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Wildcats push Rams to the end

Jenn Hayes lay on the ground, wincing as she clutched her right side, trying to figure out the least painful way to breathe.

"What an animal," Ridgewood coach Sue Vien said with approval.

The Ram girls will need that kind of effort every weekend to hold onto their throne as the kings of Pasco County track.

Host Wesley Chapel put a scare into Ridgewood at Thursday night's Wildcat Fast Times meet at Wildcat Stadium, closing to within six points of the Rams' winning score of 149.5.

Hayes had to win the last leg of the last event, the 4x400-meter relay, to keep alive her team's regular-season win streak dating back to 1997. Hayes passed the Wildcats' Dija Phaire with 300 meters to go and held a 20-meter lead at the finish to stave off the upset. Ridgewood won the race in 4 minutes, 26.16 seconds, edging Wesley Chapel by 2.43 seconds.

"I can't even explain," Hayes said of the pain. It was her fourth win of the night, including the triple jump (35 feet, 6 inches), long jump (16-5 {) and 100-meter high hurdles (15.42 seconds). She was second in the high jump (4-10).

It's just the start, Wesley Chapel said. "We're knocking on the door baby," Wildcats coach Brian "Stone" Colding said.

"It has definitely narrowed," Vien said of the county race. "Wesley Chapel, they're on a mission and we have a mission.

"This should be interesting."

As usual, the boys race wasn't. Wesley Chapel won handily by 99.5 points, which is more than runner-up Mitchell (96) scored.

"This was a really positive meet for us," Colding said. "For the midpoint of the season to have the kids doing this well is really great."

Then he grins. "We don't even have the kids back from basketball yet," he said of the sprinters and jumpers from the Class 3A state semifinalists who will soon join the team.

Among the other individual standouts was Ridgewood's Adamm Oliver, as the Georgia Tech football recruit again crushed school records in the discus and shot put. In the discus, Oliver bettered a 17-year-old school record with a throw of 150-10, and in the shot put, he improved upon his own record with a toss of 53-4.

Mitchell's Jeff Masterson won the 1,600 (4:27.04), the 3,200 (9:53.21) and led the 4x800 team to victory (8:33.23). Zephyrhills' Sydney Williams won the 100 (11.04) and teammates Bryan Thomas won the long jump (20-10 {) and Jose Espinosa the 400 (49.88). Central's Kurt Lee won the pole vault (12-6) and Kyle Keen took the high jump (6-2).

Returning state qualifier Kenny "Junior" Roberts won the 110 high hurdles (14.97) and the 300 intermediate race (39.83) for Wesley Chapel. Nigel Bryant won the triple jump (40-8) and was second in the long jump (20 \). Jon Muhammad won the 200 with a time of 23.42 and was fourth in the 400 (52.22). B.B. Roberts was second in the 100 (11.17) and 400 (50.96).

For the girls, Pasco star LaShawn Vaughns won the 100 (12.65) and 200 (26.30). River Ridge's Danielle Coyle won the 800 (2:34) and Samantha Jacobsen took the 3,200 (12:26.84). The Gulf 4x800 squad of Kim Murphy, Melissa Dattoli, Amber Shuhart and Danielle Florey also won (10:47.75).

Wesley Chapel was led by Angela Medvid in the 300 hurdles (47.13), Ashley Martin in the shot put (33-8), Stephanie Amerman in the 1,600 (5:41.64), Phaire in the high jump (4-10) and the winning 4x100 squad (50.89) of Jasmine Cabrera, Melissa Sams, Kendall Smith and Medvid.