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Wednesday, Jun 20, 2018
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Western Conference Track Meets Preview

All meets begin at 1 p.m. with field events

National Division at Armwood

SCHOOLS: Armwood, Chamberlain, Freedom, Hillsborough, King, Middleton, Strawberry Crest, Tampa Bay Tech, Wharton

OUTLOOK: One of the most intriguing stories this year involves King’s boys 4x400 and 4x100 relay teams, which just happen to feature the same four runners — Darian Wright, Emerson Tyler, Dionte Poole and Javontee Brice. The group recently won both events at the USF/Steinbrenner Invitational and is ranked among the state’s top 20 in both events among all classifications. It might help the Lions if they could get some stiff competition, but that doesn’t look likely in this division, or for that matter, at the county championships. King will probably have to push itself for time. In the individual sprints, look for Middleton’s Anthony Rhynes to run away with victories in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Rhynes appears poised to make a strong run all the way to state.

Federal Division at Spoto

SCHOOLS: Bloomingdale, Brandon, Durant, East Bay, Lennard, Newsome, Plant City, Spoto

OUTLOOK: Can Bloomingdale’s boys 4x800 team win back-to-back state titles? You bet it can. On Saturday, at the Florida State University relays, the Bulls finished in a blistering 7 minutes, 54.76 seconds, more than 10 seconds faster than last year’s state title time. It also could get interesting in the individual 800 between Bulls teammates Kevin Heron and Andrew LeBlanc. Heron ran the 800 in 1:55.07 on Saturday, and LeBlanc has a personal best in the same range. But it’s unlikely the Bulls will push the pace at this divisional meet because, well, they don’t have to. Bloomingdale’s 4x800 is that good. In the 400, look for a close battle between Newsome’s Todd Jackson and East Bay’s Ryan Rannie, who are both under 50 seconds. Jackson, however, is the pre-meet favorite because he’s gone under 49. On the girls’ side, watch out for Spoto’s Janae Caldwell, who leads the county in the 400 (56.36) and the 200 (25.12).

American Division at Jefferson

SCHOOLS: Alonso, Blake, Gaither, Jefferson, Plant, Robinson, Sickles, Steinbrenner

OUTLOOK: One of the most interesting county duels is in the 3,200 meters between juniors Jack Guyton of Plant and James Zentmeyer of Sickles. On Saturday in the 3,200 at the FSU relays, Guyton edged Zentmeyer, but both ran smoking times: Guyton finishing in 9:23.86 and Zentmeyer in 9:25.47. Moving forward, it might become even more interesting because Guyton has also proven to be one of the state’s top 1,600-meter runners, finishing the USF/Steinbrenner Invitational in 4:19.07. It’s unlikely both will run all-out at the divisional meet because they both are in the middle of intense training, and, quite frankly, there isn’t a whole lot of severe local competition near them. In the girls’ 3,200, Plant’s Bailey Sullivan, who ran the 3,200 in 11:27.81 at Saturday’s FSU relays, should cruise to victory. In the 800 meters, Robinson’s Jack Rogers (1:57.49) and Gaither’s Rachel Cazares (2:16.71) are favored to win the boys and girls titles, respectively.

Scott Purks

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