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SENIOR STEALS SHOW

Freedom's Sandra Akachukwu repeat's last year's feat, winning three titles.

After more than eight hours, four events and several attempts at correct pronunciation, the public address guy at Wednesday's super regional at Leto High still was butchering Sandra Akachukwu's last name.

For the record, it's ah-ka-CHOO-kwoo. Champ, for short.

For the second spring in a row, the Freedom senior exited Mahin-Hoffman Stadium with nearly as many Class 4A, Region 2 titles as syllables in her last name.

Replicating her 2012 effort, Akachukwu won the 100 (11.9 seconds) and 200 meters (24.57) and long jump (19 feet, 31/2 inches), and was second to teammate Faith Woodard in the high jump (5-8). Her performance in each event was considerably better than last season's.

"She destroyed it," said Patriots coach Dwight Smith, whose team earned a runnerup finish. "It was ridiculous."

Akachukwu's effort was among several local highlights at this region doubleheader, where the 3A-2 meet was staged simultaneously. Steinbrenner's boys and Plant's girls, again buoyed by dominance in the distance races, won the 3A-2 and 4A-2 team titles, respectively.

The Panthers clinched things by sweeping the top four spots in the 3,200, with all four runners crossing the finish line within four seconds of each other.

Senior Scarlett Fox won the 1,600, and junior Ruthy Simpson broke a 38-year-old school 100 hurdles mark (15.32) in the prelims. Simpson earned top-four finishes in both hurdles events.

Steinbrenner, meantime, got another solid effort from senior Matt Magee, who won the 1,600, placed third in the 800 and ran anchor leg on the Warriors' winning 4x800 team. Classmate Tyler Lima won the 3,200 and joined Magee on the 4x800 team.

Individually, Akachukwu's versatility was nearly upstaged by Jorian Ordway's velocity.

The Kent State signee won the 3A-2 girls 400 in 54.98 seconds, setting a Hillsborough County record according to former Terriers coach and veteran race official Steve West. "And I've been around the county 40 years," West said.

Running on an inside lane in the final, Ordway said she heard her coach yell out a 26-second split at the 200-meter mark.

"All I had to do was finish," she said. "So in my head I was like, 'Just go, run.'"

Other standouts included Bloomingdale junior Andrew LeBlanc, who won 4A-2 boys titles in the 1,600 and 3,200, and ran a leg on the Bulls' winning 4x800 relay team.

Hillsborough senior Jeremiah Green, who owns the nation's best triple jump effort, navigated a short runway to win the 3A-2 title (51-4). He also won the 200 (21.71), placed second in the long jump (22-9) and finished fourth in the 100 (10.78).

The Wharton senior tandem of Mikayla Barber and Tyler Watson prevailed in the 4A-2 girls 100 and 300 hurdles, respectively. For the second meet in a row, each was runnerup in the hurdles event she didn't win.

Watson also was fourth in the triple jump; both ran legs on the winning 4x400 relay team.

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