LARGO — The post-meet chant sung by the Tampa Catholic boys after they won the team title at the Indian Rocks Invitational showed the Crusaders are ready to step up and accomplish bigger things this season under first-year coach Arron Prather.
Their performance Thursday night was a notice to the Tampa Bay area that Tampa Catholic track and field is back, as the Crusaders scored 133 points to edge host Indian Rocks Christian by 35.
"This is a turning point for Tampa Catholic," Prather said. "We've been only training for five weeks and the boys are tired. We're just trying to set a standard of excellence here at Tampa Catholic.
"We want to say whether we win or lose, be able to look ourselves in the mirror and say we did our best. We finished second at Berkeley Prep and we were victorious here and we're very happy."
Tampa Catholic's Zack Benjamin helped lead the charge by winning the triple jump (12.21 meters) and the high jump (1.72 meters). The Crusaders' 4x400 relay team clinched the team title in the last event, edging St. Petersburg Catholic with a time of 3:36 to 3:37.
Northside Christian took the girls team title, outpointing Indian Rocks Christian 125-118. Mustangs distance runner Katelyn Greenleaf finished first in the 1600 meters (5:43) and Ariana Taylor won the 100 in 13.24.
"I don't know if many people knew but we only had like half a team tonight," Northside coach Jeff Goodwin said. "Most of our hurdlers and a lot of our runners are out of town. We came in thinking we might win it, and we put some of our girls in the right places and it turned out well for us."
Other notables included Bishop McLaughlin's Tori Harris winning the shot put (9.97 meters) and discus (35.12), and Clearwater Central Catholic's Kelly Shanahan won the high jump (1.47).