Local track and field athletes will be trying to extend their seasons on Thursday, as the Sebring Blue Streaks compete in the Class 3A-District 7 meet at Lakeland, while 14 Avon Park and Lake Placid athletes will be shooting for berths in the state meet when they compete in the Class 2A-Region 2 meet in Jacksonville.
The Blue Streaks will enter Thursday’s meet with plenty of confidence, with many appearing to hit their strides at the right time of year.
“It’s going to be exciting,” said Sebring coach Renee Crenshaw. “Both the boys and girls are doing well. I’m looking to take 20 kids — or more — to regionals.”
The Blue Streaks sent 10 athletes to last year’s regional meet and Crenshaw said a lot of them have matured — there are 17 seniors on the team — giving her plenty of reason to be optimistic heading into Thursday’s meet.
“They all want to go to regionals,” she said. “The kids are working hard on their own.”
Crenshaw said while the competition is going to be extremely tough, both teams have a chance of brining home district championships.
“It’s going to be a battle,” she said. “They’re going to have to fight and be on the top of their game. There are no excuses.”
She said Brain Dixon and Desmond Edwards give the boys a strong sprinting tandem and was expecting good things from Gary Demarest in the throws and Jordyn Blount in the jumps, as well as Byron Cobb in the pole vault, among others.
“We’ll be strong in the distance races with Taylor (Tubbs) and Hannah (Schroder) and the Foster (Damian and Eric) boys,” she said. “We have quite a few who can do well, but that’s a tough group to be going against.”
Tubbs has the best district time in the 800-meters, the 1,600 and the 3,200, while Eric Foster turned in the best boys time in the 3,200. Cobb has the best mark in the pole vault, while Dixon turned in the best time in the 200.
“The kids work hard and practice hard,” Crenshaw said. “I can’t wait to go.”
For Avon Park and Lake Placid, the journey to Jacksonville is certainly a lengthy one, but they’re hoping to get to make the trip again in 10 days when the Class 2A state meet is held at the University of North Florida’s Hodges Stadium.
The Green Dragons’ Keplet Charite competed at state last year and can make a return trip with a solid effort in the 110 hurdles, where he is coming off a district championship.
Fellow Green Dragons Dalton Shelton (3,200), Alex Coyne (1,600) and Gabriella Perez (1,600) also advanced to regionals, with Coyne taking the district title, Shelton placing second and Perez finishing fourth.
The Red Devils will be sending a decent-sized contingent of 10 athletes to Jacksonville, with Steven Roberts competing in both hurdle races after a pair of second-place finishes at the district meet and Vinroy Vassell qualifying for the discus after a third-place district finish.
The Red Devils will be sending two relay teams; the girls 4-by-100 relay team of Lashady Love, Lori-Ann Love, Michelle Rivera and Ligon placed fourth in 54.83 at districts to advance to regionals, while the 4-by-800 relay team of Brittany Egan, Hannah Farr, Kelsey Knowles and Felicia Strouse also moved forward after a fourth-place finish.
The top four finishers from the district meet advance to regionals, while the top four finishers at the regional meet will advance to the state meet.