TRACK & FIELD: Schedule change could help state title chances for area runners

By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports

A few changes to this year’s track and field state championships could prove to be beneficial to some area teams.

In previous years, Classes 1A and 2A would each run their complete events on one day, with Classes 3A and 4A following things the next day. Now, all four classes and all different types of events are mismatched throughout a two-day meet.

What does this mean for area runners?

Those like Charlotte High School’s Marshall Dillon as well as Lemon Bay’s Abigayle Weinfeld and Kelsi Ogilvie will have a day to rest between running the 3200-meter and 1600-meter races.

“The heat from running the 4×8 and (1600) really gets to you,” Weinfeld said after the 3200 at the regional meet last week. “You don’t think it does, but it really drains your energy.”

Weinfeld finished first in the 1600 at the Region 2A-3 meet with a time of 5 minutes, 17.74 seconds. Teammate Ogilvie was second in that event.

Despite running the 3200 less than two hours later, the two Manta Rays still managed to finish one-two, with Ogilvie taking first at the longer distance.

“Only possible drawback is that every girl in the state is going to be just as fresh,” Lemon Bay coach Joe Casale said. “The two mile is going to be lightning fast. You’ll see more kids double up, and as a result I think you’ll see better times.”

Dillon also will appreciate the 24-hour gap between his two longest races considering he injured himself during the 1600 at regionals, a race in which he finished third.

“I think he’s going to be just fine,” Charlotte coach Jerry Voss said. “He had a soft tissue issue. It’s unfortunate that it happened when it did, but we’re looking for him to have a pretty good weekend.”

Voss and Casale recognized the change in scheduling early and strategized accordingly.

“We’ve certainly been looking at this for the last three months,” Voss said. “This schedule came out last winter, and even before the track season started. we knew what we were getting into as far as qualifying.”

Casale thinks the break up in races will allow his girls to run two stronger races.

“We want both of those two to go out and run sub 11:20 (in the 3200),” Casale said. “We believe that because there’s not another race Friday, they can go after it and leave it all on the track, and not worry about the mile until the next day.”

Another new advantage the area’s competitors, not just distance runners, will have is the venue location.

In previous years, the state meet was held in Jacksonville. This year, it’s at the IMG Academy in Bradenton.

“It’s an advantage for us right now because we get to sleep in our own beds,” Voss said. “You want to keep them in their routines as much as possible.”

But North Port coach, Phu Nguyen, who has six girls going to states, looks at it a different way, and doesn’t find it as advantaegous.

“When we travel we get to stay in a hotel and have a 10-minute drive to the track,” Nguyen said, “In this scenario, it’s going to be about 90 minutes. So it puts us at a disadvantage. We’ll be getting there around 6:30 or 7 o’clock. At the state meet in Jacksonville, we wouldn’t have to get there that early.”

FHSAA STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
WHO: Qualifying Charlotte, Lemon Bay and North Port athletes
WHEN: Today-Saturday, events begin at noon today and at 9 a.m. Saturday
WHERE: IMG Academy Stadium, 5650 Bollettieri Blvd., Bradenton
TV: Webcast via NFHSNetwork.com.
TICKETS: $9 admission, $5 parking per day. Parking is cash only at the event, but may be prepaid online at FHSAA.org

QUALIFYING ATHLETES

NORTH PORT (4A)
Long jump
Competitor (grade): Alexis Francavilla (10)
Day/time: Today, 6 p.m.
Pole vault
Competitor (grade): Morgan Gloster (11)
Day/time: Today, Noon
4×800
Team (grades): Kaley Boethig (11), Nicole Raczka (12), Lindsay Boethig (11), Shelby Cutchineal (11)
Day/time: Saturday, 10 a.m.

CHARLOTTE (3A)
110 hurdles
Competitor (grade): D’Vonte Price (11)
Day/time: Saturday, 2 p.m. (2nd event scheduled)
300 hurdles
Competitor (grade): Brittny Augustin (10)
Day / time: Saturday, 2 p.m. (8th event scheduled)
4×100
Team (grades): Kaitlyn Chavarria (9), Brittny Augustin (10), Jaliyah Underwood (11), Dana Donovan (11)
Day/time: Saturday, 2 p.m. (7th event scheduled)
4×100
Team (grade): Stantley Thomas (12), D’Andre Hicks (11), D’Vonte Price (11), Savorion Warren (10)
Day/time: Saturday, 2 p.m. (7th event scheduled)
4×800
Team (grades): Justin Uebelacker (12), Christopher Daniele (12), Chauncey Graham (12), Marshall Dillon (12)
Day/time: Saturday, 10 a.m.
1600
Competitor (grade): Marshall Dillon (12)
Day/time: Saturday, 2 p.m. (10th event scheduled)
3200
Competitor (grade): Marshall Dillon (12)
Day/time: Today, 3 p.m. (l0th event scheduled)
Pole vault
Competitor (grade): Natalie Jen (9)
Day/time: Today, Noon (3rd event scheduled)
Shot put
Competitor (grade): Kendall Chavarria (12)
Day/time: Saturday, 12 p.m.

LEMON BAY (2A)
4×800
Team (grades): Abby Weinfeld (12), Kelsi Ogilvie (11), Kristen Robinson (11), Maddison Welch (10)
Day/time: Saturday, 10 a.m.
1600
Competitors (grades): Abby Weinfeld (12), Kelsi Ogilvie (11)
Day/time: Saturday, 2 p.m. (10th event scheduled)
3200
Competitors (grades): Kelsi Ogilvie (11), Abby Weinfeld (12)
Day/time: Today, 3 p.m. (10th event scheduled)
High Jump
Competitor (grade): Ronnie Blem (12)
Day/time: Today, 6 p.m. (2nd event scheduled)
Discus
Competitor (grade): Rob Cerami (12)
Day/time: Today, 4 p.m. (2nd event scheduled)

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