The bus taking Bishop Verot to Orlando for the Region 2A-3 track and field meet will be a bit more crowded than first-year coach Justin Klein originally expected.
The Vikings qualified 15 athletes, including two alternates, for Thursday’s event at the Payne Stewart Athletic Complex thanks to a strong showing at last week’s District 2A-12 meet.
From this point forward, Klein considers every chance to compete on a bigger stage a bonus. He said the 10 athletes making their first appearance at regionals will learn valuable lessons that will only benefit them in the long run.
“We’re just going out there with nothing to lose,” Klein said. “It’s really about going out there and enjoying the experience.”
Klein wasn’t sure if the Vikings 4X100-meter relay team would get to this point. Lorenz Thomas was nursing an injury and Bryce Fauble was battling illness and both didn’t practice leading up to districts.
The duo still turned in a solid race with the team – Fauble, Thomas, KeeShawn McCauley and Joe Rossi — taking fourth to qualify for regionals. Also qualifying were the 4X800 team of Johnny Janiak, David Thompson, Matt Signorelli and Tyler Marshall as well as pole vaulter Nick Liccini.
On the girls side, Jessica Kemp, Olivia Miller, Elena Quinonez and Samantha Dombowski finished fourth in the 4X100 with a time of 54.62 and surprised even Klein by hanging with Lemon Bay in the 4X400 until the last lap to take second.
“It’s just something we weren’t expecting because three of the girls qualified for finals in their individual events and had to run a few extra races,” Klein said. “But that didn’t stop them.”
The 4X400 team’s time of 4:28.24 sits at fifth best in the region. Klein said the team could surprise and qualify for states because the girls don’t have as many events in which to compete.
“We’re hoping something good will come out of it and their competiveness will come out,” he said.