Girls Virtual Meet l Boys Virtual Meet
Out Of Door Academy's Saraiah Walkes is only an 8th grader, but she's no stranger to the state meet. As a 7th grader she was the 100m runner-up at the high school state championship and won the middle state championship in the 400 meters. She set personal bests of 12.09, 24.79, and 56.22 to win the 1A Region 2 Championship. Of the 31 races she has run this season, she has yet to finish lower than second in any of them. The sprint sweep will not be easy as the defending champions Jalesia Tillman (100), Jazmine Alderman (200), and Moriah Oliveira all return.
In the distance events, Grace Blair and Olivia Rovin are familiar opponents who have faced each other plenty of times both on the cross country course and the track. Last year, Blair and Rovin went 2-3 in the 1,600m and are the top two seeds coming into the weekend. Blair is also the favorite in both the 800 and 3,200m.
The field events won't be star studded, but they do have some storylines. Princeton University signee Katie Barnett is knocking on the door of 20 feet in the long jump and 40 feet in the triple jump and has the potential to hit those marks. She will also be a key factor along with Alderman, teammate Faith Nelms and several others in their chances in the team standings. Cooper Monn of Mt. Dora Christian Academy was third in the discus last year and will be the favorite. Monn is ranked third in the shot put.
On the team side, the Oak Hall girls cruised through their district and region, and are looking for their second straight 1A title. Admiral Farragut, who was third in 2016, and state champions in 2015, will get impactful points in the sprints, jumps and relays just like the Eagles, but it is the lack of points in distance events if any that will be their achilles heel.
The boy's sprints events aren't going to be blazing, with nobody breaking 11, 22, or 50 in regional action. Bishop McLaughlin's Owen Clanahan is seeded third (based on regional results) in the 100m, and is the fastest returner in the 200 after finishing fourth in 2016. Interestingly enough Clanahan does not appeared to be entered in the 300m hurdles where he is the defending state champion.
That will open the door for The First Academy freshman Alex Shields who is having a phenomenal season and is looking for his first state title. His biggest challenge will come from Northside Christian's Tyler Rhodes who was 4th in the 300m hurdles last year and runner-up in the 110's.
Pine School senior Chase Hyland was the 1,600m runner-up behind Noah Perkins last year and didn't even compete in the 3,200m although he won his regional. This year is Hyland's last shot at an elusive state title and his best during his high school career.
In the field events, the long jump runs through Snead's Jacore Irving who is looking for his third straight championship and a triple jump trophy to add to the list after a runner-up finish in 2016.Caleb Phillips and Kane Aldrich will go head to head in the pole vault in hopes of pushing each other to new personal bests.
The team battle looks to be a two team race between Saint Stephens and Indian Rocks Christian. Saint Stephens will get key points from Andrew Csuback in the 800 and in their relays while IRC will rely heavily on their 4x4 and 4x8 teams as well as thrower James Thorpe. Thorpe might just be one of the most underrated in the state being from the state's smallest classification, but heaving the discus 175-2 and 57-2 at the regional championship.