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Sarasota Thursday, May 9, 2019 2 months ago

Sarasota High wins gold, silver and bronze at the state track meet

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A Riverview High athlete also took home a top-three finish.
by: Ryan Kohn Sports Reporter

Gold has once again come to Sarasota High. 

At the Florida High School Athletic Association's track and field championships, held May 3-4 at the University of North Florida's Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville, the Sailors came though with another first-place finish, the school's fourth consecutive year with a state champion. 

It came from an unexpected source. Sarasota High senior Robbie Peterson qualified fifth in the 4A boys triple jump. He had been dealing with a painful shin injury in the days leading up to the championships. Yet when all the sand in the triple jump pit had been blasted, it was Peterson who stood atop the podium, gold around his neck. 

Peterson leaped 49 feet, 0.25 inches (or 14.94 meters) on his first attempt of the day. It held up as the winning distance and obliterated Peterson's previous personal best distance of 46 feet, 5.5 inches. It was the longest recorded jump in the state this season. 

Sarasota senior Robbie Peterson finished third in the high jump (pictured; 6 feet, 5.5 inches) but won the 4A boys triple jump (49 feet, 0.25 inches) .

"I never doubted," Peterson said. "I have been training all (football) offseason. I came in with the mindset of jumping a high 14 (meters) and that is what happened.

"Yesterday I got third in high jump. I was upset about that one, so I said to myself, 'Alright, I'm going to bring it home (in the triple jump).' And I did, on my first jump. It feels good. It's still unbelievable. I jumped a 14.9 and I'm still in high school."

Peterson only leaped twice in the triple jump because of his shin injuries. He did not want to push them too far, he said, so however the other competitors jumped, he would be content with his outing. In this case, resting on his laurels proved the correct move. 

Peterson's bronze in the 4A boys high jump (6 feet, 5.5 inches) the day prior was delayed twice because of lightning, the second delay lasting about three hours. Peterson said the starts and stops did not hurt his performance, actually providing time for his shins to rest. The triple jump gold helped him get over his initial disappointment. 

Peterson, who played cornerback and quarterback for the Sailors football team, is undecided whether he will continue to do track and field in college, instead focusing on football. Peterson said he is still looking for the right destination after breaking his leg as a junior and missing a crucial time in the recruiting process.

Whether he continues with the triple jump or not, May 4 was a day Peterson will never forget.     

The Sailors were not done. Fellow Sarasota senior Ben Hartvigsen started on the line for the 4A boys 1,600-meter run — but when the starting gun fired, he walked to the sidelines instead of breaking into a sprint. 

It was part of Hartvigsen's plan to try to win the 3,200-meter race, one that would require every ounce of energy: Get out to an immediate lead and hold on the rest of the way. In other words, lead all 3,200-meters. 

He led 3,100. 

Hartvigsen was caught by Oviedo's Angel Vicioso with about 100 meters to go. He did not have enough left to do the same to Vicioso and finished second (9:20.25, behind Vicioso's 9:15.05). 

"That was always the worry," Hartvigsen said. "That is why I went out so fast. I was worried that was going to happen toward the end. I tried to drag it (the lead) out early and prevent it but I went out a little too fast. I ran a 62 (seconds, on the first lap) instead of 67. That took a toll.

"I gave it all I got. That is all I can ask (of myself)." 

The silver medal will go in his collection alongside the two FHSAA cross country state titles he won in 2018 and 2017. 

The Sailors boys finished sixth in the overall standings.

I’m the sports reporter for Sarasota and East County and a Missouri School of Journalism graduate. I was born and raised in Olney, MD. My biggest inspirations are Wright Thompson and Alex Ovechkin. My strongest belief is that mint chip ice cream is unbeatable.

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