Largo coach John Demko doesn't complain too much about his lack of sprinters.
He has everything else.
The Packers are so deep in the field events and distance races, they have been able to mask their only weakness.
At the Osceola Relays, Largo scored 93 points, 30 more than the nearest competitor. The Packers won the high jump, discus, 4-mile and shuttle relays. They also finished second in the triple jump, shot put, long jump and 2-mile relays.
It was enough for Largo to defend its team title despite the last three events being canceled due to rain.
In their only dual meet, the Packers beat defending conference champion Seminole by 82 points.
"We have a lot of guys and that helps," Demko said. "We just hope we have enough to keep winning."
On Friday, Largo will try to defend another title at the Richard Allen Relays at Pinellas Park. Besides the Packers and the host Patriots, other boys teams competing include: Clearwater, Clearwater Central Catholic, Countryside, Dixie Hollins, Gibbs, Osceola, St. Petersburg and Seminole. The field events start at 4 p.m. and the relay finals are at 7. Admission is $3.
Kevin Marion has already conquered the nation's best in the long jump, winning the event at the Nike Indoor Challenge last season.
This season, he wants to try something else.
The Dixie Hollins senior decided to forgo defending his title and will participate in the National Scholastic Indoor Championships, held Friday through Sunday at the Armory Track and Field Center in New York City.
"I just wanted a different venue," he said.
Marion, who is recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament, will not compete in the long jump. Instead, he will run the 60 and 100 meters.
"My goal is to break my record in the 200," Marion said.
Others county competitors include Boca Ciega's Shaman Washington, Dixie Hollins' Aris Lambert, Gibbs' Rashad Etheridge and Lakewood's Martell Mott.
St. Petersburg Catholic coach Jeff Ehlert scheduled a dual meet against Jesuit last Friday so his team could go head-to-head with its closest rival before districts.
It never materialized.
The Tigers backed out because they were competing in the Nash Higgins Relays in Tampa the following day. The schools couldn't find a makeup date.
"It was disappointing," Ehlert said, "But we'll get to see them again."
On Tuesday, St. Petersburg Catholic and Jesuit will be at the Ed Wells Kiwanis Invitational. The Tigers and the Barons finished 1-2 at the meet last season.
Five to Watch
1. James Lane, Northeast: The senior, who decided to run track for the first time last season, won the triple jump, long jump, 100 and 200 meters against Lakewood two weeks ago. His marks in the triple jump (43 feet, 6 inches) and long jump (23-0) are tops in the county.
2. Thomas Hendry, St. Petersburg: A state qualifier in the pole vault last season, Hendry cleared 13-0 to finish second at the Steak N' Shake meet in Tampa two weeks ago.
3. Joe Murphy, Largo: At the Osceola Relays, Murphy helped the Packers win the discus. The senior also won the event against Seminole last week with a county-best throw of 148-8.
4. Jason Harris, Clearwater: The sophomore, who was a Times second-team all-county selection in football, has showed his penchant for speed. He has the top time (10.94 seconds) in the 100 meters.
5. Jermaine Filer, Countryside: The high jumper reached new heights in a tri-meet with Clearwater and Palm Harbor University on Wednesday. Tied with Largo's Danny Mannix for the best leap this season, Filer took over sole ownership with a jump of 6-4.
The marks and times are taken from meets reported to the Times. To report results, call 893-8123.
Triple jump _ Lane (Ne) 43-6, Morgan (Osc) 41-0, Johnson (Lar) 40-7; Pole vault _ Hendry (SP) 13-0, Anderson (Ns) 11-0, Zanetos (Clw) 10-0, McQuaid (Lar) 10-0; Long jump _ Lane (Ne) 23-0, McCleod (Lar) 21-7, Gwynn (Cs) 21-3; Shot put _ Lynch (Cs) 50-6, Equia (Sem) 49-2, Hayes (Gi) 45-4; Discus _ Murphy (Lar) 148-8, Prvetocki (Ne) 144-1, McClure (Dun) 142-10; High jump _ Filer (Cs) 6-4, Mannix (Lar) 6-2, Jean-Pierre (Ne) 5-10, Elliott (Osc) 5-10; 110 hurdles _ Wahner (Ne) 15.09, Johnson (Lar) 16.1, Frey (Clw) 16.41; 100 _ J. Harris (Clw) 10.92, Marion (DH) 10.94, Lane (Ne) 11.06; 1,600 _ Cormier (SPC) 4:34, McClymont (Lar) 4:33, McGee (Sem) 4:40; 4x100 _ Clearwater 43.5, Lakewood 43.67, Osceola 45.05; 400 _ C. Harris (Clw) 51.03, Mott (Lw) 51.8, Lambert (DH) 52.50; 300 hurdles _ Large (Sem) 41.47, Downing (Clw) 42.38, Johnson (Lar) 42.4; 800 _ Downing (Clw) 2:02.1, Secord (SPC) 2:04, McGee (Sem) 2:05; 200 _ Marion (DH) 21.87, Gross (Osc) 22.06, J. Harris (Clw) 22.1; 3,200 _ Lyons (CCC) 9:46, McClymont (Lar) 10:08, McGee (Sem) 10:23; 4x400 _ Lakewood 3:39, Clearwater 3:39, Largo 3:40, Northeast 3:41; 4x800 _ St. Petersburg Catholic 8:20, Largo 8:34, Dunedin 8:50.
_ Compiled by Bob Putnam.