A spotlight on the Times' players of the week
Female hot shot
Assata Trader Shorecrest Prep
Skinny: After not qualifying for the 100 meters at last year's Class A state meet, Trader decided to put in extra work in the offseason. She ran AAU track for the first time, introduced herself to the weight room and perfected her form with a sprint coach. It all paid off Friday at state. By getting off to a strong start, Trader pulled ahead of her competitors to win the 100 in 12.12 seconds, a remarkable feat considering she was seeded 11th. "I don't think it started sinking in that I won a state title until the day after the meet," said Trader, a junior. "I didn't really come in expecting to win. ...I know I just worked really hard and put it all together to have the best race when I needed it."
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Male Hot Shot
Connor CuretonSt. Petersburg Catholic High
Skinny: Before running in the 800 meters at the Class A state meet, senior Cureton started to feel sick. "My throat was sore. I wasn't feeling good at all," he said after the meet. "But right before the race I knew I had to snap out of it and find a way to get into race mode." Cureton recovered enough to have his best race of the season, rallying in the backstretch to win his first state title in the event in a personal-record one minute, 56.12 seconds. His time was nearly three seconds faster than his previous best and was two seconds ahead of the rest of the field. "I had no idea my time was that good," he said. "I wasn't thinking about anything except just running as fast as I could."