TAMPA — Give it up for Alonso High, because for the first time in its 13-year history, it won a team title at a track meet.
The victory came Saturday at the 44th annual Nash Higgins Relays, where a group of female Ravens runners, jumpers and throwers combined for 65 points, six ahead of runner-up Steinbrenner.
“Our girls have been knocking on the door for a few years,” Alonso coach Roger Mills said. “This victory is a validation for all the work they’ve put in the last few years. I look at it as another step in building our program to where we want it to be.”
The Ravens pulled it off with solid performances from a wide variety of athletes, who won the 4x100 relay, finished second in the 4x400 and 4x800 relays, and placed third in the discus and shot put relays (combined length of three throwers).
Two of the outstanding Ravens performers included Lynette Robertson, who had the best overall leap in the long jump (17-1), and was the runner-up in the triple jump (35-2), and Megan Wetzel, who ran on the 4x100 and 4x400 relays and competed in the high jump.
For Wetzel, a junior, the team victory was paramount.
“I’ve been on this team for three years and we’ve been working so hard for all that time,” Wetzel said. “We really are a family and for our family to finally win a meet feels really great.”
On the boys’ side, Steinbrenner took its second consecutive Nash Higgins team title with 53 points, 12 ahead of runner-up Jefferson. Hillsborough was third with 40, followed by Freedom at 36.
The Warriors led their charge with victories in the shuttle-hurdle relay and the high jump and by scoring in every event of the meet.
“It was a good day for everybody,” Steinbrenner boys coach Mike Bosco said. “Today was a total team effort.”
Amid all the handoffs and compiling of feet and inches in the jumps and throws, some outstanding individual efforts emerged, including Bloomingdale’s Kevin Heron, who helped the Bulls to victories in the distance medley and the 4x800 relay and a runner-up finish in the 4x400 relay.
Heron’s 800-meter splits were around 2 minutes flat and his 400 time hovered around 50 seconds. Moving forward, look for Heron to contend for an individual state title in the 800.
Overall, Bloomingdale’s boys are the defending 4x800 state champions and appear capable of making another run at a state title this season.
On Saturday, the Bulls finished the 4x800 in 8:15.86, but were never challenged in the race, winning by almost 10 seconds.