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Brandon teams sweep Johnson Invitational

The Brandon boys and girls teams shared the same formula and were able to get the same results: championships in the Charles Johnson Invitational on Saturday.

Depth carried both Eagles teams to victories. For the boys, it was their third consecutive Charles Johnson title.

The girls won their second meet in a week, following up on their success in the Griffin/Manuel Relays.

On the boys side, Brandon finished with 127 points, while Hillsborough and Chamberlain tied for second with 122 points.

"We don't really excel in any particular event," Brandon boys coach Mark Howlett said. "It was just a total group effort."

Plant City (98 points) and Hillsborough (96) rounded out the girls top three behind Brandon (128).

"We're making progress each week," Brandon girls coach Al Goff said. "We want to get as many athletes to state as possible."

While all-around excellence carried the team standings, the most intriguing competition may have been for the girls most-valuable-athlete award.

Tampa Bay Tech's Tavia Ball, who won the triple jump and the 880 meters, earned the recognition, but King's Benetta Mungin and Plant City's Christie Brady deserved consideration.

Mungin dominated the sprints, winning the 110, 220 and 440. Brady showed versatility, winning the long jump, high jump and the mile.

King's Gerard Fernandez was named the boys most valuable athlete. Fernandez won the mile and the 2-mile and also ran a leg on the Lions' winning 2-mile relay team.

The gutsiest performance might have been turned in by Brandon's Kevin Thomas, who was hampered by a groin injury. Thomas won the 330 intermediate hurdles and the the 120 high hurdles.

"I didn't think he was going to compete," Howlett said.

Hillsborough's touted 4x100-relay team, which posted an impressive 41.79 a week ago, showed vulnerability. The Terriers didn't finish the race after a botched first handoff between new leadoff man Aleous Chambers and Shomari Mckenzie.

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