TAMPA — Forget fastest runner in the state.
Chamberlain senior Dentarius Locke can now tout being the fastest runner in the nation.
The Chiefs' speedster won the 100- and 200-meter dashes with blistering times of 10.31 and 20.81, respectively. His 100 is among the nation's top five and his 200 stands alone.
"I PR'd (personal record) big time today," Locke said. "…I'm excited. …My long-term goal is to get to the Olympics."
Trying to win state titles next week for Locke is a given. He'd also like to break state records.
But Thursday was about the national spotlight, and Locke said he looks at the national rankings daily. He can give various directions along the Internet road maps to sites that keep those times updated.
Locke shared the sprint spotlight with teammate Amanda Leland, who a year ago did not make the region final and recently took visits to Kentucky and Central Florida.
This year she won the 100 (12.10) and 200 (25.45).
"I was crushed," Leland said of last year's performance in her first year of running. "This year I wanted to come back and make my name known, show people I really can run."
Sickles distance star Derek Wehunt also won the 1,600 and 3,200 with blazing times of 4:18.19 and 9:20.33.
Hillsborough County teams fared well. For the girls, Gaither finished second (54) followed by East Bay (50.5) and Plant City (44). The boys saw Sickles finish third with 61.5 points followed by Durant in sixth (36) and Chamberlain in eighth (31).
Other county girls winners included Gaither senior Morgan Scherschel, who pole vaulted 11 feet, East Bay sophomore Nakia Love, who triple jumped 36 feet, 8 inches, and Gaither's 4x800 team (9:54.12). Durant sophomore Grace VanDeGrift won the 1,600 (5:22.62) and freshman teammate Trinity Thompson won the 400 (59.20).
Izzy Gould can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3458