TAMPA — After more than eight hours, four events and several attempts at correct pronunciation, the public address guy at Wednesday’s super regional at Leto High still was butchering Sandra Akachukwu’s last name.
For the record, it’s ah-ka-CHOO-kwoo. Champ, for short.
For the second spring in a row, the Freedom senior exited Mahin-Hoffman Stadium with nearly as many Class 4A, Region 2 titles as syllables in her last name.
Replicating her 2012 effort, Akachukwu won the 100 (11.9 seconds) and 200 meters (24.57) and long jump (19 feet, 3 1/2 inches), and was second to teammate Faith Woodard in the high jump (5-8). Her performance in each event was considerably better than last season’s.
“She destroyed it,” said Patriots coach Dwight Smith, whose team earned a runnerup finish. “It was ridiculous.”
Akachukwu’s effort was among several local highlights at this region doubleheader, where the 3A-2 meet was staged simultaneously.
Steinbrenner’s boys and Plant’s girls, again buoyed by dominance in the distance races, won the 3A-2 and 4A-2 team titles, respectively.
The Panthers clinched things by sweeping the top four spots in the 3,200, with all four runners crossing the finish line within four seconds of each other.
Senior Scarlett Fox won the 1,600, and junior Ruthy Simpson broke a 38-year-old school 100 hurdles mark (15.32) in the prelims. Simpson earned top-four finishes in both hurdles events.
Steinbrenner, meantime, got another solid effort from senior Matt Magee, who won the 1,600, placed third in the 800 and ran anchor leg on the Warriors’ winning 4x800 team. Classmate Tyler Lima won the 3,200 and joined Magee on the 4x800 team.
Individually, Akachukwu’s versatility was nearly upstaged by Jorian Ordway’s velocity.
The Kent State signee won the 3A-2 girls 400 in 54.98 seconds, setting a Hillsborough County record according to former Terriers coach and veteran race official Steve West. “And I’ve been around the county 40 years,” West said.
Running on an inside lane in the final, Ordway said she heard her coach yell out a 26-second split at the 200-meter mark.
“All I had to do was finish,” she said. “So in my head I was like, ‘Just go, run.’”
Other standouts included Bloomingdale junior Andrew LeBlanc, who won 4A-2 boys titles in the 1,600 and 3,200, and ran a leg on the Bulls’ winning 4x800 relay team.
Hillsborough senior Jeremiah Green, who owns the nation’s best triple jump effort, navigated a short runway to win the 3A-2 title (51-4). He also won the 200 (21.71), placed second in the long jump (22-9) and finished fourth in the 100 (10.78).
The Wharton senior tandem of Mikayla Barber and Tyler Watson prevailed in the 4A-2 girls 100 and 300 hurdles, respectively. For the second meet in a row, each was runnerup in the hurdles event she didn’t win.
Watson also was fourth in the triple jump; both ran legs on the winning 4x400 relay team.
Class 4A, Region 2
Boys Team Results (top three): North Port 72, Newsome 70, Bradenton Manatee 53
Boys Individuals: 4x800 relay_Bloomingdale 8:05.53, Newsome 8:07.99, Countryside 8:08.37, Freedom 8:17.89; Discus_Aerion Caldwell (Wharton) 143-8.5, Tyler Webb (Plant) 142-1.75, William Glesge (North Port) 136-8.75, Jeremy Kerr (St. Petersburg) 136-3.75; Shot put_Derric Calloway (Manatee) 57-9.5, Jeremy Kerr (St. Petersburg) 47-5.75, Carson Steinberg (Newsome) 47-1, Willie Smith (S. Riverview) 46-8; High jump_Ibsen Marcial (North Port) 6-4, Luke Hogue (North Port) 6-4, William Taylor-Haynes (Alonso) 6-4, Connor Moore (Plant) 6-2; Long jump_Brandon Robinson (Alonso) 22-2, Artavis Scott (East Lake) 22-0, Gerard Trott (Bloomingdale) 21-8.5, David Thompson (TBT) 21-7; Triple jump_Artavis Scott (East Lake) 43-1, Richie James (S. Riverview) 42-4.5, Evenson Marcial (North Port) 42-3, Chris McAllister (Treasure Coast) 42-0.5; 110 hurdles_Ro'derick Spears (North Port) 14.13, William Taylor-Haynes (Alonso) 14.30, Caleb Chambliss (TBT) 14.44, Isreal Nelson (Treasure Coast) 14.64; 100_Brandon Carnes (Manatee) 10.49, Justin Williams (Treasure Coast) 10.68, Deontae Williams (TBT) 10.69, Chase McCoy (Riverview) 10.90; 1,600_Andrew LeBlanc (Bloomingdale) 4:24.88, Lars Benner (Newsome) 4:25.25, Jack Guyton (Plant) 4:28.13, Andrew Llewellyn (Countryside) 4:28.15; 400_Todd Jackson (Newsome) 49.35, Richie James (S. Riverview) 49.46, Robert Davis (Countryside) 50.09, Roosevelt Lawrence (Alonso) 50.15; 300 hurdles_Ro'derick Spears (North Port) 38.81, Caleb Chambliss (TBT) 39.06, Darryl Brooks (Manatee) 39.95, Darrien Kelly (Durant) 40.10; 800_Andrew LeBlanc (Bloomingdale) 1:57.61, Justin Martinez (Newsome) 1:57.82, Kevin Heron (Bloomingdale) 1:59.25, Kyle Groh (Plant) 1:59.74; 200_Brandon Carnes (Manatee) 21.69, Chase McCoy (Riverview) 21.92, Deontae Williams (TBT) 22.00, Tracy Watson (Durant) 22.20; 3,200_Paul McKenna (Countryside) 9:35.26, Lars Benner (Newsome) 9:44.79, Sam Chandler (St. Petersburg) 9:49.54, Bryce Weaver (Plant) 9:55.87
Girls Team Results (top 10): Plant 106, Freedom 80.5, Wharton 72, Sarasota Riverview 72, Vero Beach 47, Pinellas Park 36, Fort Pierce Central 1, Bloomingdale 30, Alonso 28, Riverview 25
Girls Individuals: 4x800 relay_Plant 9:35.58, Bloomingdale 9:49.29, Newsome 9:52.21, Freedom 10:03.13; Discus_Kehtura Merrick (S. Riverview) 116-2, Jasmine Laska (Pinellas Park) 115-3, Ty'china Bush (Plant City) 112-7, Alicia Morgan (Vero Beach) 110-2; Shot put_Alison Gollnick (S. Riverview) 39-4, Chanye Edwards (Vero Beach) 38-8.5, Ty'china Bush (Plant City) 37-1.5, Claire Benninghoff (Alonso) 35-1; High jump_Faith Woodard (Freedom) 5-8, Sandra Akachukwu (Freedom) 5-8, Anna Peyton Malizia (Plant) 5-0, Emma Robinson (Countryside) 5-0; Long jump_Sandra Akachukwu (Freedom) 19-3.5, Charisa Powell (S. Riverview) 17-3.5, Juhnae Richardson (S. Riverview) 16-11.5, Gabrielle Falco (S. Riverview) 16-11; Triple jump_Jimeka Fair (Fort Pierce Central) 36-0.5, Quatasia Fantroy (Alonso) 36-0, Victoria Jackson (Countryside) 35-4, Tyler Watson (Wharton) 35-1.25; 100 hurdles_Mikayla Barber (Wharton) 14.98, Tyler Watson (Wharton) 15.13, Maia Carter (Riverview) 15.69, Ruthy Simpson (Plant) 15.78; 100_Sandra Akachukwu (Freedom) 11.9, Deterrica Simpson (Pinellas Park) 12.08, Quamesha Dixon (Vero Beach) 12.18, Whidney Desormo (TBT) 12.30; 1,600_Scarlett Fox (Plant) 5:09.63, Caroline Gibson (Plant) 5:13.70, Annie Barrett (Bloomingdale) 5:16.41, Mariah Henderson (Wharton) 5:19.75; 4x100 relay_St. Petersburg 48.9, Fort Pierce Central 49.02, Tampa Bay Tech 49.46, East Lake 49.64; 400_Kayla Woulard (Vero Beach) 56.67, Faith Woodard (Freedom) 58.14, Stevondria Hardy (Wharton) 58.96, Morgan Speicher (Riverview) 1:01.08; 300 hurdles_Tyler Watson (Wharton) 44.44, Mikayla Barber (Wharton) 44.49, Ruthy Simpson (Plant) 45.99, Kayla Propst (Centennial) 46.75; 800_Julie Roggeman (Bloomingdale) 2:22.48, Olivia Suski (Seminole) 2:23.50, Kali Clemmer (Bloomingdale) 2:24.01, Caroline Bado (Plant) 2:24.44; 200_Sandra Akachukwu (Freedom) 24.57, Tiara Robinson (Fort Pierce Central) 25.19, Deterrica Simpkins (Pinellas Park) 25.27, Kayla Woulard (Vero Beach) 25.36; 3,200_Anna Montgomery (Plant) 11:30.62, Caroline Gibson (Plant) 11:30.83, Bailey Sullivan (Plant) 11:32.63; Julia Rodriguez (Plant) 11:34.45; 4x400 relay_Wharton 4:00.37, Freedom 4:05.60, Plant 4:05.84, Alonso 4:07.66
Photo caption: Hillsborough's Jorian Ordway