Full Speed Ahead
The schedule has been scant through the first month of the season.
That changes this week with two big meets, the Lady Tornado on Thursday and the Richard Allen Relays on Friday.
The Lady Tornado, a meet featuring girls teams from the north part of the county, will be at Clearwater. Teams competing include Countryside, Largo, Palm Harbor University, Pinellas Park, Seminole and the host Tornadoes.
Field events start at 3:30 p.m. and the running finals are at 6. Seminole won the meet last season.
The Richard Allen Relays, meanwhile, have boys and girls teams.
Teams competing on the boys side are Clearwater, Clearwater Central Catholic, Countryside, Dixie Hollins, Gibbs, Largo, Osceola, Pinellas Park, St. Petersburg and Seminole.
There are seven girls teams: CCC, Countryside, Dixie Hollins, Gibbs, Osceola, Pinellas Park and St. Petersburg. The field events start at 4 and the relay finals are at 7.
Last season, Largo won the boys and the host Patriots won the girls.
Admission is $3 for both the Lady Tornado and the Richard Allen Relays.
The Osceola Relays were cut short with three events left due to rain.
But that didn't matter to Largo.
The Packers already scored 83 points, more than enough to win the team title for the second season in a row.
"I don't know how good we are," Largo coach Mike Beck said, "but it was nice to win."
Beck had 20 girls on the roster by the first meet, more than he has ever had in 13 years at the school. The depth paid dividends as the Packers won the sprint medley, 4x800 relay, long jump and shuttle hurdle. They also finished second in the 4x100 and third in the mile relay.
Largo did it without Ryan Mathews and Abbie Hunter. Mathews, a pole vaulter and hurdler, was at a gymnastics competition the weekend of the Osceola Relays. Hunter, a distance specialist, is out with a stress fracture.
Largo's point total could have increased, too. Beck said his team had designs on breaking the meet record in the distance medley and would have placed high in the 4x200 and 4x400 relay.
"We just keep getting better every week," he said.
Five to Watch
1. Nadia Covington, Lakewood: The senior scored big in the field events at the Steak N' Shake meet in Tampa two weeks ago. She went 18 feet, 2 inches to win the long jump and 37-6 to finish second in the triple jump. Covington improved in the triple jump last week by going 38-8, one inch off the state's top mark this season.
2. Kerry Allen, St. Petersburg: The freshman won the 3,200 meters at the Steak N' Shake meet in 11 minutes, 32 seconds, the best time in the county this season. She also ran cross country and finished sixth at state.
3. Katherine Chapman, Tarpon Springs: A state qualifier in the discus last season, Chapman again is ahead of the competition in her signature event. She has thrown a county best 100 feet, 10 inches.
4. Katie McCain, Lakewood: The Spartans' most-consistent scorer in distance events, McCain is the county leader in the 1,600 with a time of 5 minutes, 33 seconds. She has been out the past week with the flu but is expected to return soon.
5. Nikki Morzenti, Clearwater: A three-sport athlete, Morzenti is participating in her final one as a senior. She trails Chapman in the discus by 1 foot.
Honor Roll The marks and times are taken from meets reported to the Times. To report results, call 893-8123.
Triple jump _ Covington (Lw) 38-8, Rawlings (Dun) 34-9, Kasprzyk (Sem) 32-8; Long jump _ Covington 18-2, Rawlings (Dun) 17-0, Harris (Lar) 16-0; High jump _ Lacroix (PHU) 5-0, Rivers (PP) 5-0, Parhalo (Sem) 5-0, McCain (Lw) 4-10, Thomas (TS) 4-6; Discus _ Chapman (TS) 100-10, Morzenti (Clw) 99-10, Warren (PP) 98-11; Shot put _ Warren (PP) 35-11, Paroulek (Sem) 33-10, Scaringe (Ne) 32-7; Pole Vault _ Campion (EL) 9-0, Mathews (Lar) 8-6, Castanga (Clw) 6-6; 100 hurdles _ Hardy (PHU) 16.29, McCaffie (Ne) 16.97, Mathews (Cs) 17.2, Mathews (Lar) 17.2; 4x800 relay _ CC Catholic 9:21, Largo 10:35, Palm Harbor University 10:46; 100 _ Kahler (CCC) 12.51, Harrington (Lw) 12.6, Bain (Dun) 12.7; 1,600 _ McCain (Lw) 5:33, Savery (PHU) 5:35, Hunter (Ns) 5:40; 4x100 relay _ Lakewood 52.11, Dunedin 52.25, Largo 52.6; 400 _ Covington (Lw) 1:00.9, McNary (PHU) 1:01.57, Hunter (Lar) 1:03; 300 hurdles _ Mathews (Cs) 49.19, Hardy (PHU) 49.9, Mathews (Lar) 52.2; 200 _ Covington (Lw) 25.9, Harrington (Lw) 26.5, Bain (Dun) 27.13; 3,200 _ Allen (SP) 11:35, Drugash (Lar) 12:19, Hall (Lar) 12:24; 4x400 relay _ Palm Harbor 4:22, Lakewood 4:26, East Lake 4:39.
_ Compiled by Bob Putnam.