The Collier County Freshman/Sophomore championships always provides a platform for younger track and field athletes to showcase their talents.
This year’s meet, which took place on Tuesday at Lely High School, was no different.
Despite the harsh, 25-mph winds blowing on the track that affected times and marks, there were some outstanding performances.
Before that though, both the Lely boys and girls track squads repeated as team champions. Both, literally and figuratively, ran away from the competition. The Lely Trojan boys totaled 141.5 points, nearly 50 points better than second-place Barron Collier.
“Our goal was to come to this meet and do the very best we could,” said Lely boys coach Mark McGarity. ”Everybody stepped up and did a phenomenal job. Very proud. Very happy.”
For the Lely girls, it was the fourth time in five years they have taken home the team title. The Trojans had 161.5 points as compared to second-place Naples High’s 114.5.
“It’s an honor to keep the tradition going,” said Lely team captain Johann Charelus, who won the individual 400 meters. “It shows we have a bright future here.”
Community School’s Stephanie Paul turned in one of the meet’s best performances. The 5-foot-11 freshman set a meet record in the discus with a toss of 123 feet, 11 inches. Making the mark more impressive was that Paul, who placed fifth at the Class 1A state championships last year as an eighth-grader, was throwing into a strong headwind.
“Stephanie has a ton of potential,” said CSN throws coach Dave Tanner. “She’s very powerful in the hips and legs, and has such long arms. It’s like a catapult.”
Immokalee sophomore Urias Velazquez also set a meet record, in the boys 1,600 meters with a time of 9:53.02. He also won the boys 3,200 meters.
Community School’s Lindsay Tomaini also doubled up with wins in the distance events. The freshman took first in both the girls 1,00 and 3,200. She won the first race by 20 seconds and the 3,200 by 30 seconds.
“I’m really happy with the way I ran,” the freshman said. “The wind was blowing really hard and I was just four seconds off my personal best in the 1,600.”
Golden Gate freshman Darlene Charles earned 40 of her team’s 70 total points. Charles earned victories in the 100 and 200 meters, the long jump and ran the anchor leg on Golden Gate’s triumphant 4x100-meter relay team.
“I like competition,” Charles said. “If I did anything less here, I’d be disappointed.”
Along with Velasquez, the Immokalee boys also had two other double winners. Sophomores Dudsen Senatus and Dejan Brown took home titles in the 100 and 200 meters, and the 110-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles, respectively.
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