Liberty boys win 5th OBC track crown
Liberty swept the top three spots in the 100 meters dash.
By Rick Pedone
Liberty extended its streak of Orange Belt Conference boys track championships to five Tuesday with a dominating performance at St. Cloud’s Gannarelli Field track.
The Chargers (215.5), with plans of challenging for the Class 3A state championship, easily outdistanced Osceola (147.5), Celebration (92), Harmony (74), St. Cloud (63), Gateway (45) and Poinciana (15).
The Chargers took command early, building a 30-point lead over Osceola after the field events.
As expected, Liberty dominated the jumps, where Markel Brown (22-6) and Josh Wilson (22-0) were first and second in the long jump. Brown also won the triple jump (46-9.5) and Wilson (44-7.75) was third, after Osceola’s Akiel Hamilton (45-5).
Brown had to retire from the meet after the triple jump with a muscle pull.
That was one of the setbacks for the Chargers that left Coach Robert Pauley with mixed emotions after the meet.
“We got a little lackadaisical over spring break. We came in here with the goal of reaching 260 points, to really dominate and come out of it with a lot of momentum,” Pauley said. “We won, that’s five in a row and I am pleased about that. No matter what sport you are in, it is an accomplishment to win five championships in a row. But, we weren’t sharp. We have work to do.”
The Chargers coasted to an easy win (8:26.82) over Gateway (8:35.52) in the 4×800.
Pauley wasn’t happy at all with the team’s two other relays. The 4×100, which holds the county record with a smoking 41.20 time, scratched, and the 4×400 staggered into third place at the end of the meet despite a strong finishing kick from junior Rogelio Araiza, who was exceptional in winning the 1,600 (4:37.82), the 800 (2:03.17) and the 3,200 (10:45.26). Araiza, exhausted, edged Celebration’s Justin Corinealdi (10:45.52) in the 3,200.
“Rogelio did what I call the triple crown. He had to come back about 10 minutes after the 800 to run the 3,200, and then five minutes after that he had to anchor the 4×400. He put it all out there; I didn’t see that from everyone else and that’s why I’m a little upset,” Pauley said.
The Chargers owned the sprints, where Devarius Turner won the 100 (10.63) and 200 (21.70) titles. Liberty took the top three places in the 100, with Josh Wilson (10.78) and Justin Winkler (10.84) also coming in under 11 seconds.
“You’ve never seen that before in this county,” Pauley said. “And, Markel is just as fast. We shut him down after the triple jump because we have more important meets coming up. We can do better.”
Winkler (22.62) was second in the 200.
Celebration’s Jhonny Victor (6-6), the top seed, won the high jump ahead of Liberty’s Auguste Phillip (6-4).
The Storm boys also got a first from Deonti Carrington (136-8) in the discus. He was second (45-1) in the shot put.
The Storm’s Alexis Escotto (40.33) upended Osceola’s Trayquel Hazley (41.47) in the 300 hurdles.
Hazley (14.85) easily won the 110 hurdles, and the Kowboys won the 4×100 (43.39).
Harmony’s Tristan Reaves (45-4) won the shot put.
The host Bulldogs had highlights, with Kenny Aybar (11-6) winning the pole vault and Jovanne Parkinson (50.64) taking the 400. The 4×400 (3:28.65) wrapped up the meet with a victory.
“I was happy for the guys. I knew it would be a tough day for them because we lost so many seniors after last year, but they did some good things and I know they wanted to win that 4×400,” St. Cloud Coach Kevin Harkema said.
The teams now prepare for the district meets. Poinciana competes at districts next week. The other schools go to district meets in two weeks.