HARMONY — Jeff Leavy hopped a chain-link fence in his hurry to get closer to his runners.
Mitchell's coach, the man often shouting demands for more from his runners, finally seemed satisfied.
Four Mustangs ran personal bests at Thursday's 3A-2 region meet, including Kelli Williams. Williams finished the 1,600 in 5:11.94 followed by Wiregrass Ranch's Ariel Grey, who pulled ahead in the final 75 yards for second place (5:14.76), and Gulf's Colleen McAuliffe 5:20.38.
Williams also staked a claim to the 800 title (2:18.76) followed by Springstead's Jackie White (2:19.26).
Another huge Mitchell victory came in the boys 400 where sophomore Tyler Ross pushed his chest out at the right time to win with a stunning 49.01, earning a huge cheer from Leavy.
Other significant Mustangs performances included Ricky Trinidad's second-place finish in the 200 (22.11) and Jeff Wakefield's third-place finish in the 300 hurdles (40.76).
"It's about running a program that's set for both kinds of athletes," Leavy said. "This (region) is more about the apex athletes.
"To me, the proudest part of it is will you organize a program that's there for elite athletes and the lunch box athletes? The answer is if you win conference and qualify this many athletes, yes."
Ridgewood's Karissa Bertling, fresh off a perfect performance of four district titles, had another strong showing Thursday, winning the 200 (28.49), 400 (57.01) and placing second in the 100 (12.19).
"I think I had an awesome performance tonight," Bertling said. "I really wasn't expecting to win everything; I wanted my times to drop. I think that's what I achieved."
Nature Coast's 4x100 relay entered the race as the top seed and fell by 1/100th of a second, finishing in 49.01, a hair behind Lakeland (49.00).
It was a humbling afternoon for the Sharks' sprinters, who dominated districts. Nature Coast junior Ja'Juan Story, who made it look so easy last week, finished fourth in the 100 (10.84) and third in the 200 (22.32).
Central's Raqurra Ishmar had a solid afternoon in field events, winning the shot put (41-0.5) and taking second in the discus (124.07). Land O'Lakes' Nicole Woodard advanced in two events, finishing second in the long jump (17-5) and third in the high jump (5-4).
Springstead's 4x800 relay of White, Sasha Spalding, Kailey Genrich and Mikayla Bogulski won with a time of 9:45.89.
And in the final event of the night, Wiregrass Ranch's Alex Kazanski won the pole vault with a mark of 14-6.
In team competition, Nature Coast's boys and Wiregrass Ranch's girls each finished in third place.