JACKSONVILLE — A second state title in the long jump beckoned Pasco's Janarion Grant as he prepared for his first attempt in his signature event at Saturday's Class 2A meet at UNF.
By the time he rocked back on his heels, sprinted down the runway and soared above the pit in the preliminaries, Grant established a mark that served as a warning shot to make sure the competitors behind him did not get any thoughts about overtaking him.
Grant's first jump in the preliminaries went 23 feet, 2 inches. No one else came close. Because preliminary jumps also count toward a title, Grant used the rest of his jumps, even in the finals, to try to top his personal record, which he set last year when he went 24-3 to win. Grant did not claim a new mark, but he did get another gold medal.
"I'm probably not showing it on my face, but I'm happy," the junior said. "I felt good on my first attempt. After that, I was able to just sit back and try to go for (a personal record)."
Grant was not the only boys state champion from Pasco County. In the 3,200 meters, Anclote's Argishti Gazari won in 9 minutes, 37.84 seconds.
Gazari entered the state meet with the top-seeded time in his signature event. But he said he felt ill after finishing third in the 1,600 (4:26.43).
"I was cramping, my arms didn't feel right," Gazari said. "I didn't know I would be able to do the (3,200)."
Gazari took the lead on the fourth lap and held off Robinson's Brian Sharp, who was on his heels, literally. "I kept feeling spike marks on the back of my feet from the guy behind me," Gazari said. "My shoes were starting to get torn. But I was able to hold him off."
Gazari's teammate, Spencer Guerette, was fourth in the 1,600 (4:28.97).
The county showed off its depth in the high jump with three of the top eight place winners. Ridgewood's Tony Hays was third (6-8), teammate Thomas Rodriguez took fifth (6-4) and Fivay's James Bullock finished eighth (6-2).
Nature Coast's 4x100 relay of Matthew Breida, Dominique Rawlins, Jacquez Kincade and Frank Villita took eighth in 42.90.
In the girls meet, Wesley Chapel's Courtney Pragnaman won her first state title in the high jump, clearing 5 feet, 6 inches.
Pragnaman was tied with Satellite's Jennie Carmody. Both missed their first three jumps at 5-6. Then it came down to a jump-off, where Pragnaman cleared the height on her first attempt.
"I was a little nervous," Pragnaman said. "I just wanted to get it done and be over. Once I saw the bar stay after I hit the mat, I knew that I won."
Pragnaman's teammate, Ravin Gilbert, was fifth in the 100 (12.43).
Gulf's 4x800 relay of Kari Grippo, Katie Buckman, Mia Savino and Renee Patnode were fifth in 9:49.42.
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.