While the Immokalee boys’ track team stole the show, winning a district title at the class 2A district 12 Championship meet on Tuesday, a pair of other area schools also represented themselves well.
The Golden Gate boys’ squad finished second behind the Indians, but it would be the Titan girls that would show up the competition in their events, winning a district title under coach Linda Hamernik.
“We came in third at the Collier County Championships, but we did awesome here tonight,” she said. “Going up against bigger schools like Barron Collier is tough, but here the competition is better.”
Naomi Andre was the lead runner for the Titans, winning first place in the 100 and 200 meter dashes, even though she was caught with a regrettable blemish on the 400 meter dash – a false start.
Golden Gate did receive strong performances from others as well.
“We needed everyone to score points for us tonight,” Hamernik continued.
The lady Titan 4 X 400 relay team picked up a first place finish, edging out Immokalee at the finish line. The Indians’ final runner in the race tossed her baton at the race’s conclusion, resulting in her disqualification.
Golden Gate’s male counterparts also turned in a successful effort, leading to their second place finish.
Jaeden Hamernik finished first in both the mile and two-mile events, all the while running on a leg he tweaked earlier in the week pole vaulting.
“I overcoached him,” Drew Hamernik, Jaeden’s father and boys’ coach said.
Throughout the effort, the Titans turned in a strong showing, not backing down from an Immokalee school that has speed oozing out their ears.
“I’m just so happy we placed in the top two,” the boys’ coach said. “Now I’ll take the next nine days to worry about regionals.”
The Palmetto Ridge Bears worked through stiff competition to earn a respectable finish as well.
The young program that brings with it a young roster saw, their girls finish fourth in a field of nine schools, while the boys took seventh.
“We only scored nine points last week,” girls’ coach Dan Newbrough said. “Today we worked well into the seventies.”
While part of the equation in improving over last week’s sub-par outing was competing against more equivalent opponents rather than bigger schools, the Bears’ coaches take nothing away from the results turned in by their athletes.
“Last year I only took three kids to regionals,” Newbrough said. “This year I’ll be taking a lot more.”
Smantha Doty took second in both the mile and two-mile runs for Palmetto, leading the pack of those representing the school in regional competition.
As both schools now focus on the more earnest competition that lays ahead, both programs look to the future as opportunity rather than difficulty.
Regionals will be held at Berkeley Prep School in Tampa, Apr. 20.