PINELLAS PARK — The larger north county schools held serve Friday at the Richard Allen Relays.
The East Lake girls held off a late push from Osceola and Northeast to win with 86 points. Osceola had 71 and Northeast 63. For the boys, a tight race among Countryside, Largo and Lakewood saw Countryside and Largo tied entering the finale, the 4x400 relay.
"Coach (Eileen) Givens breeds 400 runners," Countryside junior Robert Davis said. "This week we ran it with different kids but I know I can depend on whoever is there to give me a 400 dash."
The Cougar team of Mekhi Reynolds, Elijah Alexander, Nick Sprague and Davis won the relay and the meet. Countryside had 79 points to edge Largo (77) and Lakewood (73). It marked Countryside's second team win in as many meets, first over distance-strong Land O'Lakes this week, then sprint-strong Largo.
"It took all we had to pull this one off," Givens said. "It's all about strategizing against different schools, we have to know where to place our athletes."
The Cougar boys won the 4x400, 4x800 and distance medleys. The Packers won the 4x100 shuttle hurdle, sprint medley and 4x100 relay.
The East Lake girls won the 4x800, 4x1600, distance relay and 4x100 shuttle hurdle. Gibbs took the 4x100 with senior Vanity Spells, sophomore Ariel Cardine, senior Jerosan Fletcher, and junior Tysheira Adams finishing in 52.63 to East Lake's 54.47. The same Gibbs relay team clipped East Lake in the 4x200, 1:54.23 to 1:54.59. The Gibbs relay team missed states by one place last year.
"They're hungry, they want it this year," Gibbs coach Natalee Allen said.
Osceola's girls (71) were second and its boys (65) fourth but its pole vaulters stole some of the spotlight. Jennifer Kistemaker cleared 12 feet, 1 inch to break her personal record — with a new pole and wet conditions. Carson Waters cleared 14-6 to help the Osecola boys set a new meet mark.
D'Terio Petite of Largo continued his high jump dominance. After clearing 6-6 and setting a personal record Tuesday at East Lake, Petite cleared 6-2 on a wet jump pad and helped his team carry the event.