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Thursday, Mar 05, 2015

2014 Hernando Today All-County Girls Track and Field Team


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Athlete of the Year

Wilena Little

Long jump/200 meter

Springstead – Senior

COMMENTS: Third straight Athlete of the Year selection, fourth consecutive All-County nod … Shook off multiple leg injuries over the course of the regular season to become the Class 3A state runner-up in the long jump with a 18-1 1/4 … Also second in the 3A-Region II Meet with a county-best 18-6 … Captured first place in district (18-1) and Hernando/Citrus Championship (15-11) … Repeated as a district champ in long jump and three-peated as county champ … Also the county champ in the 200 (25.80), her fourth in a row in that race, giving her 12 individual county titles over her four-year prep career … Won third consecutive district crown in 200 (26.65) and finished second in the region (25.18), qualifying for states in that event for the third time in four seasons … Ran a county-best 25.09 in regional prelims … Placed 11th at states (25.96) … A two-time state medalist in the long jump, taking fourth in 2013 (17-9 3/4) … Signed with Division I Florida International University on National Signing Day in February.

QUOTES: “She had a pretty good year with all the injuries. She was disappointed she didn’t get a state championship but state runner-up is not bad considering the injuries she had. … Hell of a career. Twelve county championships, five district titles, she had a regional title (in long jump last year), two medals at states, state runner-up her senior year. That’s a great career in anyone’s book. She battled through a lot and went to work to make herself better. … She can’t be replaced. I’ll not see another one like her. We had a nice four-year run. It was nice to come up with 20-30 points every track meet and know it’s pretty solid.”

- Springstead head coach Joel Myers

Erin Blackwell

800 meter

Springstead – Junior

COMMENTS: Third straight All-County selection … Earned first state medal, finishing sixth in 3A in the 800 with a county-best 2:18.75 … Third trip to states, all in the 800, having placed 11th as a freshman (2:22.60) and 13th as a sophomore (2:26.24) … Second in the district (2:22.80) and region (2:21.87) … Three-peat county champion (2:27.46).

QUOTES: “She had a great season. She’s gotten stronger. She’s matured since she was a freshman. … She’s an awful hard worker. That’s what I love about this girl. … She was as healthy as she’s ever been at states. And then she performed. … Her time was the most impressive thing. That time would have medaled in the fast heat. She was in the slow heat. … Two-twenty is the magic number and she needed to get it her junior year. She did what she had to do and that means something to her if she wants to go to college and run track.”

- Springstead head coach Joel Myers

Crystal Burchhardt

1,600 meter

Nature Coast – Senior

COMMENTS: Third straight All-County selection … Unexpectedly came back from an ankle injury at midseason … Ran county’s best time of 5:36.31 to take third at 2A-District 7 Meet and become a three-time regional qualifier … Finished eighth at the 2A-Region II Meet (5:42.45) … Two-time county champ, running a first-place 5:44.60 at Hernando/Citrus Championship, following up county title as a sophomore … Earned first state medal as part of 4x400.

QUOTES: “Everything she earned this year she worked for. Because she missed so much practice in the beginning, she was not allowed to miss more than one day and that’s all she missed. … It (her return) was huge for us. I felt she was one of those pieces we were missing. ... It (the state medal) was big for her. She’s probably one of the most talented girls we’ve had and every year something happened, and for her to finally come out with a medal, I think it was mission accomplished for her.”

- Nature Coast head coach Ryan Wilson

Bronte Cameron

100-meter hurdles

Nature Coast – Junior

COMMENTS: Third straight All-County nod … Ran a county-best 16.05 to finish sixth in 2A-II finals … Also placed seventh in region in 300 hurdles (48.92) … Three-time regional qualifier in both hurdles races, state qualifier as a freshman in the 100 hurdles … Earned third consecutive county title in the 300 hurdles with a 49.29 … At 2A-7 Meet, second in the 100 hurdles (16.23) and third in the 300 hurdles (49.96).

QUOTES: “I think she had an excellent year. She wasn’t satisfied with where she placed. … I think she got caught in a couple of years where the girls were extremely fast. But with her, it keeps her motivated to see all the other girls around the region run so well. It keeps her motivated to work to get back to states like her freshman year. … When she was a freshman she didn’t know anything. As the years went, she has definitely become a leader of the girls team. Even some of the boys follow her lead.”

- Nature Coast head coach Ryan Wilson

Ashley Gentz

100 meter

Nature Coast – Sophomore

COMMENTS: Ran a county best of 12.51, finishing second at Tavares’ Bulldog Invitational on Feb. 28 … Collected a state medal in the 200, placing eighth in 2A with a personal-best 25.58 … District runner-up in the 100 (12.92) and 200 (26.48) … At regionals, placed fourth in the 200 (25.70) and fifth in the 100 (12.65).

QUOTES: “Great year. She definitely didn’t have a sophomore slump. … She became a huge part of the team aspect of it. She never complained and went out and performed well in every event. … A lot of the races she’s in, you went ‘How’d she do it?’ because she didn’t come out of the blocks well. But she has determination and I think that’s how she does it. … She wanted to medal in something. She was extremely excited about it because it showed what she can do.”

- Nature Coast head coach Ryan Wilson

Brianna Horn

Pole vault

Nature Coast – Senior

COMMENTS: Recorded the county’s highest pole vault of 7-6, finishing third at the Lecanto Invitational on Feb. 18 … County champ with a 7-0 at the Hernando/Citrus Championship … Placed fourth in 2A-7 Meet (7-0) … Finished 10th in region (7-0) … Three-time regional qualifier in pole vault … State qualifier in 800, placing 15th (2:38.17).

QUOTES: “She didn’t get to practice (pole vault) a whole lot, so that’s pure talent. She just liked to do it. … We have a lot of these kids. She just pushes the other kids without saying anything. It goes a long way for us as coaches. … Over the last four years, I think every year she got better. … She battled a lot of injuries we didn’t talk about. I can’t think of a time she ran when she was healthy. … I think she had a great four years and she’ll be missed, as well.”

- Nature Coast head coach Ryan Wilson

Rita Jarque

Shot put

Nature Coast – Junior

COMMENTS: Notched county’s farthest toss, a 38-5 1/2 to win a county title and place first at the Hernando/Citrus Championship ... Placed third in district (35-2), fourth in region (35-3 1/2) and 10th in state (35-6) … Previously named the Girls Basketball Player of the Year.

QUOTES: “I think with Rita she has realized her potential. She’s such a strong girl. She just has to be mentally tough. But I’m very proud of her to go up and compete on her own and do what she did. … I think (making states) is a huge confidence builder. … Hopefully she comes back. I know she’s a huge basketball player, but hopefully she’s able to find time. I think it’d be a bummer for her not to come out and try to medal.”

- Nature Coast head coach Ryan Wilson

Eboni Johnson

400 meter

Nature Coast – Sophomore

COMMENTS: Placed 14th at state meet, running a county-best 1:00.93 … District champion with a 1:02.85 … Finished fourth in region (1:01.83).

QUOTES: “She’s just talented. That girl can run forever. She never complains about what’s going on. She’s always willing to do extra and she’s another one that’s determined to be the best in whatever she’s in. … I think she can get stronger. She needs to get in the weight room over the summer and I think if she does that I think she can finish races a lot stronger.”

- Nature Coast head coach Ryan Wilson

Alexa Lacy

3,200 meter

Nature Coast – Sophomore

COMMENTS: Ran a 12:30.86 for sixth place at 2A-II Meet and the fastest time in the county this season … Earned a county championship with a first-place 13:04.55 at Hernando/Citrus Championship … Second in the district (12:48.48) … Repeat regional qualifier in 3,200.

QUOTES: “Alexa is a young girl who doesn’t know how good she can be. As soon as she finds out how good she can be, she’ll be someone that everyone knows about. … She’s really focused on what she has to do. She wants to compete and the hardest thing we’ve got to get her to understand is she can’t keep up with everybody. Once she realizes her ability, she’ll be much better.”

- Nature Coast head coach Ryan Wilson

Jashá Patrick

Triple jump/300-meter hurdles

Hernando – Junior

COMMENTS: State medalist in the 300 hurdles, placing sixth (46.52), despite not starting in the hurdles until the middle of this season … Ran a county-best 46.12 during the 2A-II finals, taking third place in that race … District champ with a 47.80 … County champ in the 100 hurdles, running a 16.19 … Third in the district in the 100 hurdles (16.79) and 13th in the region (19.38) … Third in the district in the triple jump (31-6) and eighth in the region with a county-best 33-2 1/2 … State qualifier as a sophomore in the 400, taking 14th (1:00.35).

QUOTES: “To start in the hurdles at midseason and walk away with a medal; that was pretty awesome. … If you teach her something, she’s very methodical about it. She was perfecting her form in the hurdles every day. … Her work ethic, her early preparation as a middle-distance runner helped a lot. And really believing she could do it. … She was devastated (at states) last year and I think equally elated this year. … Classic Jashá, she immediately started thinking about next year.”

- Hernando head coach Shawanda McCullough

Lauren Plaugher


Hernando – Junior

COMMENTS: Repeat All-County pick … State medalist in 2013, finishing third (116-9) … Again qualified for states, but struggled with soggy weather conditions, placing 15th (94-1) … County champ posting a county-best 114-6 1/2 to take first at Hernando/Citrus Championship … Second in the district (100-10) and third in the region (110-2).

QUOTES: “At states, given better weather conditions, she would have done better. But under the circumstances, throwing in a puddle of water, she did what she could. … She’s working out in the weight room getting stronger. She’s perfecting her spin move. So her technique is improving, which is major. … She had a rough start to the season. It didn’t come together as quickly as we’d like to, but she was able to peak at the right times. … Next year I expect us to go back to states and finish what we started last year, and take it to another level.”

- Hernando head coach Shawanda McCullough

Zavana Schmit

High jump

Nature Coast – Senior

COMMENTS: Third straight All-County pick … Twice jumped a county-high 4-10, first at the Tavares Bulldog Invitational on Feb. 28 and again at Weeki Wachee on March 13 … Earned first county crown with a 4-8 at Hernando/Citrus Championship … Placed third in district (4-8) to become a three-time regional qualifier … Finished 12th in region (4-6) … Also made regionals in 100 hurdles, coming in fourth in district (17.10) before taking seventh in 2A-II (16.84) … Showed her versatility helping Lady Sharks win a county title at the Hernando/Citrus Championship, adding a third in the 300 hurdles (52.39), fourth in the triple jump (31-1 1/2) and sixth in the 100 hurdles (17.61).

QUOTES: “She is just a joy to be around and one of those people, she just works. She stayed under the radar. She’s one of those kids you don’t have to coach. You tell her what to do and she’ll do it. … She has long legs. She’s powerful, very flexible. That allows her to get up over that bar. … I think she did an excellent job for us. I think she had an excellent year, she built on what she started last year and I’m happy with the way she finished it out.”

- Nature Coast head coach Ryan Wilson


Ty’Rhonza Harris, Julia Diven, Joy Jackson, Blackwell

4x800 meter


COMMENTS: Teamed for the county’s fastest time, a 10:07.69, to finish third at regionals … Placed second at 3A-District 7 Meet (10:23.62) … Came in 15th at states (10:28.19) … Blackwell, Harris and Jackson, along with Alexandra Ede, won the county title in 10:35.56 … Though Harris is a senior, Blackwell as well as sophomores Diven and Jackson should all return next season.

QUOTES: “They improved a lot over the year. It took a while until we got our ‘A’ team together because of injuries. … They’re capable of going into the nines (for time). With another year of cross country for those girls, they’ll be something special next year.”

- Springstead head coach Joel Myers

Alicia Gentz, Ashley Gentz, Nilsa-Marie Rodriguez, Kaitlyn Pierce

4x100 meter

Nature Coast

COMMENTS: Combined for a county-best 48.95 to win 2A-II prelim, but scratched out in the final due to a dropped baton … Won a district title with a 49.54 … Finished first in Hernando/Citrus Championship with a time of 48.96, collecting a county crown … Gentz sisters were part of All-County 4x100 last season … This marks senior Alicia Gentz’s third straight year on the All-County 4x100 … Both Gentz sisters garnered individual state medals, Ashley Gentz in the 200 and Alicia Gentz in the 100 (sixth, 12.60) … Ashley Gentz plus the junior Rodriguez and freshman Pierce should return in 2015.

QUOTES: “I knew they’d be good but I didn’t know they’d be that good. I still feel like if they didn’t make that mistake (at regionals) they’re in the top three at states. … It came easy for them and all four were on the same page when they stepped on the track except that one time. … Mentally it hurt them a lot. This was the second year in a row they came into the region meet and were ranked to move on to the state meet and for some reason it didn’t happen. But I like how they responded. … Alicia worked from June until now. She’s irreplaceable. … We’ll find someone to step in and work up to the level of the other three girls.”

- Nature Coast head coach Ryan Wilson

Burchhardt, Johnson, Rodriguez, Ashley Gentz

4x400 meter

Nature Coast

COMMENTS: Earned a state medal with an eighth-place 4:03.74, the county’s fastest time of the season … Same quartet captured a county championship running a 4:10.04 for first place at Hernando/Citrus Championship … With Alicia instead of Ashley Gentz, the team ran a 4:08.13 to finish as a regional runner-up … Burchhardt, Johnson and the Gentz sisters won a district title in 4:13.80

QUOTES: “They are all just competitors. They’re all the best at something. We took the cream of the crop and put them together and said ‘Do the best you can.’ … We didn’t find our final lineup until coming into county. … They were extremely excited (for the state medal) because when the 4x1 team didn’t medal that was their next goal. … When they were watching the other heat, they were watching the clock together, and when they realized they medaled, they were excited together.”

- Nature Coast head coach Ryan Wilson

Coach of the Year

Ryan Wilson

Nature Coast – 1st year

COMMENTS: Named Coach of the Year on the boys side five of the past six seasons … During that span, guided the Sharks to four district titles and six county championships … Resigned from the boys position after last season to spend more time with his family, but was pressed back into action when previous girls coach Ed LaRose left to become an administrator at Hernando … The Lady Sharks won the Hernando/Citrus Championship for their third county title in five years, then captured the 2A-7 title for their third straight district crown … Nature Coast was the runner-up in the 2A-II Meet, the highest finish in school history, and advanced five individuals plus two relays to states … Medals were won by Alicia Gentz (100), Ashley Gentz (200) and the 4x400 … The Lady Sharks won nine meets over the course of the season, never losing when they fielded a full squad.

QUOTES: “It’s really nothing I do. I only coach sprinters. I’m extremely fortunate to have a coaching staff that helps the way they do, and girls and boys who do what they do. … They’re determined to be the best. I tell them they never want to leave a program worse than they left it and I think that motivates them. … That was extremely unexpected for us to be (regional) runner-up. Once we realized we had an opportunity to be runner-up, every girl was on board to go out and do everything they could to be the first team to be runner-up in the region. … It was a huge challenge. I said I was done for family reasons and my wife allowed me to come back out, but I still had been used to coaching boys and you don’t coach girls the same way, and I still had to take care of family stuff.”

- Wilson

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