HUDSON — The Sunshine Athletic Conference at Fivay upheld last year’s verdicts as the Wiregrass Ranch girls ran away with the title for a fifth straight year Thursday. The Bulls racked up 151 points to second-place Ridgewood’s 90.5.
The margin would have been greater had Nikita Shah run out the 3,200 meters. Shah, the meet record holder and defending champion from last year in the 3,200, elected to focus on the 1,600. She repeated in 5:14, but not without a strong challenge from Mitchell senior Claudia Cancello (5:15.69).
The boys competition was a different story. Land O’Lakes sought to defend its team title but was in a three-way mishmash with Pasco and Wiregrass Ranch late in the day. Once Pasco’s 4x100 team won, the scoring dried up and it became a two-horse race between Land O’Lakes and Wiregrass.
The Bulls pulled ahead, 101.33-98, heading into the 3,200 and 4x400. Then the Gators pulled ahead as Tyler Stahl (9:55.32) and Jake Poore (10:23.06) took first and third in the 3,200. The Gators have a pole vaulter left to compete today so they needed to keep the lead through the 4x400 to secure the title. They delivered in form as they set a 4x400 record for the group and finished second behind Ridgewood.
Wiregrass finished fourth. The final from Thursday was Land O’Lakes 122, Wiregrass 115.33 and the Gators can add to that today.
Individual accomplishments rivaled the fantastic team finish. Pasco freshman Alfreda Steele won the triple crown by taking first in the 100 (12.37), 200 (26.00) and long jump (16 feet, 11 inches).
“There are freshmen that can win these (conference titles),” Pirates coach Norman Graham said. “There just aren’t many that can win in three events.”
Anclote senior Spencer Guerette won the 1,600 (4:30.36) and 800 (2:01.23). Guerette got a late challenge in the 800 from Wiregrass Ranch’s Ermias Bireda, but his signature win came in the 1,600.
“People usually try to run the last 400 fast; I try to run the last 500 fast,” Guerette said. “That’s kind of my trick.”
It was Bireda again challenging Guerette on the last lap of the 1,600, but with 200 left, Guerette just shifted into another gear.
The Gators’ Hallie Grimes repeated as champion in the 400 in 59.24. Mitchell’s Michael Tancreti won the 200 in 22.99 and placed third in the 100 (11.27). Sunlake’s Eddie Burgos won a photo finish in the 100 in 11.08 and placed second in the 200 (23.40).
Wiregrass senior Elijah Boston set a personal record and took first in the discus with a throw of 143-04. River Ridge senior Brittany O’Leary took first in shot (36-11) and third in discus (93-7.25).