After thunderstorms cut short the Western Conference's three divisional track and field meets Wednesday, there will be plenty of sorting out to do before next week's Vernon Korhn Hillsborough County Championships can be staged.
Each divisional meet completed varying numbers of finals, leaving some of the sport's 17 events undecided, including relays. As a result, extra qualifying rounds will likely be added to the schedule of the Vernon Korhn meet, where the top four performances from each divisional meet and the next best four marks earned the right to compete for county titles.
At Armwood, the National Division meet was called off when the qualifying rounds and all but one field event (boys high jump) were completed. Considering the winds there ripped apart the host's primary canopy and blew over the electronic timer's finish line camera, it was probably a good idea to end things before the brunt of the storms hit the Tampa Bay area.
Before action was halted, however, Hillsborough's boys and Wharton's girls appeared to have the necessary athletes qualified to make a strong run for the team title at Tuesday's county finals.
Wharton put itself into the lead by winning the first event, the 4x800-meter relay. That win produced 10 points and the Wildcats tallied 18 more with a 1-2 finish in the pole vault by Britany Smith and Ashley Cahill. Wharton picked up 14 from Dianna Mitchell with her second- and third-place efforts in the shot put and discus.
"I think we advanced (for the county championships) the girls we needed to today," said Wharton coach Wes Newton, whose squad has won all four Vernon Korhn titles. "What's gratifying about this team is we're winning without any real superstars. We just have girls who run track and field."
Hillsborough's boys were once again powered by jumps, hurdles, sprints and a winning 4x800 relay. Jeremiah Green, a sophomore, won the triple (42 feet, 11.5 inches) and long jump (20-1) and qualified third in both the 100 and 200. Anthony Brown, a junior, turned in the day's No. 1 qualifying time in the 100 (10.58 seconds) and 200 (21.7 handheld). Gerald Pearson and Evan Jennings posted the top qualifying times in the 100 and 300 hurdles to position Hillsborough well for the county finals.
Armwood's boys, the defending county champions, had a strong showing in the field events thanks to Shelldon Lewinson, who won both the shot put (48-2.5) and discus (144-2). With six events scored when the divisional meet was suspended, the Hawks held a 55-52 lead on Hillsborough.