Thursday in Punta Gorda at Charlotte HS was definitely Ladies Night, and O. What a Night for Ortiz!
The meet started out with a bang, literally of course. The 4 x800m everyone thought they would see in Naples 2 weeks ago was finally going to happen. Estero HS with Kacy Smith vs Lakewood Ranch and Olivia Ortiz, it was a tight race from the gun, Estero getting the baton to Smith with about a 4 or 5 second lead. If anyone was questioning the health, durability or determination of Kacy Smith, those questions were answered with a 2:17 anchor leg and Estero winning in 9:38 and keeping that 4 second lead over Lakewood Ranch 9:42.
The meet was a close one between Lely, Dunbar, Lakewood Ranch, and Estero. The distance points would be divided between Lakewood Ranch and Estero, while Dunbar and Lely would fight for the Sprints and field event points.
The Lely girls would come out victorious and look for them to be a force as a team in their new found 3A division for the next 2 years. They had the meet locked up going into the 4 x 400m, but still put on a clinic easily winning in 4:11, with 3 freshmen and a sophomore.
The surprise of the night in my opinion was Lely’s freshman Christy Thorstenson winning the stacked 800m field in 2:20, including runners like Kacy Smith, Danielle De Greef, Courtney Russo, and making a name for herself newcomer freshman Megan Slater of Estero.
The queen of the ball though was definitely Olivia Ortiz. She was a jovial as always, but ready for work. She lined up for the 1600m next to Smith and the 2 would go lap for lap through 3, just as I looked at my watch wondering why they were on pace for about a 5:12 winning time, Olivia decided to drop a 1:11 last lap and cruise to a 5:03 1600m taking a 7 second win. She would come back in the 3200m and run as close to even as you can when you win by 33 seconds (5:20, 5:25). Katy G. Solis ran the race of her life dropping a 22 second PR laying chase.
The one thing everyone needs to remember about this meet and the times of these girls is, every event in the finals is on at least half rest without the boys running. Charlotte is one of the finest facilities in the State and the coaching staff and volunteers are a class act. So long as they keep feeding us coaches that is. Now for some sleep and the boys at Edison.