Rain and lightning can't stop area athletes from medaling.
The biggest winner on day one of the 2019 Florida High School Athletic Association Track and Field Championships?
The inclement weather.
Though actual rain came in and out throughout the day, affecting some events more than others, a lightning delay that hit just before 2 p.m. brought things to a halt for 3.5 hours. A half-hour later, another lightning delay hit. Then another, and another, the last coming with only the 3A and 4A boys 3200-meter races left on the schedule.
Update: The 3A and 4A 3200-meter races will be run Saturday.
The storms caused the FHSAA to re-do its entire event schedule. Breaks between field events were eliminated in an attempt to get everything completed before the worst parts of the storm. The 300-meter hurdles, 200-meter dash and 4x400 relay saw their preliminary races eliminated and instead will have timed finals on Saturday, affecting a number of local athletes, including Lakewood Ranch High senior James Rivera, the defending champion in the 4A boys 300-meter hurdles.
Pole vault was suspended after the first lightning delay. It will pick up at 8 a.m. Saturday with the 3A participants, and will be on a rolling schedule for classes 2A and 1A. Cardinal Mooney junior Kolby Crist is scheduled to compete in the boys 1A event.
A full updated schedule can be found on FHSAA.org.
The 4A pole vault was a rare field event to be completed Friday. Rain delayed the event by an hour, and Riverview High senior Lauryn Dougherty said the pole vaulters had less time to get loose prior to the event as a result.
Not that it affected her, personally. Dougherty came into the finals third in qualifying. That is where she finished, leaping over a 10-foot, 10-inch bar to tie St. Cloud High junior Haudie Whitson for bronze.
"My form was really good today," Dougherty said. "My run was feeling good. There were a bunch of really good girls here today. I had tough competition. It feels really good (to get top-three)."
The 4A boys and girls high jumps were stopped and started twice because of the delays. Sarasota High senior boys jumper Robbie Peterson battled the delays to finish third (6 feet, 5.5 inches), while Lakewood Ranch junior girls high jumper Samantha van der Sommen, who qualified 10th for the event, finished tied for 13th (4 feet, 11 3/4 inches).
Booker High senior Nikki Marceus finished seventh in the 2A girls shot put (37 feet, 3 inches) and 19th in the 2A girls discus (103 feet, 4 inches).
Riverview High junior Lucas Caragiulo finished eighth in the boys 800-meter run (1:55.65). Lakewood Ranch senior Johnny Reid finished 12th (1:56.68) and Sarasota High senior Alan Galicia-Romero finished 17th (1:57.77).
The Out-of-Door Academy freshman Tristan McWilliam finished 10th in the 1A boy 3200-meter race (9:46.95).
Braden River High freshman Grace Marston finished 11th in the 3A girls 3200-meter race (11:18.37).Her twin sister, Hailey Marston, finished 20th in the 3A girls 400-meter race (1:00.80).
Booker High senior Charles Ward finished 12th in the 2A boys long jump (21 feet, 1.5 inches).
The Cardinal Mooney boys 4x100 team finished 17th (45.07) in class 1A while the Booker High boys finished 22nd in class 2A (44.58).
Riverview High senior John Giromini finished 14th in the 4A boys pole vault (12 feet, 3.5 inches).
Booker High junior Jacquez Jones finished 23rd in the 2A boys 110-meter hurdles (18.62).
The Out-of-Door Academy senior Robert McCampbell finished 23rd in the 1A boys shot put (39 feet, 2.5 inches).