JACKSONVILLE -- Mother Nature created havoc with Saturday’s Class 4A state championships at the University of North Florida, but that didn’t stop Miami Killian’s girls’ team from coming through with an impressive third-place finish.
The Cougars (42 points) placed behind champion St. Thomas Aquinas (92) and runner-up Boyd Anderson (82) in team competition.
Meet officials were forced to revise the format twice to make accommodations for the wind and rain that soaked the Jacksonville area for each of the last two days. All finals were first moved up two hours — that decision being made on Friday when officials made a similar change for the Class 3A meet.
With forecasts calling for even stronger rain and winds to hit the area later in the night, the jury of appeals elected to go with timed finals, meaning athletes would skip any preliminary races and the time you posted in your race would determine your finish in the event.
It left numerous athletes, coaches and fans wondering who won an event with two heats, such as the 100-, 200- and 400-meter races. For Killian senior Ebony Morrison, it resulted in a day of adjusting to the new format while battling the adverse conditions.
“It was horrible out there. In the long jump, the rain and wind was coming right into your face, it was a mess,” she said. “And then when they made it timed races, it really made for a rushed day for someone like me.
“I no sooner finished the long jump and I had to get ready for the 100 hurdles. It was tough adjusting for the 200, too. They just threw me in the 200 this year so knowing I’ve got to give it all on my first try was a little tough, but it was something I had to deal with.”
Morrison seemed to adapt in nice fashion. Despite jumping into the wind and rain, she finished first with a winning jump of 19-4½. With teammate Dominique Bullock adding a third place finish, the Cougars totaled 16 points in the event.
Morrison picked up her second individual title by winning the 100 hurdles event in 13.82. She later added a third-place finish in the 200-meter dash. On the boys’ side, Coral Park was the top finisher among Dade teams with 25 points, good for seventh place. Olympia won the team crown with 49 points, edging St. Thomas Aquinas with 42.
All 25 of Coral Park’s points came from the Delgado brothers. Steven captured the discus throw and was third in the shot put while his brother Kevin was second in the shot (for the second year in a row) and eighth in the discus.
“It was extremely tough throwing the discus,” Steven Delgado said. “I had to play with the towels and keep the discus covered until the last second and then throw it quick before it got wet. A couple times it slipped out of my hand. I only got off two good throws, but one of them was for over 160 feet and that was good enough for the win.”
Coral Reef’s Davon Clark won the triple jump with an effort of 46-91/2, two feet less than his winning jump at the regional meet last weekend. He also cited tough conditions which kept the jumps below average.
I was trying to avoid hitting the board because they said the board was very slippery and that could be very dangerous,” Clark said. “I’m happy. I came out here to win it and that’s what I did. I wish I could have gone further but a win is a win.”
Barbra Vilson led South Dade to a fourth-place finish in the girls competition with her runner-up finish in the high jump and running a leg on the 1600-meter relay team that finished third. Teammate Joan Joseph added a third in the shot put.
Columbus’ Amir Rasul left a strong impression in his first state meet. The freshman sprinter won the 100-meter race in 10.81 to beat two others by .01 seconds and finished a close second in the 200-meter race.