Plant City, Durant track teams shine at district
PLANT CITY - If the Plant City and Durant track and field teams can duplicate their success of last week at Gaither, they can pack plenty of cleats for the state meet. At the District 4A-6 meet, the Plant City High boys and girls track squads both finished in third place out of eight teams. Durant also qualified numerous athletes, led by distance standouts John Mitchell and Grace VanDeGrift, for Thursday's Region 4A-2 meet, also at Gaither. With wins in both the sprint events, Jasmine Pope paced the Raider girls last Thursday. Any individuals or relay teams who finish in the top four at regional competition this week will qualify for the state 4A meet May 9 at Winter Park.The Raider boys led the district event with two races remaining but then settled for third, a mere 4.5 points behind overall champion Lakeland. A strong showing in the field events gave the Raiders an early advantage. Plant City dominated the triple jump and the throwing categories. Kenny Adams and Dominek Smith went 1-2 in the triple jump with teammate Javonte Sykes coming in fourth for a spot in the regionals. Matt Kirkland won the discus with teammate Chad Hansen in second place, and their finish was reversed for the shot put with Hansen winning. Plant City's other district boys title came from Brian Goodman in the 110-meter hurdles. Adams also qualified for the long jump and high jump, and Michael Hunter's fourth-place result in the 300-meter hurdles extended his season as well. For the girls, Pope edged Chamberlain's Amanda Leland, who beat Pope at the county championships, by one-hundredth of a second after a thrilling photo finish. Pope won the 200 by a more comfortable margin and was also second in the long jump. Plant City also got victories from Erika Kolakowski in the 800, and the 2-mile relay squad of Currie Dickerson, Kolakowski, Cristina Corzine and Emily Hoy easily won. Durant's Trinity Thompson was a double victor as well, taking the 400-meter and the long jump. VanDeGrift won the mile and 2-mile (by 38 seconds over her nearest competitor in the latter race). Dianjah Claypool (400) and Sylvia O'Halloran (100 hurdles) also qualified for regionals. The Cougar boys ended up fourth, led by Mitchell, who won the mile and the 800 and led off the victorious 4x400 relay team rounded out by David Claypool, Marsalis Freeman and Andres Plata. Dexter Barge gave Durant a title in the long jump, and the other two Cougar relay squads qualified along with individuals Chris Griffith (pole vault), Claypool (400) and Keiron Bovell (200).
The Daystarter: Puerto Rico in path of Category 5 Hurricane Maria; last public hearing for Hillsborough schools budget; the Ricks campaign during a hurricane; ghoulish lineup at Tampa Theatre