By Kyle LoJacono
Wesley Chapel track and field athletes participated in the Class 2A-District 9 meet April 12 at Berkley Prep, and three Wildcats girls earned spots in regionals by placing in the top four of their event.
The top Wesley Chapel performer was senior Courtney Prengaman, who finished as the district runner-up by clearing 5-feet, 2-inches.
Prengaman, a Samford University signee, is the defending 2A state champion and was going for her fourth straight district title, but came up four inches short of Anclote freshman Emily Gauvey’s jump.
“I’m not sure what happened,” said Wildcats girls coach Brad Allen. “I don’t know if she’s having trouble with the pressure, and actually she usually does very well with pressure. That’s why in the past we’ve had her jump with the boys in meets.
“The thing was it looked like she wasn’t getting her feet over quick enough,” Allen continued. “Her back was getting way up and over. … We can fix that because she has the power to get over without a problem. She’s got everything she needs to get the job done.”
Prengaman will still be either the No. 1 or 2 seed at regionals because she cleared 5-08 earlier this year during a meet at Sunlake, which matches the best performance in 2A this season.
Fellow Wesley Chapel senior Abby Hudak earned a spot in regionals for the fourth straight year by placing third in the pole vault (9-06). Hudak, who is seeking her first state berth, has been fighting through ligament inflammation linked to a broken left ankle suffered a few months before the season during a skateboarding accident.
“I think I am capable of getting there,” Hudak said. “I’ve got two more weeks to get healthy and get better. Yesterday and the day before in practice I was doing pretty well. I was getting over the 10-foot bungee easy. That’s what I wanted to do today, but my leg just got very inflamed. I think there was a lot of mental stuff today too watching other girls PR when I still haven’t PRed this year.”
Bob Leidel, Hudak’s coach with Florida Pole Vault Academy, said she has been besting her personal record (PR) of 10 regularly at practice.
“Some days she’s actually close to clearing 11 and easily clearing 10,” Leidel said. “The injury that she had definitely played into the amount that she can practice and the quality of her practices, but she has had some really good jumps; they just haven’t happened in meets this year. Hopefully next week it happens at regionals.”
Sakari Worrels rounded out the Wildcats’ regional qualifiers by taking fourth in the long jump (15-07), besting her previous PR by seven inches. The senior last ran track while in eighth grade.
“I liked running track, but I always played AAU volleyball during the spring and couldn’t,” Worrels said. “I just wanted to see what I could do. I figured whatever happened would happen, and I’m really happy right now.”
The trio competes at regionals at Titusville Astronaut April 18. Those who finish in the top four at the meet will earn a spot in states April 27 at the University of North Florida.
—Follow Kyle LoJacono on Twitter: @Kyle_Laker
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