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Track: Nature Coast boys, girls sweep Hornet Invitational

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Thu. March 13, 2014 | Derek J. LaRiviere

Track: Nature Coast boys, girls sweep Hornet Invitational

WEEKI WACHEE — Nature Coast continued its North Suncoast dominance with a sweep of the boys and girls team titles Thursday at the Hornet Invitational.

Weeki Wachee hosted the 11-team meet because Hernando’s track wasn’t suitable because of wear.

The Sharks boys (144.5 points) took first over runnerup Springstead (95) thanks to three individual event victories, including two from standout distance runner James Harkless. The senior took first in both the 800 and 1,600-meter runs in 2 minutes, 3 seconds and 4:45, respectively.

“It was a pretty good day with the weather,” Harkless said. “(This win) is definitely important because there are a bunch of teams from our district here, and we want to come back and be district champs again.”

The third key win came from freshman Brian Haygood in the 200, running a personal best in 23.45 seconds.

Springstead’s Tyler Mahla also won two events, the 110 (16.15) and 300 hurdles (42.60). Defending state champion Bobby Harris also won for the Eagles, leaping 6 feet, 6 inches in the high jump.

Wiregrass Ranch’s Leon Tilman won the 100 in 11.46 seconds, while Hernando’s Connor Foradas won the discus with a toss of 137 feet, 7 inches.

With 157.5 points, the Sharks won the girls’ championship over Lecanto in large part because of the sprinting abilities of sisters Ashley and Alicia Gentz. Ashley won the 100 in 12.73 seconds, while Alicia beat her sister in the 200 with a time of 26.69. The duo also contributed to Nature Coast’s 4x100 relay victory, the third and final event win for the Sharks.

Hernando’s Jasha Patrick (16.49) won the 100 hurdles, and Desiree Nathe took the lone title for Bishop McLaughlin, winning the high jump (5-2). Springstead’s Erin Blackwell produced a season-best time of 2:26 in winning the 800, and Eagles teammate Ty’Rhonza Harris took the triple jump (32-11).

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