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The top sprinter in the bay area barely made it out of the starting blocks -- literally -- at today's Hillsborough County Championships at Jefferson High.
Hillsborough senior Terrence "T-Rex" Mitchell, a USF football signee, was disqualified for using improper language following an incident at the end of the 100-meter prelims Tuesday afternoon, Jefferson athletic director Bob Morgan confirmed.
Mitchell stumbled out of the starting block and pulled up roughly 30 meters into the race, later indicating his starting block had slipped. Mitchell and Hillsborough coach Joe Sipp appeared to have a heated exchange with the race official near the starting line at the end of the race.
Mitchell, whose team finished third in his absence, had no comment as he headed toward the parking lot. His status for the postseason now appears in peril.
According to FHSAA rules, a student-athlete ejected for an unsportsmanlike act or flagrant foul is ineligible for the remainder of that contest and no fewer than the next two contests. For Hillsborough, that would include the Class 3A, District 9 meet at Armwood on April 23.
If Mitchell is ineligible for districts, he can't qualify for the region or state meets. Mitchell may appeal any penalty issued by the FHSAA once it receives a report of the incident.
"I'm worried a lot," Sipp said. "A guy like T-Rex, he's been running track four years and playing football four years and he's never been a problem. What they accused him of, that's just not his character."
Mitchell's time in the 100 (10.49) is among the state's fastest this year. Before his disqualification, he won the long jump. He also anchors the Terriers' 4x100-meter relay team that entered Tuesday's meet with the county's best time of the season.
Photo: Hillsborough senior Terrence "T-Rex" Mitchell waits to hear his fate at the Hillsborough County Championships as officials behind him deliberate.