As promised earlier this week, we've scoured the heat sheets and handicapped the field (at least from a local perspective) for Saturday's Class 4A state track meet. Here are five Hillsborough County athletes we project to have the best chances at winning a gold medal:
Max del Monte, Chamberlain (boys 1600)
The race's No. 3 seed, del Monte (pictured) has proven more than capable of winning this race. Then again, so have about five others in this daunting veteran field. He ran a personal-best time (4:15) at the Florida Relays earlier this year. Should he match or eclipse that, we predict he'll win.
Ashley Favors, Riverview (girls 100)
Favors found her natural calling when she began competing in this event in March. She broke the school record in her first organized race and enters as the top seed with a personal-best time of 14.16 seconds.
Scarlett Fox, Newsome (girls 800)
This Wolves sophomore, beneath our radar much of the season, steadily has dropped her times over the last month and enters as the No. 2 seed. Her personal-best time (2:18.20) was good enough to win the Region 2 crown nine days ago.
Brandon Holloway, Alonso (boys 200)
Holloway, seeded fourth, may need to eclipse 21 seconds to win. Fortunately for him, he has been in that neighborhood lately. The Ravens tailback ran a personal-best 21.28 to win a district title two weeks ago, and ran a 21.36 to win the Region 2 title on April 27.
Faith Woodard, Riverview (girls high jump)
Ashley's first cousin, a slender 6-foot-1 basketball standout, is seeded first (5-foot-6), though any one of at least five competitors could win it. Woodard has been here before (she was sixth last season) and possesses the physical upside to go 5-8 or better.