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Long-jump star Richmond hopes to land in pros

Lakewood High's Rose Richmond added to a standout track and field career in four seasons at Indiana University.

But she's not done.

The sports marketing major has decided to enter the professional ranks.

"My goal is to make the pro circuit, and now that I've graduated, I plan to devote myself full time to training," said Richmond, 22.

"I'll be staying here in Indiana, and I'm looking for an agent to help get me sponsored," she said.

Richmond, who first began running and jumping when she was 6, boasts speed and strength.

The youngest of five children, Richmond participated as a youth in the Hershey Track and Field competitions and USA Junior Olympic and AAU JO championships.

Led by St. Pete Striders coach Derrick Walker, Richmond tried the long jump, liked it and continued the event.

When she selected Indiana as her college, she brought the experience of four high school state titles in the long jump to the Hoosiers.

In her freshman year in 1997, Richmond placed second in the long jump at the Big Ten Conference Championships with a career-best performance of 19-11. She also enjoyed a career-best triple jump, 37-10{.

In the outdoor season that year, Richmond received All-American recognition as a member of a 4x100-meter relay unit that captured a league title.

"Being named All-American my freshman year was a great feeling," Richmond said. "I wished it had been in the long jump, but getting it for the relay team was great, too."

Richmond was chosen All-American all four seasons, plus was the Big Ten outdoor long-jump champ two years.

The transition from high school to college practices was simple, Richmond said, thanks to Lakewood coach Eileen Givens.

Under Givens, workouts always were intense. So, other than being nervous with a new experience at the college level, Richmond was prepared.

"I learned more about the technical aspects of the sport at Indiana, and that would have been helpful in high school," Richmond said,

"We spend a lot of time in the weight room at Indiana. Sometimes I would be so sore it hurt to even lay down."

Competing in indoor and outdoor seasons left little time off for the athlete. But with her drive to excel, that suited her just fine.

Richmond's long-jump, triple-jump and relay performances placed her among the best at Indiana and in the nation.

After finishing second in this season's NCAA Indoor Championships, she leaped into the outdoor season with the school's third-best long jump, 21-00.75). Richmond has two of the Hoosiers' top three performances.

She completed the outdoor season with a second (21-6\) in the long jump of the USA Track and Field Championships last month.

The top three finishers are to join Team USA for the World Outdoor Track and Field Championships, Aug. 23-31 in Paris.

"This is my second time on a national team but my first in a world championship," Richmond said.

"The other two competitors are already professionals, so I plan to learn some things from them," she said. "Plus, I'm planning on doing some sightseeing while we're in Paris."

Upon her return to the States, Richmond will head back to Indiana, where she'll resume her training with coach Wayne Pate.

Considering the peak age for a female track performer is 30, Richmond thinks she can take advantage of her youth and athletic prowess to pursue her dream of reaching the pros.

BASEBALL: Stetson graduate Ian Church (Osceola) signed with the Lincoln Saltdogs in the Independent Northern League.

At Stetson last season, the senior outfielder was chosen second-team All-Atlantic Conference after producing eight home runs and 34 RBI.

In four years, Church had a .304 average.

+ As a freshman at Tennessee Tech University, left-hander Ben Pincus (Boca Ciega) started three games and pitched in nine for a 1-1 record and 7.06 ERA.

+ First baseman Chris Brown (Lakewood/Central Florida/Hillsborough CC) led Florida Gulf Coast in batting (.454), RBIS (66), hits (89), doubles (24) and triples (7).

+ Infielder Matt Bowser (Tarpon Springs/Central Florida) is among the team's top hitters for Modesto A in the California League with a .313 average and 42 RBIS.

+ Left-hander Ben Kozlowski (Seminole) has a 3-2 record and 5.43 ERA with the Frisco Rough Riders in the Texas AA League.

+ Leading the Visalia Oaks in the California A League with a .359 average is infielder Corey Slavik (Boca Ciega/Wake Forest).

+ Steve Doetsch (Dunedin/Indian River CC) is hitting .381 in 12 games for the Gulf Coast Braves in the Rookie League.

+ Right-hander Petersen Benjamin (East Lake/Florida Atlantic) is pitching for the Giants' Hagerstown A Suns.

+ Switch-hitter Andrew Beattie (Clearwater) is batting .258 for the Chattanooga AA Reds.

VOLLEYBALL: Shanti Cortese (Tarpon Springs) was selected the sophomore player of the year at St. John's River Community College.

SOCCER: Keri Gordon (Clearwater Central Catholic) appeared in 12 games, including 10 starts on the back line, in her junior season at the College of William and Mary.

+ In his junior season, Dunedin's Dean Arnaoutakis (Berkeley Prep) produced a .786 percentage in saves as the goalkeeper for Columbia University.

This spring, Dean's older brother, George, completed his fourth season at Columbia.

+ Melissa Behrle (Countryside) played in 17 games at the outside back position as a sophomore at Barry University.

DIVING: Auburn sophomore Rachel Korth (St. Petersburg Catholic) placed 23rd in the 10-meter platform event of the U.S. National Diving Championships.

SWIMMING: Patrick Davis (Tampa Jesuit/Clearwater Aquatic Team) was among three Notre Dame members to receive the team's most improved award from the coaching staff.

As a freshman, Davis' 1,650- and 1,000-yard freestyle times were the squad's best.

His 500 free performance was the fourth highest.

BASKETBALL: Colin Shaw (Seminole/UNC-Charlotte) led Saint Leo in scoring average (12.1), three-pointers (24), rebounds (136) and free-throw percentage (.721).

_ News for this column may be faxed to Nancy Morgan, 445-4119; e-mailed to namgammagte.net, or sent to 710 Court St., Clearwater, Fla. 33756. Please include your phone number.

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