Krissy Gear was rushing.
The Fort Myers junior, running late from lunch, had just 30 minutes of prep time to get ready for the 1,600-meter run on Saturday at the LCAC Championships held at Ida Baker.
It wasn’t typical for Gear, and yet, the Green Wave distance runner managed to come through with a big performance anyway, winning the mile in 5:10.21, which was part of three different victories throughout and helped Fort Myers claim the girls’ championship for the third straight season.
As a team, the Green Wave scored 142 points, while Riverdale was second with 96 and Island Coast was third with 82. Gear also won the 800 (2:20.22) and the pole vault (9-6).
“This is the youngest team I’ve ever coached,” Fort Myers girls coach Rob Strong said. “I told them yesterday, ‘You don’t have to do anything special. Just go out and do what you do. Do your part.’ And when you have that young of a team, they’re all wide eyed. But some of those freshman today were major for us.”
The boys’ championship came down to the last race of the night. It was Ida Baker’s win in the 1,600-meter relay, with the Bulldogs out kicking Fort Myers in the final leg for a final time of 3:27.71, that clinched the victory.
Ida Baker finished with 160 points to the Green Wave’s 157. South Fort Myers was third with 80 points.
“I felt like earlier in the season we were falling farther and farther behind Fort Myers,” Ida Baker coach Dan Butler said. “But today, the kids did what they had to do.”
Sprinter Jannai Mawell glided down the straightaway with the baton in hand.
“We didn’t make mistakes today,” Butler said. “That was the difference.”
It was a day for big performances all around.
In the boys’ 100-meter run, Dunbar freshman Seneca Milledge opened up with a 10.47 second time in the preliminaries, a meet record. He followed in the finals with a winning time of 10.67. Four different sprinters broke the 11-second threshold in the preliminaries.
“When I see somebody else do great, that makes me want to do even better,” he said.
Yet, his ability wasn’t enough to give Dunbar another victory in the 400-meter relay. One of the most debated races heading into Saturday, it came down to the anchor leg between South Fort Myers’ Willie Johnson and Dunbar’s Desmond Davis.
The Wolfpack, which ran a 40.99 second time last year and won a Class 3A championship, yet again came up big.
They ran 41.54 to win, outpacing the Tigers, who finished in 41.80.
“They came out and they competed,” South Fort Myers coach Anthony Dixon said. “There’s been a lot of talking going on, and I’ve just tried to keep them humble. You have to compete on the track. You can’t do it on Facebook. You can’t do it on Twitter. We have to come out and we have to work our butts off to get better on the track. Because that’s where the race is won.”
Leontes, the third leg on the Wolfpack’s relay, also added an upset win in the 300-meter hurdles, beating Ida Baker senior Luis Colon with a career best time of 38.80.
It was just his second time running the event all season coming off an injury.
“That’s three years of hard work that paid off,” he said. “At the finish I was so happy and yet I was so tired at the same time. I was out of it.”
Fort Myers junior Evan Babatz earned a double in both the 800 and 1,600. He scored a 5:25 in the mile, then returned to seal a win in half-mile with a time of 2:00.28.
“I think I can go sub 4:20. We have districts and regionals coming up,” he said.
South Fort Myers junior Mirlege Castor anchored the team’s winning 400-relay and then added another for good measure in the 200.
“When I got the baton,” she said, “I just ran like somebody was chasing me.”
North Fort Myers junior Kayla Easterly earned a school record in the 3,200 with a time of 11:32.12. It unseated the program’s previous best in 1996, set by Megan Ridell.
Dunbar’s Kamryn Smith won both the long (17-0) and triple jumps (32-6). Ida Baker’s Robert Cobb won the discus (137-6), teammate Kaya Aydogmus took the shot put (54-4) and Drayton Diggs finished first in the pole vault in 14-6.