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Eagles on sound footing

With 36 members, the Springstead High boys track and field team has proven it has a lot of one thing: depth.

"That's the thing that helped us," Eagles coach Fred Hudson said after Springstead won its own Invitational last Friday.

Now the Eagles need a lot of another thing: experience.

"That will happen as the season goes on," Hudson said, "but all in all we're pretty sound."

Springstead, which opened its season with a dual-meet victory over Hudson, proved that by scoring 114 points to beat runner-up Hernando by 38 in the seven-team invitational. Central scored 23, tying for sixth with River Ridge.

Springstead is back in action Friday, leading the Hernando County contingent in the Chasco Invitational at Gulf. As the season unfolds, here's an early look at the county's boys teams:


There are only five upperclassmen among the 25 Bears, leading Central coach Vic Cervizzi to realize this year's team will be a project.

"We're trying to rebuild the program," said Cervizzi, whose club graduated a state-meet-qualifying long jumper in current Auburn University football player Tyrone Goodson.

There's little depth in the field events, but the cupboard is not empty. Central has a 120-foot-plus discus thrower in senior Chris Gearhart, a 43-foot-plus triple jumper in Jason Munford, a 6-foot high jumper in Robert Ward, and a 12-foot pole vaulter in Rich Sopel.

Don't look for much from Central's sprinters, Cervizzi said, but the Bears do have a state meet hopeful in half-miler/miler Ricky Clarke, the school's No. 2 cross-country runner last fall. Senior Jeff Basiaga is the top state meet hope from a group of hurdlers that includes Corey Hess and Danny Reyes.

"We're just spoon-feeding them right now," Cervizzi said of a young group that last week won a freshman-sophomore meet at Citrus. "We're taking it real slow."


Hernando has strong jumpers, throwers and distance runners, and a crop of young sprinters, but the Leopards' lack of depth could catch up in high-scoring meets.

"We should be in the running, but maybe not always right at the top," Hernando coach Rodney Byrd said. "If we line up, we always have a chance."

When they do, sophomore sprinter Eric Riggins is quick off the line. He won the 200 in 22.65 seconds at the Springstead meet. Like Riggins, freshmen Leon Williams and Joe Maner will double at 100 and 200. Quarter-miler Rodney Addison, coming off the basketball season, went :53.2 last season and could be joined by football quarterback Shad Reese, while basketball player Phillip Robinson joins Ryan Winkles in the hurdles.

Mike Nicholson should be under 2:10 in the half-mile, where he's joined by Luis Gonzales. Star cross-country runners Eric Omdahl and Shawnn O'Connor will double. Omdahl placed in the state 2-mile last year; O'Connor is stronger in the mile. Other top runners are John Toombs and Andrew Malcolm.

Hernando's field contingent is led by Jarvis White, who won the long jump (21 feet, 3{ inches) and high jump (6-2) at the Springstead meet; Addison, also a long and triple jumper; pole vaulters Winkles and Bucky Lyman; discus throwers Joe Allen and Ben Ressell, and shot putter Nathan Menetre. White, a state meet qualifier in the high jump as a sophomore, is a senior who could go 6-8 this season.


As young as the Eagles are, there's plenty of quality at Springstead.

Top sprinters are returning district 100 champion (and state meet qualifier) Dominic Waddy, and Invitational 100 winner Jerry Blake (11.2). They are joined by Terry Clark and Pierre Paige on what could be one of the area's top 4x100 teams. They went 44.4 to win the Springstead meet. Others are Kyle Butler, Eugene Hicks and Rowen Suarez. Paige, also a potential sub-:40 hurdler, was the Invitational's triple jump winner at 44-9.

"To triple jump 44," Hudson said of Paige, you have to be fast."

Discus thrower Wayne Schlobohm also was an Invitational winner with a toss of 141-1{, as was half-miler Rocky Eulo (2:09.04). The rest of the field event contingent is led by discus throwers Dave Colvin and Ed Chester, who like Schlobohm is also a shot putter, and Waddy, who high jumps and long jumps. The rest of the runners are led by quarter-miler John Reddin and miler Nathan Brooks.