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TAMPA - After grimacing his way through the district cross country meet in the fall with what was ultimately diagnosed as a stress fracture in his left shin, Trenor Wilkins had to be carried by his Plant teammates to the awards ceremony.
After Wednesday's Class 3A, District 9 track meet, the freshman exited Dr. Sam Horton Stadium at Jefferson High on his own power - with three ribbons.
Competing in three events for the first time in his life, Wilkins won one 3,200 meters and placed in the other two (1,600, 4x800 relay) to help lead the balanced Panthers to their third consecutive team title.
Plant won six events and finished with 214 points, 42 more than runnerup Hillsborough. Junior Lovell Jackson was the team's only multiple-event winner, capturing the 100 and long jump well before a steady rain buoyed and brisk winds blew in.
It was amid this precipitation that Wilkins, limited to only three days of running a week as recently as January, essentially coasted past three other teammates to win the 3,200.
"He just has a tremendous heart," coach Shawn Balow said.
In girls action, Hillsborough, led by junior thrower Ashley Wright, captured its second consecutive team crown with 156 points, 43 more than Plant. Wright won the shot put and discus, while sophomore Antoinie Eugene captured the 100 hurdles.
"I can't say enough about our field events," Terriers coach Jean Wiser said. "Field events alone, we had 35 points."
Joey Knight can be reached at jknight @sptimes.com or (813) 226-3350.