TAMPA — Stomach virus and all, Hillsborough sprinting and soaring dynamo Jeremiah Green still ruled the day at the Class 3A, District 8 meet.
But the Steinbrenner Warriors ruled the dusk.
Following an afternoon of record-tying heat, the Warriors dominated the distance events in the evening’s running finals to capture the boys team title and mildly trump Green’s gutsy performance that reaped four blue ribbons.
The Warriors swept the top four spots in the 1,600, and boasted three of the top four placers in the 800 and 3,200 to clinch the team title (139.5 points). The 3,200 triumph enabled Steinbrenner to slip past Jefferson (128.5) and Hillsborough (128).
“Coach (Bobby McConnell) sat us down before (the 3,200) and said, ‘You guys are seniors, be the Boss Cross. Be what you guys are. Win this for us,’ ” said 3,200 winner Tyler Lima, referencing the distance/cross country program’s nickname (a George Steinbrenner tribute).
“Our sprinters are hurt and they’re not out here, so it was really on our shoulders. …Not that we won it ourselves, but we took a lot of it on our backs.”
An assortment of backs carried the load.
Senior Matt Magee earned a surprise win in the 800 (1:57.27), holding off hard-charging defending champ Jonathan Moore of Jefferson (1:57.63). Magee and Lima also were among the four Warriors who crossed the finish line in the 1,600 together.
“I know (Moore) has a really, really solid kick,” said Magee, who never previously had beaten Moore. “I wanted to get ahead of him so he couldn’t out-kick me like he always does. This race, I actually succeeded in doing that.”
Green, meantime, had little more than competitive juices keeping him hydrated.
He vomited near the 50-yard line of Gaither’s Ron Allen Field moments before the start of the triple jump, but still won that event on one attempt (48 feet, 1 inch). He also prevailed in the long jump and 100- and 200-meter dashes.
“Before this, it was terrible,” the University of Alabama signee said following the 100. “I was throwing up like crazy. But now, I’m coming up on about 80 percent.”
On the girls side, Steinbrenner’s girls made it a Warriors sweep with strong field event performances and overall balance. Junior pole vaulter Jazmin Sobotker was Steinbrenner’s only champion, but the Warriors scored points in 16 of the 17 events.
Chamberlain senior Andrea Aaron (discus, shot put) and Hillsborough senior Jorian Ordway (200, 400) were the only girls to win two individual titles.
Plant boys repeat, Freedom girls on top
TAMPA — Wednesday’s clash of county powerhouses in the Class 4A, District 6 meet at Leto saw the Plant boys repeat as district champions (145).
Tampa Bay Tech (109) finished second, followed by Alonso (104) and Freedom (101). It marked the eighth district title for coach Shawn Balow in the past 10 years.
On the girls side, Freedom upset Plant’s aims at repeating. The Panthers got a huge boost when they claimed the top four spots in the 3,200 meters but it was not enough to overtake the Freedom girls (166.50). Plant settled for second place (144) with Wharton (123) third and Alonso (119) fourth.
“Overall, everyone chipped in, even places where we didn’t expect,” Patriots coach Dwight Smith said. “When the time came to show up, they showed up.”
The win marked the first district title for Freedom’s girls.
Seniors Sandra Akachukwu and Faith Woodard were utterly dominant in all of their events.
Akachukwu won the triple crown with district titles in the 100 (12.27), 200 (25.35) and set a meet record in the long jump (19-3).
Akachukwu also claimed second place in the high jump (5-8), scoring 38 points on her own.
Teammate Woodard prevailed in the high jump (5-10), and 400 (58.40) — both meet records. Woodard also was the runnerup in the 200(26.31).
Unexpected points came from senior Alexandra Mitchell (first, 800) and freshman Nari Garner (fourth, high jump).
“We have the same mind-set,” Akachukwu said of competing with Woodard. “We feed off each other’s energy and it helps push us in our events.”
The Plant boys scored wins in the 800 (Kyle Groh, 2:01.46), pole vault (Immanuel Dye, 11-6), discus (Tyler Webb, 139-2) and 3,200 (Bryce Weaver, 10:23.11). Sophomore Jack Guyton fought off an aggressive push from Freedom’s Derik Harvey to win the 1,600 (4:34.92). Harvey pushed Guyton out to the middle of the track during the final straightaway but Guyton held on.
Tampa Bay Tech senior Deonte Williams easily swept the 100 (10.89) and 200 (22.40), then his anchor leg of the 4x100 relay overtook both Alonso’s and Plant’s teams to win in 43.18.
Fellow senior Caleb Chambliss set a personal and meet record in the prelims of his 300 hurdles race in 39.68. He went on to win the event (39.77) and got second in the 110 hurdles (14.75).
“I just had to let my mind go and run like a bat out of hell,” Chambliss said.
Newsome boys just miss out on title
Newsome’s boys had the best showing of county teams in Class 4A-7 at Spoto, finishing just 4.5 points behind champion North Port.
The Wolves also won five events — 4x400 relay (3:28.85), high jump (Ahren Bryan, 6-02), 400 (Todd Jackson, 49.92). Lars Benner dominated the distance events, taking the 1,600 (4:32.19) and 3,200 (10:06.35).
Bloomingdale picked up wins from Gerard Trott in the long jump (21-10) and Kevin Heron in the 800 (1:59.88), and the 4x800 relay team (8:13.53) was triumphant.
Sarasota Riverview dominated for the girls, but several locals won titles.
Riverview got wins from Maia Carter (300 hurdles, 47.09) and Morgan Speicher (400, 1:02.52). Newsome’s 4x100 relay placed first in 50.88, and Brianna Jackson won the 3,200 (12:19.78). Bloomingdale notched wins in the 4x800 (9:59.87), 800 (Julie Roggeman, 2:24.08) and 1,600 (Annie Barrett, 5:30.00).
Correspondent Andy Warrener contributed to this report.