NEW PORT RICHEY - Mitchell boys track coach Jeff Leavey readily admits his squad was lucky Tuesday. And he's not ashamed to say it.
The Mustangs won the Sunshine Athletic Conference for the first time in school history by a mere half-point to Wiregrass Ranch 112-111.5.
The meet was held at Sunlake High School.
"Oh my goodness, when you win by a half a point, that is pure luck, just pure luck," a giddy Leavey said.
Naturally, the boys' meet came down to the final event, the mile relay. Leavey was pretty sure that Wiregrass Ranch would win that event, which it did. But for Mitchell to win the meet, the Mustangs would have to finish no lower than fifth place.
Mitchell did just that, placing fifth by a step.
"Chris Vinton was our anchor and when the chips were on the line he passed a guy and [finished fifth] by one step," Leavey said. "They knew going in that we had to get fifth."
Ricky Trinidad, the star runner for the Mustangs, came through by winning both the 100- and 200-meter sprints while Matt Michaels recorded a school record in the triple jump at 42-feet, which was good enough for third place.
"Forty-two feet, that just might make it to the show [state meet]," Leavey said. "When you win a meet, it takes the lunchbox athletes, the guys who come to practice every day and put in the hard work."
While the Wiregrass Ranch boys were just edged out, the Wiregrass Ranch girls came through - winning their second straight conference title, which is also the second conference crown in school history.
"We had a lot of seconds and thirds and fourths and fifth [place] finishes but not a lot of firsts," Bulls coach Don Howard said.
Wiregrass Ranch outlasted second place Wesley Chapel 143-137.5.
The Bulls had a strong showing from their relay teams, specifically the 3200- and mile-relay teams which captured two of Wiregrass Ranch's three first place finishes. Ariel Gray won the 3200 run in 12:02 and Nikita Shah finished second.
"We're very happy to win," Howard said. "We knew it would be close between us and Wesley Chapel. We knew it would come down to a couple of events and it pretty much did.12"
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