Blue Wave boys, Oak Hall girls repeat titles

Runners round the curve during the first lap of the boys 1600 meter race during the District 5-1A track and field meet on Thursday.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 11:50 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 11:50 p.m.

Shortly before he left for the emergency room, P.K. Yonge throws coach Brian LaPlant gathered his team together at Thursday's District 1A-5 meet hosted by Oak Hall.

LaPlant, who lacerated his right index finger while setting up his team's tent, would miss almost three hours of the championships but first wanted to make sure his throwers could give the Blue Wave the start they needed to repeat as district winners for the 12th straight year.

“I was squeezing it and holding it together, and I said to the throwers, ‘Hey guys, you're going out there, and you know what you're doing. You've been here before,'” LaPlant said.

Following his coach's speech, senior Josh Johnson set a personal record in the shot put with a winning toss of 46 feet, 3 1/2 inches and placed P.K. Yonge on track to score 142 points in its title defense.

When district runner-up Cedar Key separated from the 10-team field with three individual wins — including a top-four sweep of the pole vault — the Blue Wave's sprinters helped overtake the lead in the 400-meter dash behind junior Craig Joiner's first-place time of 52.87.

Also winning for P.K. Yonge was the 4x100-meter relay team comprised of Anthony Andrews — who also finished second in the 200-meter dash — Dock Luckie, Willie McKnight and Derek Bain. In the second to last event, Garrett Westlake, a senior, sealed the win for P.K. Yonge by claiming the 3,200-meter run with a final time of 10:22.85.

“(The streak) means a lot to them, and that's what counts,” LaPlant said. “They know it's a pride thing, and they work hard for it. Anytime they feel like they want to slow down or skip out on stuff, that's what pushes them.”

While the Blue Wave boys continued their dominant district run, the P.K. Yonge girls team struggled to reclaim its title-winning form from Oak Hall, which broke the Blue Wave's five-year streak last season.

Fueled by breakaway performances from their state-ranked distance runners, the Eagles defended their championship by totaling 203.5 points to cruise past second-place Cornerstone, which scored 86.

Oak Hall junior Brittney Olinger led the way with victories in the 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs with teammates Lauren Perry, Emma Rembert and Talia Carlson following closely behind. The host Eagles earned 29 points in each event as its runners filled the top four.

“We have a strong distance group, but I was really pleased coming out of the field event,” OHS coach Edwin McTureous said. “All of my girls competed well in the triple jump, the high jump and we scored in the discus. Knowing that we had some strength in the distance coming up, I thought was huge.”

Though Oak Hall claimed five individual events and two relays on the day, just four of their winners are currently in high school.

Along with eight-grader Lauren Perry's runner-up results behind Olinger, seventh-grader Grace Blair opened a nearly 12-second lead with her first-place run of 2:25.75 in the 800-meter run.

“We have a lot of depth on our team, and a lot of our young athletes are able to put in really big marks for us,” Olinger said. “The majority of our team is probably middle schoolers, but that's even more impressive.”

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