Putting an exclamation point on a stellar high school running career, Sunlake senior distance runner Alex Pena took home the state title in the 1600 meter race at the Class 4A state championships on May 20 at the Jax Track at Hodges Stadium at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. Pena ran a time of four minutes, seven seconds, which represented the event’s fastest time in all state classifications, as well as the eighth-fastest in Florida High School history.
By overcoming an early season injury, Pena worked with his coach, Randal Reeves, and developed a “cross training” plan that enabled him to keep his fitness level high throughout the season.
Pena also placed sixth in the 3200-meter race at the state championships with a 9:19 time. At the Class 4A-District 6A meet, he also finished first in the 1600 meter (4:29), the 800 meter (1:56) and the 3200 meter (9:34).
Additionally, several other Sunlake distance runners were at the state championships, including freshman Christian Hindman in the 1600 meter (4:24) and the 3200 meter (9:35).
Sophomore Cade Culpepper placed ninth (9:24) in the 3200 meter, junior Joshua Hindman placed seventh in the 800 meter (1:56), Abigail Williams placed 10th in the 3200 meter (11:25) and Christian Hindman placed 15th in the 1600 meter (4:33).
Sunlake also had two field event athletes competing at the state meet, with Jadyn Wolf placing 15th in the pole vault and Kendyl Okin placing eighth in the javelin.