JACKSONVILLE — Spoto middle distance runner Janae Caldwell brought home Hillsborough County’s lone state title in the Class 3A/4A state meet on Saturday.
No county team could challenge Miami Northwestern, which in 3A earned its seventh straight team title and 11th overall. The Bulls scored 154 to runnerup Miami Carol City’s 37. Thanks to Caldwell, Spoto (15 points) was the county’s top 3A girls finisher, in 13th place.
Caldwell was the 3A champion at 400 meters. She ran the top qualifying time in prelims, then blasted the final turn in the final.
“After that first turn, I knew I had it,” Caldwell said. “My problem has been my start, I’d been losing races at the beginning.”
Caldwell won in 55.50 to improve on her runnerup finish from a year ago. Chamberlain freshman Savyon Toombs finished fifth at 56.87. Caldwell was also fourth in the 200 (25.22).
Gaither senior Rachel Cazares battled a familiar field in the girls 800, with four of the top five finishers from a week earlier taking the top spots at state. Like last week, Cazares came out strong and led until the final turn, where Sarasota’s Emily Harding surged past. Cazares finished third in a scorching 2:15.61, almost two seconds faster than the region meet.
Hillsborough’s Jada Roberson (12.26) was fourth in the 100 and Toombs (25.46) was sixth in the 200. Middleton senior Deja Rodgers was fifth (12.32) and seventh (25.48), respectively, in those events.
Roberson also claimed third in the girls long jump at 16 feet, 9-3/4 inches.
In 4A, Wharton freshman Bryanna Rivers helped the girls take fourth in the 4x800 relay in 9:34.35, just ahead of rival Steinbrenner, and was sixth in the 800 in 2:15.63.
Ashley Wilson of Freedom nabbed third in discus at 126-8, more than seven feet better than her region mark. Ty’china Bush of Plant City was eighth. Riverview’s Maia Carter secured sixth in the 100 hurdles at 15.02. Plant distance duo Bailey Sullivan and Anna Montgomery finished fifth and seventh, respectively, in the 4A 3,200.
Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas won the 4A title with 109.5 points. Wharton (10 points) was the top county finisher, in a tie for 17th.