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WINTER PARK — Central’s Raqurra Ishmar stepped into the ring, spun and heaved the shot put in the sky.
The metal ball fell 44 feet away.
After looking at the dent in the dirt, Ishmar knew she had a good chance of winning what had been an elusive state title.
Ishmar’s throw, her first in the preliminaries, stood as she beat her closest competitor Friday by more than 2 feet at the Class 3A state meet.
She wasn’t finished.
In the discus, Ishmar flung it a personal-best 131 feet on her first throw in the preliminaries to win that event, too. Her state title in the discus was surprising because she was seeded third coming in with throw of 120-10.
Ishmar became the first Hernando County girl to win multiple state titles in the same year.
“Surprised is an understatement,” Ishmar said of winning both. “Bamboozled is more like it. I thought I could maybe place third or fourth in the discus. I guess I had a lot of adrenaline on that first throw. I saw where it went, and I was, ‘What was that.’ ”
Ishmar’s teammate, Tikiera Relaford, won her second straight title in the high jump, tying her personal-best of 5-8 in the finals. No other competitor cleared that height. Relaford tried to jump 5-9 but missed.
“I had to go at least 5-8,” said Relaford, who went 5-6 last year. I needed a little upgrade.”
Land O’Lakes’ Nicole Woodard was third in the high jump (5-6) and seventh in the long jump (17-9).
On the boys side, Mitchell’s A.J. Bales snapped out of a monthlong funk to win the pole vault, leaping 14-9 on his third attempt in the finals to beat defending champion and Pasco County rival Alex Kazanski of Wiregrass Ranch, who was runnerup at 14-3.
“I was seeded seventh coming into the meet and not doing well at all,” Bales said.
To break through, he decided to go with a shorter pole for Friday’s meet.
“I was just lost and needed to figure out something,” Bales said. “I went back to that pole because I finally had access to it again.”
Already ahead of competitors by 6 inches in the final, Bales tried to go 15 feet but hit the bar with his arms.
“This is an absolutely amazing feeling,” he said.
Bales’ teammate, Ryan Jerothe, tied for fifth at 13-9.