CLEARWATER — Lakewood’s boys track team has been so dominant lately it was looking to find ways to create challenges at meets.
At Tuesday’s Ed Wells Kiwanis Invitational, the Spartans’ challenge was to end Countryside’s undefeated streak against county competition in the 4x800 relay. Lakewood accomplished that, shuffling its lineup with Tim Holmes pulling out of the 4x400 in order to concentrate on the 4x800.
The move worked to perfection as the Spartans had enough of a finishing kick to win in 8 minutes, 16.15 seconds, nearly eight seconds ahead of the Cougars.
“They surprised us a little by running Holmes in that event,” Countryside coach Eileen Givens said. “But Lakewood has so much depth that they can tinker with things. That’s why they should win the state team title this season.”
The Spartans had no trouble winning their second straight team title at the meet, scoring 126 points to beat Gibbs by 29.
Besides running a leg on the 4x800, Holmes also won the 110 hurdles (14.38) and 300 hurdles (37.75). After losing to Gibbs in the 4x100 at the West Coast Invitational two weeks ago, Lakewood exacted revenge Tuesday with a winning time of 41.40 that set a meet record.
The Spartans’ other champions in individual events were Shaquem Griffin in the long jump (22-0) and Devontae Persha in the 800 (1:58.99).
As expected, Gibbs’ Trayvon Bromell won his signature events, the 100 (10.48) and 200 (21.43). Countryside distance specialist Paul McKenna was the boys MVP after winning the 1600 (4:32.55) and 3200 (9:53.24).
“I went really hard in the 1600 and set a personal record by three seconds,” McKenna said. “It was another day of tripling in events. The 3200 was a little more difficult because of the wind.”
On the girls side, Osceola showed off its balance to win its first team title. The Warriors’ big point scorer was Jeanna Cube, who won the long jump (16 feet, 6 inches), high jump (5-2) and placed fifth in the 400 (1:04.45).
“We all felt like we could have a good showing and win this meet,” Cube said. “I wanted to do a little better in my events. I was hoping to get close to 17-7 in the long jump and 5-6 in the high jump, but there’s time.”
Pinellas Park’s Deterrica Simpkins was the girls MVP. She won three events, the 100 (12.64), 200 (25.97) and 400 (57.92).