This time last year, Hunter Joyer was in a hurry to make the Florida Relays in Gainesville on time. And in the rush, he forgot the special shoes he uses for the shot put. His day ended with a fifth-place finish, a result far lower than most-including Joyer-had expected.
It was a completely different story for the Wesley Chapel senior Friday at this historic meet. Arriving in plenty of time-with his throw shoes-Joyer produced the best series in his life with two throws beyond 59 feet, two past the 58 and another at 57.
True, Joyer fouled on his final throw and it was his best-beyond the 60-foot mark. But the Florida-bound running back left Gainesville with a smile on his face and the first-place medal with an official toss of 59-10.
"I think I took it (the Florida Relays) a little more serious this year," said Joyer, the state leader in all classes for the event at 61-0. "I just feel kind of bad it (the 60-foot throw) doesn't show up on paper."
Jesuit's Ike Edwards was also in the top flight of the shot and with a strong finish, he wound up fifth with a mark of 55-0.75.
In the girls 100-meter hurdles, Riverview's Ashley Favors finished third in 14.74 seconds. Favors actually won her heat, but since there were no prelims and final results were based solely on heat times, Favors wound up third. The winner was Monti Willis of Georgia's Campbell High in 16.64.
Despite taking third on heat time, it was a far better finish for Favors than last week's FSU Relays, where she clipped the fourth hurdle, then tripped and fell after the seventh hurdle.
Favors said last week's race was not on her mind Friday.
"Last week, I just scared myself because I usually don't start pulling away until late and that time, I led early," Favors said. "Today, my coaches said just forget about last week and keep your focus."
In the boys pole vault, Plant's Brian Baird struggled much of the morning and wound up 11th at 13 feet. The disappointing thing for Baird is the winning height was only 14-0, a foot under his personal best.
Stay tuned to TBO.com for regular updates from the Florida Relays this weekend.