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Leto makes strong showing in state track championships

Paced by Michael Jenkins, Leto High School took second place in the Class 3A state championships last weekend, losing out by only a half point to Penscacola Woodham.

Besides Leto's strong showing, several other area athletes medaled at the state meet, held in Gainesville.

Jenkins, a senior headed to Ohio State on a football scholarship, won gold in the triple jump with 47 feet, 1 inch, then added a silver in the 400 meters with a time of 48.79.

He also anchored the third-place 4 X 400 relay, joined by Theo Nalezynski, Mike Williams and Doane Greenidge.

"Everyone on the team did much better than they were expected to do, to have such a tremendous finish," coach Dean Robertson said. "St. Thomas Aquinas was a heavy favorite and they placed third with 43 points, thanks to the performances of our athletes. Some of our guys were not even expected to place, but they competed with determination."

In addition to helping with the relay, Nalezynski also placed third in both the 110 and 330 meter hurdles events. Greenidge also placed third in the 800 meters and Williams fifth in the 100 meter dash.

Jermaine Smith muscled his way to a third-place finish in the discus.

Gaither sophomore pole vaulter Dara Altman entered the Class 4A meet ranked fifth, but placed second with a career-best vault of 11 feet.

"She got a stiffer pole and worked hard on every phase of her vault," Gaither coach Ladd Baldwin said. Chamberlain's Alison Myers tied for fourth at 10 feet.

Wharton's Kendra Smith and Carmen Crespo also medaled at the Class 3A championships. Crespo was fourth in the high jump, and Smith placed fourth in both the 330 hurdles and triple jump. Smith, a sophomore in her first season of track, excelled all season.

"She is the team's MVP for this season and along with Carmen will form a base for a good team next season," Wharton girls coach Judy Hall said.