Lady Sharks Win Regional Meet, County Sends 17 Athletes to States
By: Danny Aiello Jr
Coming off their dominant performance and 5-peat as district champions, the Nature Coast Lady Sharks won the 2A-2 regional track meet held Tuesday and Lake Minneola High in Clermont.
With the top four individuals and top two relay teams advancing to the state meet at the IMG Academy in Bradenton on Saturday, Hernando County had a strong day on the track, sending 17 athletes (eight male, nine female) and two relay teams to states.
Nature Coast led the way with seven individuals qualifying for states.
On the lady’s side, Ashley Gentz paced the Sharks with three regional runner-up finishes.
After setting a new school record in the long jump (17-04.00), Gentz went on to finish second in the 200 and 400 meter dashes before coming in first in the 4×400 relay alongside teammates Kaitlyn Pierce, Eboni Johnson and Velma Brinson.
Pierce would also qualify for the triple jump, finishing third (34-06.50) while Johnson would finish fourth in the 400 meter dash.
Jouie Miller and Annelise Rentas also advanced for the Lady Sharks as the former finished second in shot put (35-11.25) while the later finished fourth in the triple jump, a half inch short (34-06.00) of teammate Pierce for third place.
For the gentleman it was Deshawn Smith and Brian Haygood qualifying for the state meet. Smith finished third in the long jump (22-04.50) and fourth in the 100M dash (11.03) while Haygood finished second in the triple jump (42-04.25).
Weeki Wachee will send the 4×100 team of Montae Bostick, Sebastian Class, Donte Hauer and Shawn O’Gorman who finished second, alongside two individual athletes. Discus thrower Seytia Hill (103-03) finished second, while Marcus Jones captured fourth in the 110M hurdles with a time of 15.76.
Central returns home with two individual state qualifiers and one regional champion, the only female individual champion from the county.
Arreon Walter for the Lady Bears won first place in Discus (106-01), beating Hill by just about three feet to claim the region’s top spot.
Marli Grey also will be advancing to states as she finished third in the region with a pole vault of 8-06.00.
Hernando rounded out the county squads at the 2A Region 2 meet, and also managed to send three athletes to compete this Saturday.
Kaitlyn Batten finished the 100M hurdles in 16.60 seconds, good enough for a second place finish.
Christian Dowdell finished fourth in the triple jump (41-05.00), while distance runner Trevor Foley won the 1600M with a time of 4:23.40.
Foley was the only male runner to capture a regional title this year from Hernando County.
The State Meet will be held at IMG Academy Stadium located at 5650 Bollettieri Blvd., Bradenton, Florida 34210.
The prelims will take place Friday with the finals on Saturday. Admission is $9 per day.
Girl’s Results Individual Event ( Top 4 Advance To States):
Pole Vault: 3. Marli Grey (CEN) 8-06.00
Long Jump: 2. Ashley Gentz (NCT) 17-04.00
Triple Jump: 3. Kaitlyn Pierce (NCT) 34-06.05, 4. Annelise Rentas (NCT) 34-06.00
Discus: 1. Arreon Walter (CEN) 106-01, 2. Seytia Hill (WW) 103-03
Shot Put: 2. Jouie Miller (NCT) 35-11.25
4×400 Relay: 1. Nature Coast (Ashley Gentz, Kaitlyn Pierce, Eboni Johnson, Velma Brinson) 4:05.16
100M Hurdles: 2. Kaitlyn Batten (HER) 16.60,
200M: 2. Ashley Gentz (NCT) 25.22
400M: 2. Ashley Gentz (NCT) 58.95, 4. Eboni Johnson (NCT) 1:00.15
Boys’s Results Individual Event (Top 4 Advance To Regionals):
Long Jump: 3. DeShawn Smith (NCT) 22-04.50,
Triple Jump: 2. Brian Haygood (NCT) 42-04.25, 4. Christian Dowdell (HER) 41-05.00,
4X100 Relay: 2. Weeki Wachee (Montae Bostick, Sebastian Class, Donte Hauer, Shawn O’Gorman) 43.85
110M Hurdles: 4. Marcus Jones (WW) 15.76
100M: 4. Deshawn Smith (NCT) 11.03
1600M: 1. Trevor Foley (HER) 4:23.40