SEBRING — Jordyn Blount battled the elements at Saturday’s Class 3A state track and field meet in Jacksonville, and he came out victorious.
Despite competing on a slippery runway that was covered in nearly two inches of water, the Blue Streaks junior reached the podium in the long jump event, finishing fifth with a distance of 22-feet, 1-inch.
“It was really wet and a little overwhelming,” Blount said, who reached the finals with a jump of 22-feet, 10.75-inches. “Making us jump in the rain made it harder — we had to worry about slipping and I couldn’t get as much speed as I normally could with the water on the runway.”
Although frustrated with his final standing, Blount’s coaches couldn’t have been prouder of his performance.
“Jordyn did great with the inclement weather he was dealing with,” Streaks coach Cynthia Cook said. “Our athletes didn’t have much cold weather this season and a chill that was in the air at state meet was pretty tough. Adding in the rain which made it very hard to get warm.”
Blount said competing the adverse conditions will make him even more focused next season.
“It will make me work harder,” he said. “It taught me I needed to practice in the rain and prepare myself for anything.”
Sebring’s Gary Demarest and Byron Cobb also qualified for state. Demarest, competing in the discus throw for the second straight season, finished 12th with a distance of 136-feet, 4-inches.
Unfortunately for Cobb, sheets of rain forced several delays and interrupted his event.
“Byron was unable to make a mark in the pole vault due to inclement weather and the fact that they kept starting and stopping the pole vaulting activities due to rain,” Cook said.
Cobb entered Saturday’s meet with a respectable seed mark of 12-feet, 6-inches. Both he and Blount will be returning next year for another shot at state.
“We are proud of all three athletes for making it this far,” Cook said. “This was Gary’s last time at the state track meet and we will miss having him on the team as he is graduating this year. We are fortunate enough to have Jordyn and Byron back next season.”
Cook added that expectations are high for next year.
“We look forward to working hard and taking more athletes next year to the state level,” she said. “Jordyn is looking forward to working on his jumps in the off season and getting back to the state meet next year to vie for the title.”
Lake Placid’s Quiahja Williams also competed at state this weekend. The Green Dragons sophomore was a part of the 2A state finals, which held its events on Friday. Williams finished 13th in the high jump with a height of 4-feet, 10-inches and placed 16th in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.82 seconds.
Williams narrowly missed the weekend’s thunderstorms, but Cook said that it’s competing in turbulent weather can be used as a learning experience.
Rain, wind, and cold were all big factors again this year at the state meet,” Cook said, who was present at last year’s state finals that was also marred by rain. “The competition was also a bit tougher than last year. It’s good for our returning athletes to see this level of competition so they know what they need to prepare for.”