There was the thrill of victory — which Wildcats senior Lauren Johnson experienced twice. And there was the agony of defeat — or more accurately in this case, failing to qualify for the state championships, sometimes by the slimmest of margins.
Johnson certainly had the best day of any Wildcat. It started with a thrilling victory over heavily favored Devonni Farrar of Largo in the girls 300-meter dash. Johnson, in lane 3, started fast and kept her speed going through the final turn and straight to edge Farrar, running in lane 2, by 0.03 seconds in 41.54.
“I just really wanted to have a strong start and come out of the first turn strong,” Johnson said. “I knew she was a good runner and I’d have to be strong. The last 100 meters, I glanced over and saw her shadow and knew I had to buckle down. I heard my teammates yelling for me to hold her off.”
Johnson came back later and won the 55 dash in 7.43 seconds, using a strong start to edge Liberty’s Erin Patrice by 0.04.
“That was definitely my best start of the season,” Johnson said. “My coach has been working with me every day on powering out of the blocks and through the first seven steps.”
“She stepped up,” Wildcats coach Teresa Weaver said. “She had an amazing day. I’m glad to see a senior do that.”
In all, 10 individuals qualifed for the state meet for Williamsport, in addition to the boys 4x800 relay team. In order to qualify for states, individuals or relay teams had to finish fourth or better in an event, or meet the qualifying time or distance standard in the event.
The other individuals who qualified:
* Jesse Zeger, second in boys 55 hurdles in 8.04 seconds.
* Meggan Grams, third in girls 1,600 in 5:28.41 and sixth in 800 in 2:28.55.
* Kevin Zeger, fourth in boys 55 hurdles in 8.17.
* Morgan Oyster, fourth in girls shot put in 33 feet, 5 inches.
* Cody Grams, fifth in boys 800 in 2:04.88 and sixth in boys 1,600 in 4:42.17. He beat the 800 qualifying time by 0.82 seconds and the 1,600 time by 2.29 seconds.
* Alexandria Willis, seventh in girls 800 in 2:30.04. She beat the qualifying time by 0.71 seconds.
* Brandon Kline, seventh in boys pole vault, clearing 11 feet, 10 inches.
* Andrea Nunnally, seventh in girls high jump, clearing 4-7 to meet the standard on the dot. She also qualified in the 55 hurdles, finishing 12th in 9.61 seconds to beat the standard by 0.03.
* Nick Berchock, ninth in boys pole vault in 11-4.
In addition, the boys 4x800 team finished sixth in 8:44.69, beating the qualifying standard by 2.32 seconds.