By Kyle LoJacono
Wiregrass Ranch girls track and field has won district championships the last three years by an average of more than 52 points, but a
title this year was by slimmer margins.
The Bulls trailed Belleview by 2.5 points April 20 at Central when the 11-team Class 3A-District 6 meet was postponed due to lightning. Three
events remain: the 3,200-meter, 4×400 relay and discus.
The remaining events were run April 23 starting with the 3,200, where the Bulls scored 17 points in the Belleview’s 11 to take a lead of 3.5.
The Rattlers came back to win the 4×400 to score 10 points to Wiregrass Ranch’s six earned with a third-place performance, creating a separation of 0.5 with only the discus left.
The Bulls had two athletes, seniors Patricia Magwood and Pfalicity Harris-Scott, in the final flight and Belleview had one. Magwood and
Harris-Scott were among the eight who advanced to the final while the Rattlers were shut out, which clinched the team title for Wiregrass Ranch.
“It was really stressful,” Harris-Scott said. “If me and Patricia didn’t bring it we would have lost by half a point. It’s a great feeling. … Nobody is ever watching the discus, but today everybody is watching. Had a lot of eyes on us.”
Magwood was in danger of missing the finals after scratching on her first attempt and throwing a subpar 80 feet 4 inches on the second.
She unleashed a toss of 97-07 on the third try, sending Magwood to the finals and knocking out Belleview.
“The wind was really bad, and a lot of my throws were going off to the right,” said Magwood, who finished as runner-up. “We all had to deal
with it, but it was taking a while for me to get used to it. When I let go of that third throw in prelims I knew it was good.”
The final tally gave the Bulls 154 points to Belleview’s 144.5.
“This one is definitely the most satisfying,” said Wiregrass Ranch girls coach Don Howard. “We weren’t the favorites to win this year. … We
were down a half point, and discus is an event that’s never at the end of a meet. I didn’t tell them, but they found out. They knew what they had to do and they did.
“When these kids are expected to step up they do,” Howard continued. “Pressure doesn’t get to them. That’s all you can ask of kids. I
told them before we came the first day if we win this one they should be very proud.”
Several Bulls volunteered to compete in events they don’t normal do to earn more points.
“They wanted to do that for the team,” Howard said. “Hannah Eder did the 100(-meters) for the first time, and we also had Alisha Henry do the
long jump. They did that to score, and the both did.”
Eder, who placed third in the 100 in 13.1 seconds to earn six points, won titles in the long jump with a personal record (PR) 17 feet while also taking the triple jump (33-11).
“I went for it and ran as fast as I could,” Eder said. “When I heard 17 feet I was so happy the hard work is paying off. … Last year I did
horrible at districts. I’m being a lot more positive this year and it’s making a difference.”
Eder is also on the 4×100 team that claimed gold in 51.56. The junior helped bring in 36 points during the tightly contested meet.
“Our coach said before we came out if there’s a Belleview girl in front of you just beat her,” Eder said. “I had that in the back of my mind.”
Henry finished as runner-up in the pole vault (11), her primary event, while scoring three in the long jump (15-01.25).
“She actually just started doing (long jump), but she’s been doing really well,” Eder said. “If she just focused on long jump she would definitely be able to move on.”
The Bulls also got titles from Marissa Ginn-Davis in the 300 hurdles (49.52) and Magwood in the shot put
“I was rushing today I guess because of the nerves,” said Magwood, whose PR is 38-06.25. “I have to work on that. … I was happy I got first place
but disappointed in myself for the performance. It gives me something to work on.”
The Land O’ Lakes boys (124) led by 54 points when the meet was suspended and held on to win the championship. Wiregrass Ranch made a late surge to move from fourth to second place (86).
The Bulls won the 4×800 relay, the day’s first race, in 8:25.04. Springstead went by senior Tyler Mattera halfway through the final lap, but the
Wiregrass Ranch anchor turned on the jets in the final turn to win by 1.03.
“He passed me, so I just let him take it then so he’d tire himself out,” Mattera said. “He scared me when he passed me, but in the turns I thought I’d have enough.”
Bulls junior Ermias Bireda, a member of the 4×800 team, won the 1,600 and 3,200. He was fourth after one lap in the 1,600, but slowly crept his
way forward to beat out Land O’ Lakes’ Tyler Stahl by nearly two seconds.
“I just wanted to hold that lead,” said Bireda, who missed districts last year with injuries. “I was looking back to see where he was at. I just wanted to hold on really bad.”
Sprinter Jamel Nuñez claimed his second district championship in as many years by posting a 22.69 in the 200. Nunez and the next two finishers were separated by only 0.3.
“The kid from Mitchell (Michael Tancreti) was coming through, and I was like wow, I’ve never seen this kid before,” Nuñez said. “I started to speed up because Jordan (Roberts) from Zephyrhills was right there too. I gave it my all.”
Nuñez was unable to advance from regionals last year, something he plans on changing in his final year.
“I feel like I can compete and get to states,” Nuñez said. “That’s what I’ve been working for all season.”
The top four in each event advance to regionals at Leto April 25 starting at noon.
–Results as recorded by the Florida High School Athletic Association
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.