TAMPA — Time after time the past year, Steinbrenner’s boys have found just enough points to beat Jefferson at track meets.
But not at Wednesday’s Western Conference American Division meet, where the top four performers in each event qualified for next week’s Vernon Korhn Hillsborough County Track Championship.
Running Wednesday on their home track, the Dragons won the meet with 133 points, 3.5 ahead of Steinbrenner.
“In the past, Steinbrenner has killed us by scoring a bunch of points in the 1,600 and 3,200 (meter runs),” Jefferson coach Lionel Bryant said. “But this time we have a runner, Daniel Erickson, who placed third in the 1,600 (4 minutes, 38.7 seconds) and the 3,200 (10:06.6). We also had a lot of outstanding performances from a lot of kids.”
Deiondre Porter, for instance, won the long jump (22 feet, 4.5 inches), and the 200-meter dash (22.4), was third in the 100 meters (11.10) and helped the 4x100 relay to a second-place finish (43.8).
Teammate Jeremy Baltrip also chipped in with a victory in the triple jump (42-11.5) and a runner-up finish in the long jump (21-4).
Robinson’s Jack Rogers was another two-event winner, taking first in the 1,600 (4:23.70) and the 800 (2:00.20). Gaither’s Rachel Cazares pulled off the same feat on the girls’ side, winning with relative ease in the 1,600 (5:21.9) and the 800 (2:25.10).
In the girls’ team race, Steinbrenner dominated with 204.5 points, more than 100 ahead of Plant (106) and Alonso (104).
The Warriors did it by scoring in almost every event with multiple athletes, led by Taylor Hotchkiss, who won the 300 hurdles (48.10) and placed second in the long jump (15-6), triple jump (33-01) and 100-meter hurdles (16.8).
“Everybody came out today and gave an outstanding effort,” Steinbrenner coach Ladd Baldwin said. “We came out here with purpose.”
At Armwood, the Hawks boys took the team title with 124 points, followed by Hillsborough at 111, and Wharton’s girls won for the third straight year with 168.5 points, 51 ahead of runner-up Freedom.
With a cold wind whipping off I-4, Wharton’s Bryanna Rivers won the 1,600 (5:23) and the 800 (2:23), while teammate Jasmine Robinson won the 400 meters (57.10) and helped the 4x800 and 4x400 relays to victory.
“The goal was to get as many athletes qualified for next week’s county meet,” Wharton coach Anthony Triana said. “I feel good, because I think we did that.”
In the boys’ competition, Armwood’s Jordan Greene led the way with victories in the 110 hurdles (15.17) and the 300 hurdles (39.74).
At Spoto, for the second straight year, Newsome won both the girls and boys titles with 177.5 and 167.5 points respectively, both more than 40 points ahead of the runner-up girls and boys teams from Riverview.
Newsome’s Todd Jackson, a state medalist last year, won the 200-meter dash (22.35) and the 400-meter dash (49.46), and Bloomingdale’s defending state champion boys 4x800 relay won once again, cruising across in 8:19.1. A few events later, the Bulls’ took the top three spots in the individual 800 race.
Spoto’s Janae Caldwell also shined once again, winning the 200 meters (25.63) and the 400 (58.91).