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WINTER PARK — At local meets, Lakewood’s Kala Funderburk made the 400 meters look easy.
When the Memphis signee would blaze across the finish line in her signature event, she was usually 10 meters ahead of the pack and accelerating.
After pulling away from her competitors to district and region titles in the 400 and owning the top seed entering Friday’s Class 3A state meet, Funderburk felt confident she could win what has been an elusive state title.
But Funderburk did not have the perfect race fold beneath her feet.
In the final, she had a good start and rose to a full sprint. But her form was off.
In the homestretch she knew this would not be the race in which everything would fall into place.
Funderburk finished third in 56.43. Miami Jackson’s Robin Reynolds won in 53.91.
Reynolds also won the long jump, 100 and 200 and now has 11 individual titles with another year to go.
“I thought I had as good a chance as anybody to win,” Funderburk said. “But (Reynolds) was faster. There was not much I could do about that.”
Still, that was little consolation for Funderburk, who was inconsolable after her race.
“I know I did my best,” she said. “But there was something inside me that wanted more because this was my last chance.”
Funderburk also finished fifth in the high jump (5-2) and teamed with Alexis Goodridge, Ashlee Funderburk and Gincy Marcelin to finish sixth in the 4x400 (3:58.77).
The Spartans girls 4x100 relay team, which was seeded first, did not finish after dropping the baton in the preliminaries.
In the girls triple jump, Pinellas County had three of the top five place-winners with Largo’s Shanice Akins and Daisha Brown finishing third (37-5½) and fifth (36-11), respectively, and Boca Ciega’s Chaise Cook-Martin taking fourth (37-5¼).
On the boys side, Lakewood’s Shaquem Griffin was fifth in the triple jump (45-7½) and teammate Dennis Pugh was fifth in the 300 hurdles (39.18).
“The whole time I didn’t really think I was really going to be that close,” Pugh said. “Actually, I was in the back coming up the curve and then I had to kick it in.”
Times correspondent Kelly Price contributed to this report.