WINTER PARK — Rayshawn Jenkins wiggled his arms and bounced lightly on his toes like a boxer before the bell. He was among eight 110-meter hurdlers who crouched and waited for the pistol Friday in the Class A state final.
The Admiral Farragut Academy junior’s legs sliced over the first three hurdles as crisply as scissors. Navigating the next three became treacherous. Jenkins was building up speed but he was not maintaining a good rhythm.
Then he felt the shoe on his right foot, his lead leg, loosen.
By the seventh hurdle, it flew off.
Jenkins went through the final three hurdles attempting to solve a complex physics equation of running and high-stepping at top speed without crashing.
He did it, lunging across the finish line in 14.92 seconds to win his second straight title in his signature event.
“That’s never happened to me before,” Jenkins said. “I always make sure my shoes are tied on tight before a race. I could feel it coming off and I almost fell when it did. But I was able to keep my balance and win.
“I was fortunate.”
It was not as if Jenkins needed any reminders of how precarious it is to be a high hurdler. Though Jenkins is a junior, he has already had to deal with surprises in state meets.
Last year, Jenkins finished as runnerup in the 300 hurdles after the defending champion, who appeared to be in control, clipped the penultimate hurdle and tumbled in the preliminaries.
But the reminders poured in just the same Friday at Winter Park’s Showalter Field.
“I’ve never seen anything like the race Rayshawn won,” Blue Jackets coach Phil Barnhill said. “To lose a shoe and still clear the last three hurdles and win is pretty amazing.”
Jenkins also was fifth in the long jump (22-5) and sixth in the triple jump (43-9). In the 4x100 relay, he teamed with Napolean Maxwell, Cortavious Givens and Robert Goddard to finish sixth in 43.88 seconds. The Blue Jackets’ David Dang was second in the high jump with a personal-best leap of 6 feet, 6 inches.
Northside Christian’s 4x800 relay team of Matthew Montenari, Joe Chapman, Garet Marr and Mario Ojeda was runnerup in 8 minutes, 8.09 seconds. Montenari was second in the 800 (1:57.50) and Ojeda was third (1:58.46).
On the girls side, Northside Christian finished third overall with 47 points. Jennica Mullins was the Mustangs’ highest place-winner, taking second in the high jump with a leap of 5-2.
Asia Olds was third in the 200 and teamed with Mullins, Jackie Vanderbleek and Ariana Taylor to finish third in the 4x100 in 50.83.
Northside Christian’s 4x800 relay team of Sarah Schultz, Haley Gossard, Ashley Johnson and Katelyn Greenleaf finished third in 9:38.46.
Greenleaf dropped out of the 1,600 to concentrate on the 800 and finished fourth in 2:19.51. The other big point-scorer for the Mustangs was Victoria Goodwin, who was fourth in the 300 hurdles (46.79), fifth in the triple jump (35-0) and sixth in the 100 hurdles (15.65).
Admiral Farragut’s Destini Oglesby was second in the discus (133-8) and fifth in the shot put (38-2) with personal-best throws in each event.