JACKSONVILLE — It is rare that a region champion who owns the top time is considered the underdog in his event, but that was Mario Ojeda’s lot in the 800 meters at Friday’s Class A state meet.
Overshadowed by Northside Christian teammate Matthew Montanari, last year’s state runnerup in the event, Ojeda commandeered the spotlight by staying ahead of Montanari to win in 1 minute, 56.10 seconds. Montanari was caught at the last minute and finished third in 1:56.37.
“It’s tough because we’re teammates and we both wanted to win,” Ojeda said. “We both know we wouldn’t have been in this position if weren’t teammates and pushing each other every day in practice.”
Ojeda stayed within striking distance of Montanari. In the final lap, Ojeda reeled him in by unleashing his kick.
“We know each other so well that we know our strengths and weaknesses,” Ojeda said. “Matthew is faster; I have a stronger base. I just had to stay on his tail and wear out his legs.”
Ojeda and Montanari also teamed with Lucio Ojeda and Joe Chapman to finish third in the 4x800 in 8:02.17.
They helped Northside finish sixth overall with 25 points.
Clearwater Central Catholic’s Diquan Walker was runnerup in the long jump (21-9½). He teamed with Justin Goodloe, Devon Garnett and Jared Brown to finish fifth in the 4x100 relay (43.00).
St. Petersburg Catholic’s Ryan Green also was runnerup in the 100 (11.04). Two of Green’s teammates, Todd Macon and Michael Rusnak, were seventh in the long jump (21-2½) and 400 (50.5), respectively.
Northside Christian’s Jeffrey Golden was sixth in the triple jump (43-8½). CCC’s Ben Kieler was eighth in the high jump (6-0). And Admiral Farragut’s Dontae McGee was eighth in the 110 hurdles (15.28).
Indian Rocks Christian’s 4x100 team of Sean Culkin, Vinny Capobianco, Brady Christensen and Michael Cavonis took fifth in 3:26.24.
Northside Christian’s girls team missed out on a state team title, finishing third with 52 points, the highest placement among county teams.
As usual, the Mustangs were led by their seniors. Katelyn Greenleaf finished her stellar distance career by taking second in the 1600 meters (5:01.11) and sixth in the 800 (2:19.71).
The Mustangs’ Asia Olds was second in the 200 (25.43), fourth in the long jump (18-0¾) and sixth in the 100 (12.57). Victoria Goodwin was fourth in the 300 hurdles (46.75) and fifth in the triple jump (34-8). Sarah Schultz was seventh in the triple jump (33-11 ¾).
In the 4x400, Olds, Schultz, Ashley Johnson and Goodwin were third in the 4x400 in 4:02.74.
The Mustangs 4x800 relay team of Greenleaf, Ashley Johnson, Sarah Schultz and Haley Gossard finished fifth in 9:43.88.
Admiral Farragut’s Brittany McGee was second in the long jump (18-5½), third in the 100 hurdles (15.03) and fifth in the high jump (5-2).
Calvary Christian’s Jessica Maggio was runnerup in the 100 hurdles (14.90). Teammate Destiny Jenkins was fourth in the 100 (12.55). Jess Stewart, Lizze Brunnicki, Christine Marino and Kasey Howard placed fourth for the Warriors in the 4x100 in 50.42.
Calvary’s Logan Thiel battled a quadriceps strain to take sixth in the 200 (26.13). She also teamed with Howard, Maggio and Brunnicki to finish as runnerup in the 4x400 (4:01.78).
Clearwater Central Catholic’s Kelly Shanahan was sixth in the 300 hurdles (45.88). And Indian Rocks Christian’s 4x400 team of Tori Trador, Kristen Brown, Alex Buchanan and Bobbi LaBrant was eighth in 4:09.34.
For complete results, go here.