Everything went about as well as possible for Hillsborough’s Jeremiah Green at Wednesday’s Class 3A-Region 2 meet — even if the triple jump and long jump runway at Leto High was about 25 feet shorter than what he’s used to.
“I just had to adjust my steps a little bit,” Green said. “I did pretty good, but it makes me think I can go a lot farther once I get (on the longer runway at the state meet). What could I do with a little more speed — maybe a lot more.”
Either way, Green remains a dominant force, winning Wednesday’s triple jump in 51 feet, 4 inches and the long jump in 22 feet, 9 inches. Oh yeah, he also won the 200 meters in 21.71 seconds and placed fourth in the 100 in 10.82.
Add it up and Green qualified in four events for next week’s state meet and should score a lot of points for Hillsborough.
“I could concentrate on the jumps but I want to help my team, so I’m going to run (the 100 and 200),” Green said. “I’m happy to do all four (events at state).”
Outside of Green, one of the most outstanding performances at the 3A meet went to Steinbrenner’s team, which had a strong presence in nearly every distance event.
The Warriors started the day by winning the 4x800 relay in 8:03.17 with Tyler Bess-Lima, Zach Bess-Lima, Tanner Biles and Derrick Gebhard.
Warrior Matt Magee followed with a victory in the 1,600 (4:23.10) and a third-place finish in the 800 (1:57.52). In the 3,200, Tyler Bess-Lima came back to win in 9:47.04 and teammate Chris Cerreta finished third in 9:53.72.
Steinbrenner won the boys team title with 59 points, followed by Jefferson with 55. Hillsborough was fourth with 49.5.
In girls, Chamberlain’s Andrea Aaron once again shined, winning the shot put 43 feet, 4 inches and taking second in the discus at 121-2.
Hillsborough’s Jorian Ordway also dominated in the 400 in 54.58 seconds, while King’s Carrol Hardy took second in the 100 (11.69), third in the 200 (24.43) and helped the Lions’ 4x100 relay to a fourth-place finish.
Hillsborough’s girls were the highest finishers among the area’s girls teams, taking third with 48 points, 23 behind winner Belleview.
Freedom’s Sandra Akachukwu qualified for the state meet in four events for the second year in a row, winning the 100, 200 and long jump, and placing second in the high jump at the Class 3A-Region 2 track championships. Akachukwu bettered all four of her marks from last year’s regional, including a personal best of 24.57 in the 200 and a mark of 5-8 in the high jump.
After winning the 200, Akachukwu said, “I was scared, because anything can happen, but on the other hand I know what to do. I’ve been doing it for a while.”
Akachukwu ran 11.90 in the 100 and long jumped 19-3.5 — two feet ahead of second place Charisa Powell of Riverview. “I wanted to run fast to get a good seed at state,” Akachukwu said.
Bloomingdale’s Matt LeBlanc also had a big day, winning the 1,600, 800 and running on Bloomingdale’s first place 4x800. In the 1,600, LeBlanc overtook Newsome’s Lars Benner on the final straight, narrowly winning in 4:24.88 to Benner’s 4:25.25.
In the 800, his final race of the day, a slow first lap from the field played to LeBlanc’s advantage. “We really picked it up on the second lap,” LeBlanc said, “And then it just came down to who had the biggest kick with 175 meters to go. I felt confident that I’d be able to make a move.”
Plant swept the girls’ 3,200, taking all four state-qualifying places. Anna Montgomery won in 11:30.62. She was closely followed by Caroline Gibson, Bailey Sullivan and Julia Rodriguez.
“We train every day as a team, so why not qualify as a team,” said Gibson, who also placed second in the 1,600, to teammate Scarlett Fox. “I don’t think many teams can say that they qualified together like that.”
Plant won the girls’ title with 106 points. Freedom was second with 85.5.
Wharton’s Tyler Watson and Mikayla Barber took first and second in the girls’ 300 hurdles in times of 44.44 and 44.49 respectively. Also for Wharton, Aerion Caldwell won the boys discus in 143-81/2.
In boys, Newsome placed highest among area schools with a runner-up finish at 70 points, two behind North Port.