Record number of athletes advance to track regionals


The track team headed out to Sebastian River High School to compete at the district meet April 19. The day would feature the boys’ 4x400m relay team of Austin Hayes, Grant Gibson, Christian Hayes and Jared Hayes winning its first district title, and 17 athletes making the next step towards the state championship. Gibson, looking for redemption after having his cross-country season cut short from a stress fracture, was among the athletes who qualified for regionals.

“Coming into districts, I knew that it was going to be one of my last high-school meets and I wanted to make it a good one,” Gibson said. “I ended up getting runner-up in the 4×800 (9:06) and the 800 (2:01.46) along with bringing home the win and new school record in the 4×400 (3:36.31). This was easily the best meet of my life, and I can’t wait to see what I will be able to do at regionals.”

Along with winning the 4×400, West Shore had two more district champions. Junior Jared Hayes defended his district title in the 800 with a time of 1:58.38, and senior Austin Camps won the 3200m with a time of 10:13.17.

“Having guys like Jared and Austin on the team really motivates the rest of us,” sophomore Jacob Kent said. “Even though I’m not one of the top runners, it’s fun to watch those who have found success.”

In the field events, freshman Holly Klug qualified for the long jump and triple jump with marks of 15-00.5 and 30-09.25 respectively. In the discus, seniors Ezze Chukwenenye (3rd) and Brooke Townsend (4th) qualified with throws of 97-04 and 91-01. Senior Keegan Schauman also moved on in the discus with his throw of 126-11.

“When I started throwing in 10th grade I didn’t even know what a discus was, but now I will be going to regionals for the second time in a row for the event,” Chukwenenye said. “It feels great to qualify. I know that this year’s field is very talented so even if I don’t move on but still throw a PR, I will still be fine. ”

To end out the day, the girls’ and boys’ 4x400m teams both qualified with the girls — sophomore Avery Kloeppel and juniors Molly Redito, Sydney Zamarano and Haley Walker — placing fourth with a time of 4:46.41 and the boys winning in 3:36.31.

“At first, I wasn’t sure if we were good enough to move on to regionals, but throughout the season we have been improving and it all came together on race day,” Kloeppel said. “I have to balance track with soccer practice which I have three to four days a week in Orlando. Even though it can be difficult to do both, it is worth it.”

Here is the full list of region qualifiers and what they qualified in: Holly Klug (Triple Jump, 4×100, Long Jump) , Molly Redito (4×100, 4×400) , Jonelle Plahuta (3200) , Ahjaney Friar (4×100) , Shannon Topp (4×100) , Sydney Zamarano (4×400) , Avery Kloeppel (4×400) , Haley Walker (4×400) , Ezzie Chukwenene (Discus) , Brooke Townsend (Discus) , Jared Hayes (800, 4×400, 4×800) , Grant Gibson (800, 4×800, 4×400) , Christian Camps (4×800, 3200) , Austin Hayes (4×400, 4×800) , Christian Hayes (4×400) , Austin Camps (3200) , Keegan Schauman (Discus).

The team’s regional meet is on April 28 at Traz Powell Stadium in Miami.

By Austin Hayes