TAMPA — The City Relays on Saturday featured the usual face paint, rainbow wigs, dancing, hooting and hollering and a couple of familiar names at the top of the team standings: Plant’s girls and Jesuit’s boys.
The boys side offered a little more drama with Jesuit winning the day’s final race, the 200 free relay, propelling the Tigers to a one-point overall team victory, 241-240 over Plant.
The girls team race, meantime, was a little more cut and dry with Plant cruising in with 262 points, 27 ahead of runnerup Academy of the Holy Names.
Perhaps more importantly, everyone seemed to have a lot of fun while getting in some solid early-season work. The coaches also learned a few things along the way.
“We had five freshmen who had to step up for us today and score some points, and they all did their jobs very well,” Jesuit coach Bill Shaffer said.
Leading the Tigers’ freshmen charge was Liam Schindler, who had huge assists in all his events, but especially as a breaststroker.
A couple of Tiger juniors, Nick Shaffer and Sam Prabhakaran, and a team-leading senior, Anthony Kirchner, shined in all their events and appear prepared for a strong showing throughout the 2019 season.
Plant’s girls were led by one of the nation’s top juniors in Ella Bathurst along with a stable of returning talent including Izzy Haight, Reagan Flynn and Carin Sanchez, and a bright newcomer in freshman Catherine Vaughan.
In the overall team competition, Steinbrenner’s girls placed third with 228 points and Newsome was fourth with 210, while Newsome’s boys finished third with 234 points, followed by Steinbrenner in fourth with 224.