GHS track and field sweeps district team titles


Gainesville senior Will Turner clears the bar at 10-feet, 6-inches in the pole vault during the District 4-3A track and field championships at Forest High School in Ocala on Tuesday. The Hurricanes won team titles for both the boys and girls.

Bruce Ackerman/Staff photographer
Published: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 11:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 11:56 p.m.

OCALA — Gainesville won 14 events between the boys and girls teams at Tuesday's District 4-3A track meet at Ocala Forest, good enough to repeat as champions in both.

The Hurricanes boys, who won eight events, totaled 130 points, followed by Palm Coast Mantanzas with 98 and host Ocala Forest with 88.

In the girls, Gainesville finished with 139 points, with Mantanzas also second with 79.5 points and Forest in third with 78.

“It was great,” said GHS coach Rod McNeely. “It was such a hot day that some of the kids weren't as hydrated as they should have been. But we still won it going away.”

Picking up wins for the boys were Will Turner (pole vault, 10-6), Ralph Webb (long jump, 22-8), Kenric Young (400, 49.15), Ladale Thomas (300 hurdles, 42.09), Rashaard Brown (800, 2:00.99), and three relays — 4x800, 4x100 and 4x400.

Tony James, who finished third at state last year in Class 4A (running for Buchholz), has been hampered by a hamstring injury and didn't qualify in the 100 or 200. Because he didn't finish in the top four, he will not run those events at regionals.

“He did run, but showed signs that it was bothering him” McNeely said. “He was upset. But he will be part of the 4x100 relay team that will go on to regionals.”

In the girls, winners were freshman Nia Flagg (100, 12.37 and 200, 26.08), Payton Ashe (400, 1:00.97), Annie Cooper (800, 2:26.82), Crystal Williams (100 hurdles, 15.18), and the 4x100 relay.

“Nia Flagg really stood out by winning the 100 and 200, and being part of the winning 4x100 relay team,” McNeely said. “Annie Cooper also stood out by winning the 800 and being a part of the 4x800 relay that qualified for regionals.

“I was really proud of the boys, with the usuals doing great — Ralph Webb in the long jump, Chris Thompson led our team in the 100 and Kenric Young won the 400. It was an overall great team effort.”

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