- May 7, 2015
LAKE BUTLER After sending just one athlete to the FHSAA State Championships a year ago, the Olympia Titans girls track and field team will have a slightly more crowded drive to IMG Academy in Bradenton this time around.
Led by their seniors, the Lady Titans have a total of eight athletes who will compete at the FHSAA State Championships May 5 to 6 in Bradenton in events including the high jump, the triple-jump, the 100-meter hurdles, the 4x100 meter relay and the 4x400 meter relay.
For senior Ukeyvia Beckwith, the lone state qualifier from 2016, it is exciting to have enough athletes making the trip this weekend to give the Olympia girls team a chance to place toward the top.
“We’re all super excited, because this is our first year where we have so many girls going to state that we have a chance to win,” Beckwith said.
For head coach Jason Greer, the large leap from one state qualifier to eight has more to do with what’s above the shoulders than below.
“Last year, we had the same personnel, so I think the difference was the kids buying into the concept of being able to be successful,” Greer said. “It’s just them believing that they can do it — the writing was on the wall last year.”
The Lady Titans are looking to match — or best — their previous top result as a team at state — a fifth-place finish in 2013, the same year the boys team won it all.
Beckwith will compete as an individual in the high jump and the 400 meters, as well as on the 4x400 relay team. Her best chance to win an individual state championship will come in the high jump — in which she won a regional championship — but she said she is planning on taking the state meet in stride to maximize performance for herself and her team.
“I’m trying to take things one at a time,” Beckwith said. “I know that I need to take advantage of every opportunity that I have.”
Senior Kenya Dillon is ranked as the top hurdler in the state in the 100-meter hurdles.
“If (Dillon) puts together what she is supposed to do … I think she is going to be a state champion,” Greer said.
Dacia Williams, a fellow senior, is seeking a medal in the triple jump after placing second at regionals, and fellow seniors Anjelie Tirone and Taylor Champer hope to contribute on relay teams.
The Titans boys aren’t to be forgotten, either, with the Olympia 4x400 meter relay team — Chris Sipp, Brendon Sims, Iverson Darius and Andrew Wilkins — eyeing a medal after finishing as runner-up at regionals.
For more information on the 2017 FHSAA Track and Field State Championships, visit FHSAA.org.
Contact Steven Ryzewski at [email protected]