tampabay.com

One stellar run just enough for Spartan

Lakewood's Jazmyn Shorter defends her 400 title despite a recent injury.

By BOB PUTNAM
Published May 5, 2007


WINTER PARK - Jazmyn Shorter had been raring to run both the 200 and 400 meters at the state meet.

But a strained hamstring at last week's regionals derailed that quest. The Lakewood senior scratched the 200 and concentrated on her strength, the 400.

Focusing on her signature event, Shorter defended her 400 title in a personal-best 53.73 seconds, the second-fastest time in the nation as of April 30, according to dyestat.com. The double, which would have required her to run a round of each race an hour apart, will have to wait until next season when she is running at the University of Kentucky.

"I've got no complaints, " Shorter said. "I'm glad I didn't run the 200. If I did, I probably wouldn't have been able to run the time that I did."

Shorter, who held a slight lead throughout the race, kicked into another gear down the homestretch to beat runnerup Odeika Bent from Orlando Oak Ridge for the second straight year.

"I held nothing back, " Shorter said. "I told people they might need an ambulance after I'm done."

Shorter's teammate, Ali Crabb, won her first state title, running the 3, 200 meters in 11:14.91. Crabb, a senior, trailed until the fifth lap, when she took the lead from Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas' Lauren Ross.

"I knew Lauren was a strong runner and she would push me throughout the race, " said Crabb, who placed fifth in the 1, 600. "It was tough, and I just wanted to make sure I wasn't passed in the 3, 200."

Shorter and Crabb helped the Spartans finish sixth overall with 24 points. Oak Ridge won the girls title with 86 points.

On the boys side, Seminole's Aaron Thomas was third in the 1, 600 (4:24.20). Thomas battled an upper respiratory and sinus infection all week and struggled in the last few laps.

"Getting sick was somewhat of a setback, " Thomas said. "My goal was to win, but it was just hard to breathe at the end. It felt like someone was pounding on my chest the whole time."

Miami Washington and Miami Jackson tied for the boys title with 46 points each.

Bob Putnam can be reached at putnam@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4169.