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It's easy to miss a six-second pin

Anyone wanting to watch Don Meredith wrestle ought not blink. Such was the case Friday at the Class 3A, Region II wrestling tournament where Meredith won his first-round match by pinning Jay Butler of Ocala Vanguard in six seconds.

"My mom was in the stands," Meredith said, "and she said that before she could move two people out of the way to watch I had my hand raised in the air."

Meredith, who this month signed a letter of intent to play football for the University of North Carolina, had his hand hoisted three more times over the course of the weekend en route to an individual region title.

The Land O'Lakes heavyweight won all four matches with pins, including an 88-second decision over District 8 champion Keith Palaez of Tampa Plant in the championship round.

But none was quicker than the victory over Butler, a freshman who qualified for the region tournament from a district event that included just four entrants in the heavyweight division. (All four advanced.)

Meredith said he over-hooked Butler's head and under-hooked his arm before pulling him to the mat on his back, a move Land O'Lakes coach Charlie McBride barely saw.

"I had just sat down," McBride said. "I really don't think you can do it any faster than that."

Apparently, though, it can.

Buddy Collings, publisher of the The Florida High School Sports Record Book, said state records for quickest pin are not compiled. But according to The National High School Sports Record Book, seven prep heavyweights share the national mark for fastest fall _ four seconds.

"Four seconds?" Meredith asked with a sigh. "I couldn't even imagine that."

Clearwater named site of youth tourney

CLEARWATER _ The 1990 Little League baseball state championship will be played in Clearwater.

Charlie Harper, director of District 12 and Little Leagues from mid-Pinellas to west Pasco, announced Tuesday the state's best major league teams (ages 12-under) will play in a week-long tournament in Clearwater, starting July

30. The games will be at Misty Springs Park, home of Countryside Little League.

The state champion advances to the Southern Regional tournament in Gulfport. The winner there advances to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

Spring Hill boy a free-throw winners

CLEARWATER _ Ten youths advanced to state competition in the Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship after winning a regional event last Saturday in Clearwater.

The competition involved district representatives of five counties _ Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus.

The winners will shoot again on March

24 at Saint Leo for the state championship. Scores then will be compared to other states' competitors and national honors awarded.

Regional girls winners were: Leigh Ann Nichols (age 10), Dunedin; Kasmyene Hayes (11), Tampa; April Granholm (12), Palm Harbor; Sarah Cuni (13), Palm Harbor; Michelle Tornalene (14), Seffner. Boys winners were: David Muley (10), Tampa; Chris Kyviasis (11), St. Petersburg; Eric Wolf (12), Spring Hill; Dwayne Dobson (13), Clearwater; Louis Kelly (14), Tampa.

_ Staff writers Tim Buckley and Kevin Thomas contributed to this report.

AREA STANDOUTS

Ryan O'Connell,

Springstead, boys basketball

O'Connell scored 26 points Friday as the Eagles beat Gulf 58-56 in their final regular-season game. The senior guard became the fourth Springstead player to score 1,000 or more career points.

Leann Cornwell, Central, girls basketball

Cornwell scored a game-high 18 points as the Bears beat South Sumter 52-44 in the first round of the Class 2A, District 9 tournament _ Central's first post-season girls basketball game. In the semifinals the next night, Cornwell scored 35 points.

Regional wrestling champs

Seven North Suncoast athletes won individual championships at the Class 3A, Region II high school wrestling tournament Saturday at Auburndale: 112-pounder Travis DeWalt of Gulf, 125-pounder Zeke Casarez of Zephyrhills, 152-pounder Tim Green of Hudson, heavyweight Don Meredith of Land O'Lakes, and Springstead teammates Kevin Levija (130), John Lane (135) and Jack Dolan (145), who led the Eagles to their first region championship. DeWalt won his second region title. Casarez, Green and Meredith each remained unbeaten.

Fred Afriat, Gulf, boys soccer

Afriat came off the bench to score both Bucs goals in a 5-2 loss to Daytona Beach-Seabreeze in the 3A-Region II game Friday.

Charlotte Jones,

Ridgewood, girls basketball

Jones, a sophomore, fueled the Rams' charge to the Class 3A, District 7 girls basketball title last week. In three consecutive victories, Jones averaged 11.3 points and 6.0 rebounds.

Donnie Whillock, Citrus, baseball

Whillock, a junior, threw a one-hitter and struck out 12 as the Hurricanes beat Leesburg 6-1 in the season-opener Feb.

14. A seventh-inning outfield fly was misjudged and fell for the lone hit.

Beth Vairo, Lecanto, basketball

Vairo, a junior, came off the bench repeatedly with two of the Panthers' post players in foul trouble during the Class 2A, District 9 tournament. Vairo scored 12 points and had seven rebounds in a 65-45 win over Dunnellon, and added 10 points and nine rebounds in the title game, a 73-70 win over Wildwood.

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