The Port St. Joe Jr./Sr. High School girls’ track team won its seventh-straight district track title last week at Bozeman High School.
Remove the sprints from the equation and the Lady Tiger Sharks were in control everywhere else in pulling away from the District 2-1A field.
The win is more astounding given that due to weather and the girls’ basketball team advancement to the state Class 1A final four, the Lady Tiger Sharks had what could be charitably called a short season.
“It was a very compressed season,” said Coach Keion McNair. “We only competed in three track meets (before district).
“I’d like to have had more, but we know how to get them ready in a short amount of time. They did a great job. We kind of dominated the meet.”
The top four finishers in each event advanced to the Region 1-1A meet to be held April 27 in Jacksonville.
“We qualified just about everybody,” McNair said.
Another startling aspect to this particular Lady Tiger Shark team is its youth; two seniors and one junior competed last week at district, every other athlete was a sophomore or younger.
As an example, consider the distance events.
In the 400 meters, Madelyn Gortemoller took first, Emily Barwick second and Ashton Amison fifth, just missing a berth at regionals; Gortemoller is a ninth-grader, the other two eighth-graders.
Zoe Gerlach, another ninth-grader, won the 800 meters with Savannah Burkett (a sophomore) second and Hannah DeCosta, a seventh-grader, in third.
The Lady Tiger Sharks also swept the top three spots at 1,600 meters, with senior Quinci Elphinstone leading Gerlach and DeCosta across the finish line, all three runners a full second ahead of the rest of the field.
A Port St. Joe seventh-grader, Kaylee Schwiekert won the 3,200 meters.
The Lady Tiger Sharks also won the two distance relays: the 4 by 400 meters with Mari Johnson, Jade Cothran, Barwick and Gortemoller and the 4 by 800 meters with DeCosta, Burkett, Schweikert and Elphinstone.
Cothran, a junior, also won the 100 meter hurdles and finished fourth in the 300 meter hurdles, just ahead of Johnson, an eighth-grader, and Bouington, a ninth-grader.
Cothran (second) and Elphinstone (third) also qualified for regional in the triple jump.
Emily Lacour, a ninth-grader, did likewise in the high jump, finishing fourth, just ahead of teammates Lily Wockenfuss, a ninth-grader, London White, an eighth-grader, and Bouington.
Wockenfuss, in turn, led a sweep of the top four places in the pole vault, finishing first and nearly a foot ahead of White (second), Bouington (third) and Lacour (fourth).
Tori Fountain, a senior, failed to qualify in the shot put (fifth) and discus (eighth).
The Tiger Sharks had several athletes qualify for regional, including the members of the winning 4 by 400 meter relay team and the fourth-place 4 by 100 meter relay team.
Jataevion Reed won the 300 meter hurdles and Ricky Forbes took fourth in the 400 meters.
Mason Hobbs and Caleb Wright finished 1-2 for Port St. Joe in the pole vault.
Forbes was also eighth in the 800 meters and Isaiah Wright was seventh in the 100 meters.