RIVERVIEW — On a day she dominated by literal leaps and bounds, Riverview senior Ashley Favors preceded her auspicious hurdle scaling with astounding horizontal lunging.
After a few preliminary long jumps between 16 and 17 feet at the Class 4A, District 7 meet, Favors watched Tampa Bay Tech’s Angelina Mills go 17-8 — an inch and a half longer than Favors’ personal best. Stunned, Favors had no choice but to go longer or go away quietly.
She went 18-2 — the county’s best effort this year.
“I just took a deep breath, went down the runway and just did it,” she said.
The improbable triumph would commence one of the most fruitful days of Favors’ career. By the end of this nine-team meet at Spoto High, she also had won both hurdles events and run a leg on the Sharks’ winning 4x400 relay team.
“I felt good,” Favors said. “I had to stay off my legs because they’ve been really sore, so they’re just getting back to themselves.”
While Riverview leaned heavily on its versatile honors student to earn a second-place team finish behind Sarasota Riverview, Newsome’s boys won their second consecutive team crown via a huge ensemble effort, especially in the distance events.
Leading the way: senior A.J. Dowse, who qualified for next week’s Region 2 meet in four events. On his final one, Dowse held off Port Charlotte’s Greg Jennis on the anchor leg of the 4x400-meter relay to give his unbeaten Wolves relay foursome the win by a tenth of a second.
Another member of that team, Adam Mallady, broke his own school record by winning the 100 (10.7 seconds). A third member, Isaac Baker, won the 800 and went from third to first on his leg of the 4x400, making up roughly 50 yards.
The Wolves’ other two relay teams prevailed, as did Michael Tourgee in the 1,600 and Lars Benner in the 3,200.
“Actually, everybody stepped up,” Wolves coach Kevin Sharpe said. “Kids stepped up that I didn’t think would make the finals, and got maybe an eighth or seventh place for us.”