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Track and field: Lakewood boys 4x400 team delivers shivers

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Sat. February 23, 2013 | Bob Putnam | Email

ST. PETERSBURG — Through 16 events, Lakewood’s boys electrified the crowd at the St. Petersburg Championship meet by sprinting or leaping past their competitors.

But the Spartans might have outdone themselves in the 17th and final event, the 4x400 relay. Lakewood’s four runners — Shaquill Griffin, Rodney Adams, Shaquem Griffin and Devontae Persha — surged so far ahead of the field that the final 50 meters elicited nothing but awe.

Persha, the anchor leg, ran hard through the finish, nearly lapping another relay team, to help the Spartans win in 3:21.89. They were 17 seconds faster than Gibbs, their closest competitor.

And to think, Lakewood might have gone faster.

Persha filled in for Tim Holmes, who left the meet early to get ready for a college visit.

“We’ve got a lot of depth with this team,” Lakewood coach Anthony Snead said.

Snead put those numbers to good use as the Spartans cruised to the team title with 174 points, beating the Gladiators by 82.

Lakewood’s 4x100 relay of Shaquem Griffin, Shaquill Griffin, Deandre Boykins and Darquez Watson also won in 41.21. The times the Spartans ran in the 4x100 and 4x400 relay are tops in the nation, according to Milesplit.

Before leaving, Holmes won the 110 hurdles (14.55), 300 hurdles (40.33) and 400 (48.18). Persha won the 800 (2:03.13), Shaquem Griffin took first in the long jump (23-8) and Shaquill Griffin was a champion in the triple jump (47-2).

Gibbs’ Trayvon Bromell, a sprint specialist, won the 100 (10.72) and 200 (21.76). At the end of the 200, Bromell’s hamstring started to tighten up. Gladiators coach Anthony Givins said the injury was not severe.

On the girls side, Lakewood outscored Northside Christian 91-83 for the title. The Spartans were strong in the sprints with Erika Allen winning the 100 (26.47) and Sharell Keys taking first in the 200 (12.87). Ashlee Funderburk was Lakewood’s other champion in the triple jump (33-2).

Admiral Farragut’s Brittany McGee dominated as an individual, winning the long jump (17-8, high jump (5-4), 100 hurdles (15.20) and 300 hurdles (46.44)..

McGee’s time in the 300 hurdles set a personal record and is the fastest in the state according flrunners.com.

“I pushed a lot in the 300 hurdles, and that helped me,” McGee said. “It’s only the third time I’ve been able to run the event in high school.”

St. Petersburg’s Alex Eaton was only other champion in multiple events among girls. She won the 1,600 (5:30.03) and 3,200 (11:26.53).

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