WINTER PARK — With several hours between races Saturday, diminutive Countryside senior Ricy Brown returned to his room at the team's nearby hotel, downed a couple of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and visualized.
Over and over in his mind, he raced the upcoming 800 meters at the Class 4A state track meet.
"I kept, like, (picturing) it over and over," Brown said. "That's all I was doing."
Turned out, the race he ran in his brain paled next to the one he ran on the Bob Mosher Track at Showalter Field.
Starting in Lane 2, Brown dictated the tempo at the outset and held off a furious surge by Altamonte Springs Lake Brantley's Otniel Teixeira to win in exactly one-hundredth of a second. His official time of 1 minute, 53.46 seconds was a school record.
"I'm amazed right now," said Brown, who exited Winter Park with three medals. "I turned around, the one dude from Lake Brantley was there, and I was like, 'Oh my gosh.' I turned my head and just tried to throw everything toward it."
Brown's mesmerizing effort highlighted the Pinellas County performances on a clear, cloudless Central Florida day. He also anchored the Cougars' 4x800-meter relay that placed fifth in a personal-best 7:56.21, and ran the third leg on the 4x400 relay that was sixth (3:19.48).
The Cougars, who won the region team title, placed seventh.
In an intense pole vault competition bedecked with bay area talent, Pinellas Park's Eddie Galan finished second, matching the 15-foot effort he nailed to win a region title 10 days before. Champion Brian Baird of Plant also reached 15 feet, but he won the title via fewer misses.
Countryside's Parker Polgar was third (14-6); Northeast's Tyler Burrows tied for fifth (14-0).
"It was definitely exciting and really nerve-racking," Galan said. "I'm definitely glad with the way it came out. I had so much fun. It was just a joy to be here."
Other local boys placers: Countryside's Derek Messmore (seventh in 400), Seminole's Chase Sutton (seventh in 1,600), St. Petersburg's Emmanuel Watkins (eighth in shot put) and the Green Devils' 4x100 relay (sixth).
Clearwater's Courtney O'Donoghue was the only Pinellas County girls placer, seventh in the pole vault.