TAMPA — In one of the first events of the day at the Class 4A, Region 2 meet at Leto on Wednesday, the Countryside boys edged Bloomingdale in the 4x800 relay to win in 8:05.04.
The final event of the day would see the Pinellas County excitement climax as the Cougars trailed North Port by fewer than four points. A blistering effort from the 4x400 relay team, including a blazing fast anchor leg from Robert Davis, sealed the event win for the Cougars (3:21.45). But North Port battled into second place to keep the overall team lead and win 60.33 points to Countryside's 59.
"I couldn't ask any more of them; they ran out of their minds today," Cougars coach Eileen Givens said.
Davis also set a person record in winning the 400 meters (48.88), just edging out Newsome's Todd Jackson.
"I told him his 48 was coming," Givens said. "It's the little things when it comes to this point."
Davis' teammate, Andrew Llewellyn, ran a scorching 4:19.89 in the 1,600 — a person record — but Plant's Jack Guyton won it with a 4:16.52, now the top mark in the state. Llewellyn also qualified in the 3,200, placing third. Teammates Jordan Santa-Maria and Billy Fitch grabbed the third and fourth state qualifying spots in the 800.
East Lake's George Campbell ran the fastest qualifying time in the 100 (10.70), then went on to win the finals in 10.69. It will be Campbell's first trip to the state finals. Teammate Chigozie Atavwigho won the 110 hurdles in 14.59 but wound up sixth in the 300 hurdles. On the girls side, Cienna Nichols placed third in the 200. The East Lake boys finished 11th with 23 points, and the girls were ninth with 34 points.
The St. Petersburg boys won the 4x100 relay (42.54) and Pinellas Park grabbed fourth. The East Lake girls claimed the fourth qualifying spot in the 4x800.
Class 3A-3 at Leto: Osceola senior Carson Waters soared to new heights, clearing 15-6, setting a personal record and tying the third-best jump in the state so far this season, according to Flrunners.com. Waters nailed it on his first try at the winning height.
"Sixteen (feet) always felt distant, but I was so close when I tried it," Waters said. "It was my first time trying 16 feet; it was a little intimidating."
Teammate Jennifer Kistemaker won the pole vault at 11-0 with a torn ACL, trying four different poles and with a shorter approach.
"I personally have never seen courage like that back from a potential season-ending injury and on an approach with multiple poles to win the region," 727 Pole Vault Club coach Dave Mason said. "I had to stop her at 11 feet, she wanted to go again."
The Warrior boys finished 17th with 16 points; Sarasota High edged Cape Coral Ida S. Baker 40 to 39 for the team title. The Osceola girls were 16th with 17 points; Lakewood Ranch ran away with the team title with 77.
Largo high jumper Deterio Petite grabbed the third qualifying spot, clearing 6-4. That was also the winning height, but Petite settled for third based on number of scratches. Teammate Daisha Brown placed second in the girls triple jump (36-9), just an inch-and-a-half off the winning mark.
Micah Forbes of Boca Ciega grabbed third in the boys triple jump at 45-7. Freshman teammate Jacoya Byrd grabbed the fourth qualifying spot in the girls 300 hurdles (46.57).
Osceola's Jeanna Cube finished third in the girls high jump at 5-2.
Clearwater's Erin Avers qualified in a scorching girls 800 race, taking fourth in 2:18.04, where the top five times were all under 2:20.