Florida girls showed the Music City Distance Carnival what the sunshine state is made of with stellar performances in the high school mile.
With a waterfall start and a stacked field, the first start included a fall from FHSAA 3A 3200m state champion, Parker Valby. With a recall, the ladies were back on the starting line ready to race.
The second start was a clean one with FHSAA 3A state champions Valerie Lastra and Parker Valby on the inside of the rail from the gun with FHSAA 4A state champion, Alyssa Hendrix, Jordan Shapiro, and Rylee Pustilnik following.
Lastra came through the first 400m in the lead behind the pacer in a smooth 1:09.32 first lap followed by Valby in 1:09.76 and Hendrix trailing behind them in a pack, going through at 1:10.09.
Going into the second lap, at the 300m mark, Lastra still maintained her lead with Tennessee's standout freshman, Jenna Hutchins, making her move past Valby.
Earlier this season, we saw Lastra and Valby compete head to head in the Pepsi Florida Relays 1600m, and the start of this race at the MCDC looked very similar. This was the first time this season Lastra, Valby, and Hendrix were all in the same race competing head to head.
Down the home stretch for the 800m mark was a huge pack of girls, Lastra still leading the way and Hendrix looking to make a move and get out of the cluster. Lastra lead the pack through the 800m in 2:21.09 -- a 1:11.77 second lap with Valby and Hendrix stride for stride at 2:22. Shapiro came through at 2:25 with Pustilnik two seconds behind in 2:27.
With 600m to go, Hendrix made a move looking strong down the back stretch to be in the lead pack and compete for the win.
The bell lap was go time for the sunshine state. Lastra went through in 3:35.06 -- a 1:13.98 third lap -- with Hutchins, Skylar Boogerd (TN), Valby and Hendrix right behind.
At the 350m mark, Hendrix made her move past Valby to head into third place right behind Hutchins. Lastra was not going to go down without a fight. We have seen her all season take the race out in blistering paces, maintain them, and win high level competitions. This race at the Music City Distance Carnival was no exception.
Hendrix looked incredibly strong, maintaining great form with 200m to go, finding another gear and pushing to be up with Lastra and Hutchins.
A new trio broke away with Hutchins, Lastra, and Hendrix stride for stride eyeing the finish line.
As they came down the home stretch, Hutchins took the win in a blistering 4:43.33 mile -- going through 4:41 at the 1600m mark. Lastra was second in 4:45.95 with Hendrix a second behind in 4:46.58. Valby took fifth in 4:51.64, followed by Shapiro in 20th in 5:08.15, and Pustilnik 22nd in 5:15.10.
With their mile times converted, Lastra and Hendrix would have been around the 4:44 mark for the 1600m with Valby at an estimated 4:49.95. Their mile times put Lastra at a US No. 5, Hendrix at US No. 7 and Valby at US No. 22 standing.