Though the Western Conference championships Friday at Leto contained some surprising individual results, the Bloomingdale girls and Leto boys, as they have done at most county-wide meets this season, earned the team championships.
The Falcons, led by Paul Brown's victories in the 120- and 330-yard hurdles, outdistanced a tired Hillsborough squad 104 points to 93.
"I would like to take the credit," said Leto coach Bobby Ennis. "But the credit has to go to the athletes and my two assistants, Phil Zimmerman and Chris Harmon. They really had our kids ready for tonight."
Unfortunately for the Plant girls, seven-time state champion Caroline Annis wasn't.
Annis, who was to compete in the Penn Relays on Thursday and at the conference championships Friday, had to sit out both meets after straining a calf muscle last week while training.
Even with Annis though, Plant probably could not have defeated Bloomingdale's team effort. The Bulls scored 86 points and finished comfortably ahead of Gaither (60) and Plant (49).
"Before the season, we didn't expect a conference championship," said Bloomingdale coach Phil Carr. "We knew we'd do well, but we have 26 freshman and sophomores on our team. It was just an outstanding effort by our girls."
The biggest surprise came in the boys 220-yards when high-jump winner Joe Whitehead of Blake caught Hillsborough's Shomari Mckenzie in the last 30 yards to win his second title of the night.
"I felt so weak, there was little rest time between events," said Mckenzie, who won the 440 yards and anchored the Terriers' victorious mile relay team.
In the girls 440, King freshman Fatimah LeDay beat last year's 4A state champion Henika Clark of Robinson for the second consecutive meet.
"I used Clark as a rabbit," LeDay said. "I thought I would have to run faster to win but I'm happy."