WINTER PARK — He knew it from the moment he landed.
Josh Burch thumped the long-jump board and took off like he meant it. The Admiral Farragut sophomore fell forward on his next to last jump at the Class A state meet Friday. He didn't need the distance to be posted. He knew it was good enough to win.
Burch rose, and slowly his fists started pumping. The distance soon posted: 22 feet, 8½ inches. Burch already had the lead. Now he was pretty sure he had his first state title — so much that he passed on his final leap.
The mark stood.
"I just felt it," Burch said. "I knew it was a good jump."
Burch wasn't finished. In the triple jump, he stood sixth before his final attempt. Then he uncorked a leap of 44-91/2 to leapfrog four others for second.
"I hit the mark perfect in the triple," Burch said. "I just blasted out there."
Calvary Christian's Joe Cathey capped off his career by winning his first state title in the 3,200 meters.
Trailing Melbourne Holy Trinity's Kyle Cooke through most of the race, Cathey took the lead in the final 150 meters and won in 9 minutes, 26.99 seconds.
"It's a relief to finally win," Cathey said. "I thought I might be able to in cross country before I got injured. I'm just glad I was able to get a state title before I was finished."
Northside Christian's Tyler Stowell, who was undefeated in the 300 hurdles entering the meet, had his streak snapped when he stumbled on the final hurdle and was nicked at the finish line by one-hundredth of a second.
"I just didn't hit the last hurdle in stride," said Stowell, who ran the event in 39.83. "I thought I had enough speed, but it just wasn't enough."
Stowell took third in the 110 hurdles.
In the 4x400 relay, Indian Rocks Christian's boys were fifth (3:30.82), followed by Northside Christian in seventh (3:33.08) and Admiral Farragut in eighth (3:33.13). The county's other boy to place was the Blue Jackets' Noah Silverberg, sixth in the discus (128-11).
In the girls field, Shorecrest's Samantha Specht had a strong performance. The junior was second in the triple jump (36-11/2) and 400 (58.65). She was fourth in the 200 (26.39) and fifth in the long jump (16-10).
"The girls ahead of me were amazing," Specht said. "They deserved to win. I can't complain. I'm happy with what I was able to do."
Northside Christian's Katelyn Greenleaf dropped out of the 1,600 to concentrate on the 3,200, taking fifth in a personal-best 11:23.
Admiral Farragut's Erica Bolline finished her career by placing fifth in the triple jump (34-7¼) and seventh in the high jump (5-0) and long jump (16-5½).
Northside Christian's 4x800 relay was fifth (9:49), and its 4x400 relay was seventh (4:14.55).
Bob Putnam can be reached at
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