lakewood's Shaquem Griffin prevails at Florida Relays

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Sat. April 7, 2012 | Joey Knight | Email

Lakewood's Shaquem Griffin prevails at Florida Relays

Lakewood junior Shaquem Griffin, whose triumph over a birth defect was the subject of a Times story earlier this week, won the boys triple jump Saturday at the 68th annual Pepsi Florida Relays at the University of Florida.

Griffin's winning effort (47-5.25) outdistanced -- among others -- twin brother Shaquill, who placed fourth (45-6.25). The performance highlighted a prosperous day for Shaquem -- who has no left hand -- as well as his sibling and a handful of other Spartans.

"It kind of surprised me because I was seeded seventh," Shaquem said. "To come out with a win felt pretty good."

The Griffins later teamed with Quin'tavius Mitchell and Jevaris Little to place seventh in the boys 4x100 relay (42.64 seconds). Early Saturday evening, they joined Raymon Cleveland and Tim Holmes to place third in the boys 4x400 (3:22.08) despite a shaky exchange from Shaquill to Shaquem between the second and third legs.

"A team kind of got in front of us," Shaquem said. "They were in the wrong lane when we were exchanging batons and my brother ran through them. The baton kind of dropped out of his hands and I caught it and we kept running. ... I think if we wouldn't have had that bad exchange we would've come in first or second."

The two-day event attracted thousands of high school competitors -- most of them from the South -- as well as collegians and international participants.

Elseshwere Saturday, the Steinbrenner High junior quartet of Tanner Biles, Tyler Lima, Zach Lima and Matt Magee won the boys 4x1,600-meter relay. Jesuit senior Nick Medich won the boys high jump with a 6-foot-4 effort, edging Springstead sophomore Bobby Harris, among others.

The Warriors finished in 18:14.60, four seconds better than runner-up Winter Park Trinity Prep and 16 ahead of third-place Plant. The Panthers girls 4x1,600 team -- Kara Halfaker, Julia Rodriguez, Caroline Gibson and Scarlett Fox -- placed third.

Other notable locals included Alonso junior Quatasia Fantroy, who finished fourth in the girls triple jump with a personal-best effort (37-3) for her second top-six finish of the weekend. Fantroy placed sixth Friday in the girls long jump (17-8.25).

Plant's county champion girls 4x800 relay team -- Gibson, Fox, Caroline Bado and Emory Pitisci -- finished sixth (9:34.45), as did the Northside Christian boys foursome of Lucio and Mario Ojeda, Mathew Montenari and Joe Chapman.

Live results can be found here.

Times photo by Dirk Shadd

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