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Eagles Are GC8 Champs!

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The Springstead Eagles soared to victory in the Gulf Coast 8 Track and Field Championships on Tuesday. The Red, White, and Blue took the gold in both the boys and girls overall scoring 203.5 and 250 points respectively. The five in-county high schools plus Lecanto, Citrus, and Crystal River met at Weeki Wachee to take part in the tournament.

 

 

The boys’ competition saw the Nature Coast Sharks put up a strong second-place showing, but none of the other six schools managed to come within 100 points of the top two. The afternoon went similarly for the girls. Springstead bested the Lecanto Panthers by 90 points while sprinting away from the rest of the schools at the meet.

 

Boys’ Team Results (in points):

  1. Springstead (203.5)
  2. Nature Coast (182)
  3. Lecanto (61.5)
  4. Citrus (54)
  5. Weeki Wachee (53)
  6. Hernando (51)
  7. Crystal River (40)
  8. Central (34)

 

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Girls’ Team Results (in points):

  1. Springstead (250)
  2. Lecanto (160)
  3. Hernando (87)
  4. Nature Coast (53)
  5. Weeki Wachee (52)
  6. Citrus (36)
  7. Crystal River (31)
  8. Central (10)

 

As part of their team sweep, the Eagles naturally had a fair few standouts during the evening. Seniors Tyler Morgan and Isaac Rosario scored 31 and 32 points respectively. Senior Zach McCollum contributed 24 more for the boys, and De’Aijah “Kentucky” Tullis contributed a massive 36 team point total on her way to winning the 100 hurdles and triple jump. She also nabbed second in the high jump and 400 hurdles. Addison Osborne won shot put and discus while placing fifth in javelin. Ava Kanaar (100) and Aliviya Schabilion (pole vault) rounded out the impressive afternoon by breaking school records in their respective events.

 

“We have a great coaching staff. Our veteran coach Graham is so knowledgeable, and Coach Mance and Walden are always encouraging our athletes,” said Eagles Coach Tyler Mahla. “Our kids have gone through a lot of injuries and adversity throughout this season, but they have done a really great job persevering […] Our team has done a great job competing and we are all very proud.”

 

Nature Coast Tech’s Zayden McKenzie takes the baton from Trent Montgomery to anchor the 4x100 to first place at the GC8 Track and Field Championships at Weeki Wachee High School. Photo by [Joe DiCristofalo]
Nature Coast Tech’s Zayden McKenzie takes the baton from Trent Montgomery to anchor the 4×100 to first place at the GC8 Track and Field Championships at Weeki Wachee High School. Photo by [Joe DiCristofalo]

Despite the Eagles taking home the hardware overall, there were still several individual competitions where other schools excelled. Look no further than the Sharks’ boys’ team who took first place in the high jump, triple jump, and all three relays. Dashawn Allen (high jump – 1.85 meters), Joseph Lizor (2nd – javelin), and Zayden McKenzie (100 meter – 11.01) all set personal records on Tuesday. Other players such as Kason O’Neil (800) and Noah Carpenter (mile, 2-mile) impressed Nature Coast Track Head Coach Chase Liggett as well.

 

“We came into tonight knowing we were a long shot to win the meet,” Coach Liggett said. “We’ve been very strong all year, but we knew that Springstead has been the class of the area in track and field for some time now, and the task in front of us was tall. But the improvement, from where the program has been the last several years to where we are now, and where we project to be in the coming years cannot be overstated. Our boys have really bought in to the program and take pride in what they do […] Three of those six names are sophomores, two are freshmen. The future is very bright. I could name several more: Cromer, Cespedes. But as a whole team, the strength shows in the relays. First in all three relays, I could not be more proud of our whole program and there are big things to come going forward. Second place is a huge step in the right direction for this program.”

 

Head Coach Patrick Skipper’s Hornets also found some success on Tuesday as Jasmine Randazzo cleaned up in her events. She finished her monster outing with three first place finishes, a second place, and two school records in the 100 and 200 meters. Bakari Hodge-Mauldin (400) and Leelan “Tweety” Wright (javelin) also broke school records in their competitions while Mauldin tied his own school record in the 200 meters. Up next for the five local high schools: districts.

 

“The GC8 is a good tune-up for our district meet coming up next week,” Coach Skipper said. “I think for the most part, the kids competed well. On the girls’ side there was nobody better than Jasmine Randazzo […] We are looking forward to traveling to South Sumter on April 25 for our district meet and see how many we can advance to the regional meet.”

 

Hernando High’s Dakendrick Miller concentrates on his landing spot after a successful high jump attempt at the GC8 Track and Field Championships at Weeki Wachee High School. Photo by [Joe DiCristofalo]
Hernando High’s Dakendrick Miller concentrates on his landing spot after a successful high jump attempt at the GC8 Track and Field Championships at Weeki Wachee High School. Photo by [Joe DiCristofalo]
Springstead’s Isaac Rosario, 3, eventually overcame fellow Springstead competitor Zachary McCollum and Citrus High’s Miles Tobin to win the Men’s 1600 at the GC8 Track and Field Championships at Weeki Wachee High School. Photo by [Joe DiCristofalo]
Springstead’s Isaac Rosario, 3, eventually overcame fellow Springstead competitor Zachary McCollum and Citrus High’s Miles Tobin to win the Men’s 1600 at the GC8 Track and Field Championships at Weeki Wachee High School. Photo by [Joe DiCristofalo]
Womens 1600 meter champ, Hernando High’s Remi Lay won by over 33 seconds in a time of 5:36.45 at the GC8 Track and Field Championships at Weeki Wachee High School. Photo by [Joe DiCristofalo]
Womens 1600 meter champ, Hernando High’s Remi Lay won by over 33 seconds in a time of 5:36.45 at the GC8 Track and Field Championships at Weeki Wachee High School. Photo by [Joe DiCristofalo]
Springstead High’s Chadiell Echavarria takes flight in the long jump event at the GC8 Track and Field Championships at Weeki Wachee High School. Photo by [Joe DiCristofalo]
Springstead High’s Chadiell Echavarria takes flight in the long jump event at the GC8 Track and Field Championships at Weeki Wachee High School. Photo by [Joe DiCristofalo]
Nature Coast Tech’s Ayden Cespedes launches the discus at the GC8 Track and Field Championships at Weeki Wachee High School. Photo by [Joe DiCristofalo]
Nature Coast Tech’s Ayden Cespedes launches the discus at the GC8 Track and Field Championships at Weeki Wachee High School. Photo by [Joe DiCristofalo]
Nature Coast Tech’s Immanuel Cardoza launches the discus at the GC8 Track and Field Championships at Weeki Wachee High School. Photo by [Joe DiCristofalo]
Nature Coast Tech’s Immanuel Cardoza launches the discus at the GC8 Track and Field Championships at Weeki Wachee High School. Photo by [Joe DiCristofalo]
Central High’s Ja'Corry Graham sticks his landing in the long jump event at the GC8 Track and Field Championships at Weeki Wachee High School. Photo by [Joe DiCristofalo]
Central High’s Ja’Corry Graham sticks his landing in the long jump event at the GC8 Track and Field Championships at Weeki Wachee High School. Photo by [Joe DiCristofalo]
Springstead High’s Ava Kanaar takes the baton from J’Ziyah Munford to anchor the winning 4x100 relay team at the GC8 Track and Field Championships at Weeki Wachee High School. Photo by [Joe DiCristofalo]
Springstead High’s Ava Kanaar takes the baton from J’Ziyah Munford to anchor the winning 4×100 relay team at the GC8 Track and Field Championships at Weeki Wachee High School. Photo by [Joe DiCristofalo]

Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch is a Graduate with Distinction, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. He's written numerous articles reporting on Florida Gators football, basketball, and soccer teams; the sports of rugby, basketball, professional baseball, hockey, and the NFL Draft. Prior to Hernando Sun he was a contributor to ESPN, Gainesville, FL and Gator Country Multimedia, Inc. in Gainesville, FL, and Stadium Gale.
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