TITUSVILLE — Alexis Wright stood at the entrance to the Astronaut High track anxiously awaiting a sign, any sign that the results of the finals in the 300-meter hurdles at the Class 2A, Region 3 finals.
A friendly race official held up one finger.
“You got it, Alexis!” her mother, Julia Wright screamed.
The Steinbrenner junior started jumping around. She’d done it. After winning the triple jump and 100-meter hurdles, she had just eked out a victory over Andrene Dume of Lely. Wright’s time was 45.21, while Dume came in at 45.34.
“We literally were head-to-head down that last stretch, and that last hurdle we were together,” an elated Wright said. “All it was about was getting across that line. I leaned in just enough to take first place.”
With a fourth-place finish in the girls 4x400 meter relay, Wright will be going to the state meet in four events. She won the triple jump with a leap of 37-1 and took the 100 hurdles in 15.37.
It was also a good day for the Jesuit boys, who won the team competition with 59 points. Isaac Edwards won the discus (163-7) and was second in the shot put (55-1). Blake Lopez was third in the 800 (1:57.93) and took second in the 1,600 4:24.30. The Steinbrenner girls finished fourth, while Lely was fifth.
Hunter Joyer of Wesley Chapel, the defending state champion in the shot put, won the title with a throw of 62-4 and just missed qualifying in the discus, where he finished fifth.
Wesley Chapel’s Ravin Gilbert called her victory in the 100 a “shocker” …but not because she won. “I expected to win,” she said. “But I didn’t know I was going to run that time.”
Gilbert’s winning time of 12.07 was a personal best as was her winning time of 24.86 in the 200 meters, where she again out-dueled Cocoa’s Jazzmine Folston, who ran a 25.05.
“I knew she was going to push me,” Gilbert said of Folston. “I knew she was going to come in hard. I had a strong mind to get out of the blocks before she her, and to pick up my speed around the 100 (meter) mark.”
Also qualifying for state were Tampa Catholic’s Mari Ostrenko in the pole vault and Jesuit’s Nick Medich in the high jump. Steinbrenner’s Zech Cesani was second in the 300 hurdles (39.36). Lely’s Angela Arfuso was second in the 400 while Steinbrenner’s Caroline Murray was third.
Steinbrenner’s relay team of Matt Magee, Dan Sarver, Cesani and Matt Sarver won the boys 4x800. In the girls 4x400, Lely was third and Steinbrenner fourth.
While Wright was obviously ecstatic to make state in so many events, it will also be a chance for her to make up for last year’s results — where she finished eighth in the triple jump and didn’t qualify for the finals in either hurdles race.
“Ever since last year, my motivation has been not repeating what I did at state last year, so you have to work that much harder now …and I have been, and it’s been paying off,” Wright said. “It really has.”