JACKSONVILLE — Since 1996, the first year girls competed at state in the pole vault, Hillsborough County has owned the event with eight titles.
At Saturday's Class 2A meet at the University of North Florida, Tampa Catholic's Annie Harwig was on the verge of becoming the ninth.
Through the preliminaries and finals, Harwig and Episcopal School's Emily Smithwick were catapulting past the rest of their competitors. They were tied at 11 feet, 6 inches when the bar was raised to 12. They each missed their three attempts at that height.
But Harwig missed out on her first state title because of an officiating quirk.
The title came down not only to misses but when they happened. Smithwick won because her first miss came at a lower height (10 feet) than Harwig (11 feet).
"I thought it was the other way around," Harwig said. "But it turns out, that's not the case. I wish we could have a jump-off at a lower height."
Still, Harwig was pleased with her finish, considering she set a personal best by 6 inches.
"I'm so happy with what I was able to do," Harwig said. "My dream height would have been to be able to go 12 feet. I knew that it would be tough to go a foot higher than I've ever gone before. I was close on a few attempts. Now, it's just time to move on to the next level."
Academy of the Holy Names shined in the distance events, with Colleen Doherty finishing fifth in the 3,200 meters (11 minutes, 34.97 seconds) and sixth in the 1,600 (5:13.54). Doherty's teammate, Ryann McEnany, was seventh in the long jump (17-7½). The only other girls athlete from the county to place was Berkeley Preps' Addi Harden, who was seventh in the discus (117-1).
The bay area's other girls state champion was Wesley Chapel's Courtney Prengaman in the high jump (5-6).
Overall, the girls meet belonged to Miami Jackson's Robin Reynolds, who broke the state record in the long jump with a leap of 20-6¼, which also is the best outdoor mark in the nation this season. Reynolds also won the 100 (11.88) and 400 (52.59) to finish her career with 14 state titles in individual events, breaking the record of 13 set by North Palm Benjamin's Julian Reynolds (no relation) from 1990-95.
In the boys meet, Robinson's Brian Sharp had the county's best finish in an individual event, taking second in the 3,200 in 9:44.92.
Tampa Catholic's Taylor Timmons was seventh in the shot put (49-8¾). The Crusaders' Ken Mention was fifth in the 400 (48.97) and teamed with Daniel Fasani, Pete Martinez and Nathan Nammour to finish eighth in the 4x800 (8:07.76).
Lakewood was the bay area's dominant boys team at the 2A meet, finishing fifth overall with 28 points. The Spartans were led by Shaquem Griffin, who won the triple jump (48-4½) and the 4x400 relay where he teamed with his twin brother Shaquill, Raymon Cleveland and Tim Holmes to win in 3 minutes, 20.60 seconds, one-hundredth of a second ahead of Pahokee.
Other bay area boys champions were Pasco's Janarion Grant, who defended his title in the long jump (23-2), and Anclote's Argishti Gazari, who won a close 3,200-meter final (9:37.84).