TAMPA — Arguably the biggest hurdle of Steinbrenner junior Alexis Wright’s day presented itself at dawn, in the debilitating form of a scratchy throat and congestion.
“I was like, ‘Oh man, this is what I breathe through, what’s going on?” ’ Wright said. “But I got some medicine, took it and made sure I got some good rest.”
A few hours and Chloraseptic doses later, Wright and her Warriors teammates were beaming.
Behind Wright, the Warriors claimed the first district team title in their brief history with a collaborative, convincing triumph at the 2A-9 meet at Berkeley Prep.
Wright won the triple jump, 100- and 300-meter hurdles and ran on the winning 4x400 relay team as Steinbrenner collected 156 points to coast past runnerup Academy of the Holy Names (103.5) and defending champ Wesley Chapel (79).
“I’m very proud of myself,” Wright said. “I had a lot of accomplishments that I didn’t expect I could do. It was just a good day, overcoming the adversity of not really feeling good today but still executing on the track.”
Also starring in the Warriors’ ensemble performance: 400-meter winner Caroline Murray and sophomore distance specialist Lauren Garris, responsible for one of the more dramatic moments of this scorching day.
Trailing Holy Names eighth-grader Colleen Doherty by roughly 50 meters on the final lap of the 1,600, Garris made a furious charge to overtake her at the finish line and place second to Middleton’s Amber Brooks.
Garris then won the 3,200.
“I think she thought she had second (clinched),” Garris said. “It was crazy.”
On the boys side, Jesuit also produced a constellation of stars to repeat as team champion.
Setting the tone for the day was discus champ Ike Edwards, whose first throw in the preliminaries went a personal-best 176 feet, 4 inches — less than 2 feet shy of the school record.
He was followed by West Point-bound sprinter Miles Bennett (pictured), who prevailed in the 100 and placed second in the 200 despite a nagging hamstring and noticeably thicker frame (5-10 1/2, 207 pounds) than last season. Junior Kyle Statz won the 110 hurdles.
Elsewhere, the Middleton tandem of Arthur Casey and Franck Charles continued their late-season surge with victories in the 800 and 1,600, respectively. USF-bound Robinson senior Ruben Gonzalez won the 400 in a personal-best time (49.8) and led the Knights 4x400 team to victory.
Class A, District 9: Northside Christian may have easily won the team titles Thursday at Shorecrest — with the girls and boys finishing 135 and 65 points, respectively, ahead of Indian Rocks Christian — but several county athletes won their events.
Among the boys Cambridge’s Damarcus Faison cleared 5 feet, 7 inches in the high jump, Seffner Christian’s Brandon Ardley won the long jump (21-2), Carrollwood Day’s Rober Davis won the 200 (22.98) and Tampa Prep’s Yuri Costa prevailed in the 3,200 (10:25).
For the girls, Tampa Prep’s Carly Reiner won the 100 in 13.09 and teammate Claire Snyder won the 3200 (12:30), and Cambridge’s Madison Cox prevailed in the 400 (1:01.03).
Andy Villamarzo, Times correspondent