WINTER PARK — Howie Williams sat beneath the afternoon sun roasting in the stands and clapping for his teammates.
The Nature Coast senior's career was officially in the books.
Still unsure of his next step — he's hoping to play college sports somewhere — Williams talked about his last at the Class 2A state track and field meet Saturday at Showalter Field.
"Last year I missed out on a medal by one spot," Williams said. "This year I got two medals. I'm extremely proud of myself for that."
Nature Coast brought home more medals than it had in its history, but Saturday's state meet was a day full of missed opportunities. The Sharks boys were 22nd behind Monsignor Pace, and the Sharks girls were 29th behind Jacksonville Raines.
Williams, who completed just his second track season, medaled in the long and triple jumps with distances of 22 feet, 1 inch (eighth) and 44-6.75 (seventh), respectively. The jumps were disappointing, particularly the triple, considering he was seeded third with a personal record of 46-81/2 that earned him a region title.
The 6-foot-4, 178-pound Williams said he couldn't focus after arriving about a half-hour before the long jump.
But the accomplishment of taking two medals more than made up for missing out on one at last year's meet by one placing.
"I think if I would have had one good jump, a PR (personal record), I would have had to make them jump as far as they could," Williams said.
Sharks junior Antwan Story finished fourth in the 100 meters (11.03 seconds) and eighth in the 200 (23.96) pulling up at the finish with a bum hamstring.
And the Sharks' 4x800 relay missed a medal by 0.03 of a second with a time of 8 minutes, 8.00 seconds.
The most exhilarating moment was watching Sharks junior Danielle Doucet overtake a pair of runners to help her 4x400 relay to the top finish in the first heat. They finished sixth in the final (4 minutes, 3.24 seconds).
Other finishers included Nature Coast sophomore Gabriela Amarchand, who was 15th in the high jump (5 feet).
Wiregrass Ranch senior Elyse Houston finished ninth in the long jump (17 feet, 61/2 inches), teammates Kelsey Sturman was 12th in the 400 (1:00.04) and Ariel Grey was 12th in the 1,600 (5:35.64).
The Wiregrass Ranch girls 4x800 relay finished 13th (10:01.19).
Zephyrhills' girls 4x100 finished seventh (49.37).
Izzy Gould can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3458.