State/region track preview
JIM DAMASKE | Times
Northside Christian’s Katelyn Greenleaf will be focused for the 1,600 on Friday. The Mustangs are hoping for a top three team finish.
For weeks, Northside Christian girls track coach Jeff Goodwin has been scanning the rankings on flrunners.com and combing through the results of district and region meets to figure out where his team stands in Class A.
Thanks to their incredible depth, the Mustangs have rolled to team titles at the Bay Conference, Ed Wells Kiwanis Invitational, district and region meets.
Now comes the hard part: a team title at state.
Northside is trying to win state for the first time since the school won back-to-back team championships in 1995-96. To do that, the Mustangs will have to chase one athlete instead of one team.
Port St. Joe's Kayla Parker is the overwhelming favorite in the 100, 200, 300 hurdles and long jump. If the junior wins all four events, she will give her team 40 points.
That is a lot for Northside to overcome. The Mustangs' NaTasha Goodwin could place in the top three in the long jump and triple jump. And teammate Katelyn Greenleaf could do well in the 1,600. Northside's 4x400 and 4x800 relay teams also should be in contention for medals.
"Realistically, we're shooting for a top three finish at state," Goodwin said.
Two other county athletes will be going for individual state titles in Class A. Admiral Farragut's Josh Burch is the defending state champion in the long jump and placed second in the triple jump at state last year. He has rebounded from a hamstring injury to win both events at district and region meets.
Shorecrest's Samantha Specht is a state qualifier in four events — 200, 400, long jump and triple jump. The senior is trying to win her first state title in any event.
In Saturday's Class 2A meet, Clearwater Central Catholic's Lindsey Cooper is the county's lone qualifier after placing third in the 400 at last week's region meet.
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Format: Field events start at 1 p.m., running finals at 7. Trophies go to the team champion and runnerup. Medallions are awarded to the top eight individuals and relay teams.
Where: Showalter Field, Winter Park
Directions: Take Interstate 275 to Interstate 4; exit at Fairbanks and head east. Follow through Winter Park (road name changes to Aloma) to light at Lakemont Avenue. Right on Lakemont, pass Winter Park Hospital and left at next light (Mizell Avenue). Right on Perth (just past Wellness Center). Follow Perth through Ward Park to Showalter parking lot at the far end on the right.
Boys — Admiral Farragut: Josh Burch (long jump, triple jump), Donovan Erbe (pole vault), Robert Goddard (long jump), Rashawn Jenkins (110 hurdles), Christian McFarland (110 hurdles), Noah Silverberg (discus); Calvary Chr.: Pierce Hutcheson (300 hurdles), Ryan Peters (high jump); Indian Rocks Chr.: Josh Johnson (1,600), Buddy Kaufman (100), Isaac McMillen (long jump), 4x100, 4x400; Keswick Chr.: Daniel Darden (shot put); Northside Chr.: Grant Rideout (pole vault), Will Scott (high jump); Shorecrest: Philip Tylman (400)
Girls — Admiral Farragut: Destini Ogelsby (shot put); Keswick Chr.: Tori Halle (shot put), 4x800; Northside Chr.: NaTasha Goodwin (100 hurdles, long jump, triple jump), Katelyn Greenleaf (1,600), Ashley Johnson (300 hurdles), Jennica Mullins (100), Melissa Tomlin (400), 4x100, 4x400, 4x800; Shorecrest: Casey Evans (pole vault), Samantha Specht (200, 400, long jump, triple jump)
Girls — Clearwater Central Catholic: Lindsey Cooper (400)
At stake: The top four in each event advance to next week's state meet.
When/where: Today, Punta Gorda Charlotte
County teams: Boca Ciega, Clearwater, Dixie Hollins, Dunedin, Gibbs, Lakewood, Northeast, Osceola, Seminole, Tarpon Springs
Outlook: The Spartans boys and girls have the best shot at contending for team titles. Lakewood's Kiona Anderson is a top performer in the 100 and 300 hurdles, as well as the triple jump. Watch for Northeast's Juarez Wynn in the 100 and 200.
When/where: Today, Gaither County teams: Countryside, East Lake, Largo, Palm Harbor University, Pinellas Park, St. Petersburg
Outlook: The Cougars pulled off the surprise by winning both the boys and girls team titles at last week's district meet. Countryside's boys are strong in the middle and distance events, which will help them in the mix. The Cougars' girls strength is in the hurdles and distance events.