1. Archive

After recount, Rams boys win at Panther Invitational

Glenn Cable walked across Lecanto's field where moments earlier it had been announced his Ridgewood boys track team finished second at the Panther Invitational. He headed toward the team bus where his athletes awaited their coach and the long drive home.

The drive got shorter when Cable got to the bus and spread the news: There was a miscount. Ridgewood, and not Lecanto, had captured the team championship.

Needless to say, the bus erupted.

The Rams, after the scores were recounted, edged Lecanto 151{-145 for the boys title Thursday night.

Some of Lecanto's disappointment was eased by the girls' performance. The Panthers outscored Chiefland 158-139 to win their championship.

Both wins were surprising: the Rams' because of an scoring error and the Panthers because with four events left they appeared too far back of Chiefland to win.

Then the scores started to trickle in _ Christy Cowart and Mandy Marsh finished 1-2, respectively, in the pole vault, and Nicolette Voikin won the high jump.

Melissa Kenney capped the stirring comeback with a comeback, rallying from way back to win the 3,200 meters over Crystal River's Jennifer Davis.

"I really thought that we'd get second," Lecanto coach Freddie Bullock said.

Central girls finished third with 92 points as Jenna Ianella won the 1,600 and Brooke Bastien won the 800 with a late kick.

Hernando was fourth with 75 points and Crystal River finished fifth (72).

The Ridgewood boys, who haven't lost this season, got another solid all-around performance. But they had to sweat through a close finish because distance ace Dave Kennedy pulled up in the 1,600 with a sore hamstring and missed the 3,200.

Still, the Rams got an outstanding performance by Jeff Shuhert, who passed Lecanto's Charlie Lee down the stretch in the 800 to win in a personal-best 2:02.63. Chuck Peterson accounted for 32 points in individual races and helped anchor a 4x100 relay team that got six more points.

Hernando's John Capel might have stolen the show, though, running a distance he hadn't competed at this year. Held out of the 100 _ his best race _ to prevent injury before next week's Florida Relays, Capel won the 400 in 49.75, and anchored the winning 4x400 relay team after making up a 60-meter deficit.

"I told them (his teammates) to just give me the lead and I'd hold it," he said. "They didn't, so I had to go out and get it."

Hernando finished fourth with 89 points, right behind Springstead's 109. The Eagles were led by Eugene Hicks, who won the 100 in 10.95 and anchored the winning 4x100 relay team.