WINTER PARK — Saturday turned out not to be the record-setter Wesley Chapel's Hunter Joyer had hoped for.
Still, Joyer's performance was a fitting cap to a storied high school career for the Wildcats senior.
Joyer, a University of Florida football signee, entered the Class 2A state track and field meet at Winter Park's Showalter Field as the No. 1 seed in the shot put after qualifying with a throw of 62 feet, 4 inches at region.
In fact, Joyer had the best throw among all athletes in the state this season. With just one high school meet to go before heading off to college, Joyer was attempting to break the state mark of 65 feet, 8 1/4 inches set by Charlotte's Wes Stockbarger in 2004.
Joyer fell a few feet shy. His top effort Saturday was 61 feet, 1 inch, not a state record but plenty enough to walk away with his second state title in a row in the event. Last year, Joyer recorded a distance of 57 feet, 2 1/4 inches to take gold as a junior at Tampa Catholic.
"I was trying to beat at least my personal best, so I was a little disappointed," Joyer said. "But I'm fine with that."
On the final throw of the preliminary round, Joyer appeared to at least match that personal best from last week, but he fouled after grazing the top of the stopboard on his follow-through.
"It was definitely out there," he said.
Pasco sophomore Janarion Grant also won a gold medal for the North Suncoast, clearing 24 feet, 3 1/2 inches to take the long jump title. The effort was a personal best for Grant, and the first time he reached 24 feet.
Grant was, in part, spurred on by watching his competitors train before the event.
"When we were warming up, I saw guys jumping 23 feet," Grant said. "I knew then I'd have to bring it. That got me excited."
Grant surpassed the 24-foot mark on his first jump.
"I was ready," he said.
Wesley Chapel's Ravin Gilbert made the girls finals in both the 100-meter dash and 200-meter dash. Gilbert, a junior, ran 12.72 seconds to place seventh in the 100. She was also seventh in the 200 (25.18).
Argishti Gazari made the podium in the boys 3,200-meter run. The Anclote junior placed seventh in 9 minutes, 57.41 seconds. Pasco's Anthony Plourde, who entered the 3,200 as the second seed, dropped out of the race as he approached the final lap.
Tallahassee Godby won its second straight Class 2A boys team championship with 65 points, beating Orlando Jones (47). Pasco and Wesley Chapel tied for 21st after each gathered 10 points.
The American Heritage Plantation girls also defended its team title, gaining 92 points. Lake Wales (50) was second. Wesley Chapel was the only North Suncoast girls team to place, tying for 36th with four points.