Headlined by nine regional championships, Osceola County track athletes qualified for 35 unique spots in events in this weekends state meet at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. The meet begins Friday at 9 a.m. and runs into Saturday. (Check the News-Gazette Sports’ Twitter feed @OsceolaSports through the weekend for updates.)
At the 4A-2 and 3A-2 regional meets, held simultaneously Saturday at Lakeland George Jenkins High School, Osceola’s girls led the county in state meet qualifiers among those in the top four in the finals of their events (eight) and team placement (fourth, 54 points).
Sprinter Alliann Johnson earned a pair of bids, winning the 200 meters (24.04 seconds, the second seed in the state) and was second in the 100 meters (11.88 seconds), just .01 seconds from a win.
Amaya Phillips won the 100 hurdles (14.85), ahead of Celebration freshman Helena Huyke (15.25). They also qualified second and fourth in the 300 hurdles (Phillips 46.63, Huyke 47.03).
Phillips and Johnson joined Jetzymar Rivera and Dezha Walker to win the 4x400 relay (3:58.91) by almost six seconds.
Isabella Pancake was fourth in the discus (104’ 1”). St. Cloud’s Haudie Whitston went second in the pole vault (10’4”) to qualify, and Alysa Whetro became Tohopekaliga’s first state qualifier by placing third in the high jump (4’ 11.75”).
On the boys side in the 4A Region 2 meet, Osceola, 10th in the team scores (26) saw sophomore Markevous Jackson (21.92, seeded fourth) win the 200 and run second in the 400 (48.46, sixth).
In the 4x400 relay, Osceola (Elijah Gotshall, Jacquez Jones, Marvin Gatlin, Jackson, 3:22.72) and Celebration (Oscar Newman, Jared Falchook, Keshawn Peterson, Chase Robbins, 3:24.81) ran second and third. St. Cloud’s Zach Cloud was third in the 3200 meters (9:36.60, the fourth seed).
On the Class 3A side, where Poinciana, Liberty and Harmony compete, Poinciana’s boys (41, sixth) and Harmony’s girls (30, ninth) cracked the top ten in a field of athletes and teams that will likely do very well at the state meet.
Poinciana’s Guy Bond (6’ 3.5”) won the high jump. Theodore Nelson was second in the 200 (21.84, seeded sixth), Jonathan Sanchez took second in the 110 hurdles (15.35) and Aaron Hernandez was fourth in the long jump (22’ 2.5”)
Harmony’s Christian Taylor was fourth in the 400 (50.78), and he anchored the 4x400 team with Kareem Dinzey, Josh Grimes and Gibson Gaston to a tie for third (3:27.83).
County girls took four Region 3A-2 titles. Poinciana’s Shyann Jackson won the 400 meters (57.44, seeded fifth), Harmony’s 4x800 team of Vanessa Bolen, Brooke Mullins, Allison Hicks and Alanie Rivera won the 4x800 relay (9:52.04) by 12 seconds and Liberty’s Christelle Bonzil won the high jump (5’1.75”) and triple jump (38’ 5.5”, seeded fourth) and took second in the long jump (17’ 5.25”).
The Chargers’ 4x100 relay team of Bonzil, Alani and Alandi Jacobs and Emilie Edouard was third (48.74), as was the the 4x400 team of Alandi Jacobs, Nyidjah Ives, Kanitria Antenor and Breanna Moss (4:06.74). Harmony’s Rivera was third in the 800 (2:20.51).
In the Region A-3 meet at the First Academy, Debra Buggs qualified by finishing fourth in the 100 hurdles (17.66) and long jump (15’ 10 1.5”). Kayla Heifner was third in the discus (96’ 10”).