The quickest, most athletic shoes in the state rest below beds of Hillsborough County kids.
They hug the feet of local stars helping to carry some to top marks in Florida, and in one case the nation.
On Friday and Saturday, those athletes will be on display at Winter Park challenging for the state's top prize — championship medallions and the satisfaction of battling with their peers to be the best.
Best in show
Dentarius Locke, Chamberlain (100, 200): The speedster recently set the national record in the 200 (10.81) and posted the fifth-fastest time in the 100 (10.31), according to Dyestat. As top seed in both events, Locke hopes to break state championship records, including the 100 (10.37) set in 2007 by former Groveland South Lake star Jeff Demps, and the 200 (20.62) set in 2004 by former Coral Springs star Walter Dix.
Amani Bryant, Wharton (long jump, 100 and 300 hurdles, 4x400): Bryant has the chance to do something very special — win three individual titles and take a fourth gold as the anchor on Wharton's 4x400 team. It won't be easy. Bryant's time in the 300 hurdles (43.39) looks untouchable with no one else in 3A breaking the 43-second barrier. In the long jump, however, she won with a leap of 18-13/4 last week while Miami Jackson's Robin Reynolds went 19-3 to win the 4A-4 title. In the 100 hurdles Bryant took first in 14.88, but Escambia's Sharpec Anderson won at Region 1 in 14.68. Pine Forest and Miami Jackson posted faster times in the 4x800. Wharton's 4x800 relay team, anchored by John Grellner, is the only one in Class 3A to go under 8 minutes.
Terrence "T-Rex" Mitchell, Hillsborough (long jump, triple jump, 300 hurdles): The high-flying Mitchell comes in as the clear favorite in both jumping events, the top seed in each. He won both at Punta Gorda Charlotte in last week's region meet. His long jump (24-21/2) tied for 18th in the nation, his triple jump (47-83/4) among the top 35 in the country. The closest competitors are Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas' Cody Riggs (23-6) and Palm Beach Dwyer's Junior Cadet (45-111/2) in the triple jump. Mitchell could claim key points in the those events in Hillsborough's bid to win a team title. He also is a favorite in the 300 hurdles (38.54).
Lindsey Lamar, Hillsborough (100, 200, 400): Lamar won the 100 (10.69), 400 (48.85) and 200 (21.85) at regionals, but those out of the 3A-1 region will deliver the competition at state in all three races — East Side's John Little (10.61 in the 100), Jacksonville Lee's Joshua Edmonds (47.95 in the 400) and Tallahassee Lincoln's Pat Olschleger (21.80 in the 200). Lamar is among the top seeds in those races but will need his best day on the track to win a title. Armwood's Khiry McQuay (21.98) and Northeast's Juarez Wynn (21.99) also should contend in the 200.
Derek Wehunt, Sickles (1,600, 3,200): Wehunt's time last week in the 3,200 (9:20.33) was nearly 15 seconds better than Niceville's Christian Ritacco (9:35.02). The 1,600 could be a little closer with Wehunt running 4:18.19 last week and Miami Columbus' Armando Del Valle posting a 4:19.02. Wehunt holds the fifth-best 1,600 time in the nation, set at the Florida Relays (4:11.14) last month.
Other title contenders
• Durant's John Mitchell is the top seed in the 800 (1:55.91) and will battle Sickles' Daniel Wehunt (1:56.54).
• Blake's Marissa McEleveen went 39-91/2 last week in the triple jump and is seeded first.
• Wharton's Sean Obinwa will contend in 3A in the 800 (1:56.84).
• Wharton's London Enos is seeded first in the girls 3A pole vault (11-0), Freedom's Trent Wiseman is ranked second in the boys 3A pole vault (14-0).
• Hillsborough's Juan Washington is seeded fourth in the high jump (6-4).
• Armwood's 4x400 boys won region with a 3:20.40.
• Tampa Bay Tech's Lashae White enters the 400 with a top time of 56.24.
• Wharton's Alyssa Franks has a shot in the 1,600 (5:16.70) and the 3,200 (11:49.32).
• Gaither pole vaulter Morgan Scherschel's vault of 11 feet gives her the top seed in the 4A meet.
• Chamberlain's Amanda Leland won the 100 (12.10) and 200 (25.45) in her region.