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Osceola grad learning college mental game

Chris McClure, the Times' all-Pinellas quarterback in 1988, has been given a shot at starting at Livingston (Ala.) University and he's making the most of it. In the Oct.20 game with Delta State, the Osceola graduate connected on 17-of-35 passes for 229 yards, including a 37-yard touchdown. Livingston lost 36-18 after leading 10-0 in the first quarter. McClure was sacked six times in the second half and had an interception.

"This is a lot more of a mental game," McClure said, comparing high school to college ball. "And the players are bigger and hit harder. But I'm glad I chose Livingston. It's a small college with small classes and you get to know your professors."

Head coach Sam McCorkle of Livingston sees certain qualities in his redshirt freshman quarterback and predicts he'll be one of the best in the Gulf South Conference before he graduates.

"Chris is confident and gritty beyond his years," McCorkle said. "Because of his competitiveness, the players really rally around him. He's not afraid to block, either. Chris has a good attitude, a sense of humor and he's a lot of fun to be around. Every game he's going to get better. All he has to do to improve is take his time after he comes out from under the center, come off his first read and check out his second and third priority receivers."

Livingston is 3-5. The Tigers won the NAIA national championship in 1971.

Matt Lance, a reserve wide receiver at Livingston, was a teammate of McClure's at Osceola High. They are college roommates.

More football news: David Collins, out of Largo High, broke the Culver-Stockton (Mo.) College record for field goals when he connected on kicks of 25, 26, 33 and 46 yards in a 18-13 win over Nazarene College. The old record, set in 1925, was three field goals. Collins' longest at Largo Packers was 51 yards ... Another Largo graduate, sophomore Ches Salyer, is the leading receiver in the Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (Division I-AA) with 45 catches for 562 yards. He plays for Southeast Missouri State (5-3). His longest catch has gone for 70 yards. He has four TDs ... Northeast graduate Tim Ware, a starting wide receiver at Wisconsin, had his best game of the season Saturday in a 44-34 loss to Northwestern. He had seven receptions for 193 yards and two TDs ... Tony Gentilcore, an all-Pinellas first-team linebacker for Largo last year, is starting at middle linebacker for Southwest Mississippi Community College. "He's very physical, very coachable and we're pleased to have him," head coach Larry Kinslow said ... Bryan Layky, a sophomore out of Clearwater Central Catholic, is a backup wide receiver at Troy State.

Volleyball: Florida Southern's volleyball team, with Cheryl McQuown leading the way, has run off 28 straight wins.

McQuown was the Times' Player of the Year in 1989 at Clearwater High and earned all-state honors. McQuown, 6 feet 2, started for the Mocs on Tuesday when they defeated the University of Tampa. Florida Southern is ranked fifth in the NCAA Division II poll.

"It's great being ranked so high," McQuown said in a telephone interview, "but it's also scary because everyone is out to beat you, more so than even at Clearwater High. But we're like a family here, one big victorious family."

Hiedi Smith, another member of the Times' all-county first team in 1988 at Keswick Christian, is the starting setter for Bethel College in St. Paul, Minn. "She's a team leader ... the spark plug," coach Bernice Jones said.

Cross country: Karen Hourigan led Emory University's women's team to victory in the recent Emory Invitational. A Clearwater Catholic graduate, she finished fourth in 20:28. Clearwater High graduate Lynette Robbins was second overall in 20:14 for the 3-mile distance. She runs for Samford, which finished second among five teams.

Liam Quinn, an all-county runner at Largo in 1988, is running for Troy State, Ala.

Paul Waldron, a St. Petersburg Catholic graduate who later ran for FSU, placed third (1 hour, 21 minutes) in the recent Governor's Cup 25-kilometer road race in Columbia, S.C. Waldron, who lives in Tallahassee, placed second in the Bay to Bay race in St. Petersburg last May.