WESLEY CHAPEL — Paced by distance runner Nikita Shah, host Wiregrass Ranch won the Class 3A, District 6 meet Tuesday. The Bulls won a meet-best five events, with Shah figuring in three of those races, to claim their fifth straight district title.
“It’s enjoyable because we knew it was going to be close,” Wiregrass Ranch coach Don Howard said of his team’s late rally to outscore runnerup Belleview 143-118.5. “The girls had to perform in every event, and they did that.
“I think it’s tougher to hang onto because everyone wants to beat you.”
Land O’Lakes coach Bill Schmitz could relate to that after his boys team defended its district title, just two weeks after defending the Sunshine Athletic Conference championship.
“To repeat in the conference and district, we come to compete on game day,” he said. “A lot of kids stepped up. It was an outstanding effort.”
Shah, a senior headed to Harvard, won the 1,600 meters for the first time and 3,200 for a second time. She also teamed with Elise Cedre, Berlin Waters and Madison Conway to win the 4x400 relay.
“It’s always a challenge,” Shah said. “It definitely does not get any easier.”
Also winning for the Bulls were Sarah Cornwell and Alisha Henry in the 300 hurdles and pole vault, respectively.
Rounding out the top five girls teams were Land O’Lakes (67.5 points), Springstead (66) and Zephyrhills (62). The Gators and Bulldogs each had three wins.
Land O’Lakes’ Hallie Grimes won the 400 and Kassidy Wallace captured the triple jump with the school’s 4x400 team of Molly Grahs, Makenzie Fish, Christa Haran and Amaris Hill also finishing first.
For Zephyrhills, Kara Young won the 100, JaKayla Jones took first in the high jump, and both were part of the winning 4x100 relay team that included Aaliyah McKenzie and Tyrhonda Mathis.
In the boys meet, Land O’Lakes totaled 125.5 points, Wiregrass Ranch had 111, Springstead 109, Lecanto 54 and Belleview 52.
The Eagles netted four victories, two more than Central, Land O’Lakes and Sunlake, which each had two wins. Richard Toth and Bobby Harris won the 800 and high jump, respectively. Springstead’s winning relay teams were: 4x400 — Toth, Bernard Ndedi, Zackary Romblad and James Amodie; 4x800 — Toth, Romblad, Amodie and Jai Jackson.