The East Lake Eagles got an early scare from the stout showing in the field events by Venice. Once the running finals began, both Eagle squads pulled in front and away. The East Lake boys made it their second straight Class 3A District 10 title with 163 points to Venice's 117. Osceola was a distant third at 68. On the girls side, the Eagles amassed 153 to Venice's 109. Boca Ciega took third with 90.5. It marked back-to-back district wins for the boys and five straight for the girls.
The day started off with an great battle in the boys discus. Clearwater's Zachary Hauschild and Osceola's Milos Boskovic went 44.5m and 44.6m, respectively, to take the top two marks into finals. Hauschild hit a 45.2m on his second throw in the finals but then Northeast's Bethel Miles hit 45.5m on his second throw.
"I feel like I throw better when I feel like I have nothing to lose," Miles said.
Hauschild wasn't done though. He still had one more throw and on his final one, he threw a personal record 45.5m in a perfect tie with Miles. The tie had to be broken on the number of scratches and Hauschild had it.
Both Hauschild and Miles set personal bests at just over 149 feet. All four regional qualifiers threw personal bests and all threw over 41m.
"(On throwing versus Hauschild) He's such a good thrower, it really helps," Boskovic said.
Even Palmetto's Christian Kalish PRed with a 41.7m throw to take fourth.
Districts are all about doubling up...or tripling up...or quadrupling up. East Lake's tandem of Jen Lima and Kaitlyn Kirby are specialists at just that and together they racked up 74 points for the Eagles. Lima won all three distance events, the 1600m in 5:15.80, the 800m in 2:18.50 and the 3200m in 12:04.05 and she kicked in a leg on the runner-up 4x400m relay. Lima got a challenge in the 800m final with Braden River's Alyssa Gagnon pushing out to an early lead. Through the first lap, Gagnon had six strides on Lima and the pair were nine seconds ahead of the field. Only on the final turn of the second lap did Lima catch and pass Gagnon to turn in the victory. Kirby took second in both the high jump and long jump but swept both hurdle events 15.07 in the 100s and 45.84 in the 300s.
If not for the huge day from Venice's Tanner Gauthier, Kirby might have racked up even more points. Gauthier cleared 1.67m (5-5.75ft) to win the high jump. That mark puts her in the top three marks in Class 3A this season. Gauthier also took third in shot and Boca Ciega's Hannah Andrews won the long jump at 5.24m (17-2.25ft).
Gauthier's jumping cohort Kyle Marois went 2.00m (6-6.75ft) to win the boys high jump. That mark is a PR and puts him in the top three marks in 3A this year.
"I had some extra motivation," Marois said. "Tanner and I did the same thing last year too, we both won district and regional titles in high jump last year."
East Lake's Joshua Bowers won the sprints, taking the 100m in 11.18 and the 200m in 22.23 with Palmetto's Lazavien Walker in second at 22.33 but his big test came in the 4x400m relay. East Lake got out to a slight lead heading into the last leg where Bowers took the baton and had to fight off Venice's open 400m champ Neil Blake. The last 200 meters of the race were Blake in arm's reach of Bowers the whole way but Bowers held and helped log a 3:27.87 to win it for the Eagles.
"On that last curve, I hear him (Blake) breathing down my neck and I knew I just have to go and go soon," Bowers said. "With pressure like that you either bust a pipe or make diamonds, I guess I made diamonds for my team."
Bowers setup the 4x100m relay for a win, putting them into the lead and Alex Bong held off a hard-charging Largo team to win it in 43.14 for a season best.
Clearwater's Sean Heera continues to thwart the efforts of local rival James Hasell of East Lake. Hasell had the 1600m seemingly in hand after taking control on the third lap and leading all the way through the back stretch on the fourth lap. Heera started to close on the turn. Coming out of the turn, Hasell peeked over his inside shoulder to find Heera, only Heera surge past him on the outside and raced it home for the win in 4:26.52. Hasell took second at 4:27.42. It was Heera again, topping Hasell in the 800m in 2:00.58. Hasell made the mistake of peeking again on the final turn and Venice's Martin Calvillo nearly caught him but Hasell held for second in 2:02.24. Heera has the number three time in 3A this year in the 800m (1:54.93) and Hasell the sixth (1:55.25).
Palmetto's Elizabeth Atkinson swept the girls throws with a 9.94m in shot and a 36.53m in disc. Dunedin's Victor Martinez and Jyren Francis had a good day at the long jump pit. Martinez went 6.65m in the finals but scratched on his final attempt. Francis hit a PR 6.61 (21-08) to win it.
"He (Martinez) scratched on that last jump and he would have had it," Francis said. "He pushes me to be better than him."
Martinez was on board with that.
"Next year, if he (Francis) pushes himself to his full ability, he's going to be a top prospect," Martinez said.
East Lake's Jack Pigozzo won boys shot at 14.36m (47-1.5ft). Osceola girls' 4x800m ran a 9:58.53 to win it. In the 3200m final, host Clearwater's Cormac Gilmore battled with Osceola freshman Trevor Coryea, taking the lead by the half way point. By the final lap, Gilmore stretched the lead to four seconds. On the final turn, Gilmore started his kick and ran it home to win it in 10:11.45. It was Gilmore's first district title.
"The pace felt a little slow and I knew I could pass him (Coryea), so I went for it on the fourth lap to get in front," Gilmore said.