WINTER PARK – Fittingly, in their final appearances at storied Showalter Field, dominating distance runners Andres Arroyo and Bridget Blake shared the stage as they successfully started their quests to make state history on Friday.
Both hope to vie for state meet triples in two weeks in Jacksonville and both won 800-, 1,600 and 3,200-meter district races.
Arroyo, a UF signee attempting to become the first large-classification boy to sweep state distance events, jogged through his three races before spectacularly finishing the 3,200 with 54.5-second lap, the fastest of the 14 laps he logged on Friday.
FSU-bound Blake, who has already collected seven state championships in track and cross country, can be the first large-class girl to turn the trifecta at metric distances, which date to 1990. In the yards era, Clearwater’s Lisa Beck won the 880, mile and 2-mile in 1980.
Their next step is Thursday’s Class 4A, Region I meet at Flagler Palm Coast.
Kissimmee Gateway senior Amber Jackson broke her own school records with District 4 title marks in the triple jump (38-feet, 6½ inches) and long jump (18-5). Her triple jump distance is a 2013 area best.
Olympia junior Alex Gomez won both vertical jumps, leading a 1-2-3 sweep in the triple, and the Titans also had four of the top five finishers in the 800 as they won District 3 and maintained momentum in their pursuit of a boys state team title. The Olympia girls also won by a close margin over rival Dr. Phillips.
National 400 leader Reggie Glover of DP closed the night with a sizzling 46.46 relay split that gave the Panthers the 4x400 win.
Winter Park won both the boys and girls team titles in District 4.
The two-for-one day of track capped an eventful week as the sport steams toward state meets at UNF in Jacksonville.
Two of the nation’s top sprinters fell out of the running. Jones senior Levonte “Kermit” Whitfield, the U.S. 100 leader and two-time defending 2A state champion at that distance, was sidelined by tendinitis.
Port Orange Spruce Creek’s Xavier Atkins, the nation’s second-ranked sophomore in both sprints, was knocked out by a strained hamstring suffered in the 4x100 at Wednesday’s 4A, District 2 meet.
In 1A, Region 2 on Thursday, First Academy’s boys captured the school’s first region track title at home and Lake Mary Prep senior Abby Hani won all four of her events – the 100m 200, 400 and long jump.
Kissimmee Liberty’s boys took the school’s first FHSAA team title in any sport by winning the 3A, District 5 crown. Evans senior Taylor Day won the girls high jump (5-feet, 6-inches) and long jump (19-2½), was third in the 400, and ran a leg on the winning 4x400 relay to lead the Trojans to that girls title.
Jones junior Stefani Kerrison ran an area-best 100 hurdles time of 14.27 and also won the 300 hurdles and high jump in her 2A regional. Lake Highland Prep’s Deanna Hall had wins in the 100, 200 and 4x100 in the same meet at Jacksonville Bolles.
Seminole sophomore Farrin Brownlowe, Celebration junior Jhonny Victory and Orlando Christian Prep senior Justin Jack all high-jumped 6-8 at separate meets.
Girls Track and field
4A, District 3
At Showalter Field, Winter Park