Track and field | Saint Stephen's Lauren Csubak steals show at Manatee's Hurricane Invitational

adell@bradenton.comMarch 8, 2014 

BRADENTON -- Lauren Csubak wanted to share her big night with teammates.

With two first-place finishes already under her belt, the Saint Stephen's senior ran the final leg of the 1,600-meter relay to propel the Falcons to victory in the event.

Csubak won the 1,600- and the 800-meter runs earlier Friday in the Hurricane Invitational Track Meet at Manatee High.

"It was good day, a little cooler, but it was a good meet," Csubak said. "The 800 meter is my favorite. I knew we were going up against some good schools and anything can happen. It's always exciting to get

some wins and get some points for the team."

Csubak's best time in the 800 is 2 minutes, 20 seconds. On a windy, chilly night, she crossed the line in 2:31.8 and ran the 1,600 in 5:31.29.

The Falcons got off to a slow start in the relay, but caught up. The biggest obstacle Csubak had to face was the sprinkler system that went off during her portion of the race that left the track wet for about 30 yards.

"I've never seen the sprinklers go off like that. It was in the back of my mind that I might slip running through the puddles. I tried to avoid them, but I got soaked."

The other members of the relay team were Kristi Jones and Jane and Paige Lindsay. The Falcons crossed the line in 4:26.70. Manatee was second (4:27.20) followed by Venice and Lakewood Ranch.

In the team standings, the top six boys teams were Riverview (199), Lakewood Ranch (77), Venice (74.8), Palmetto (55), Booker (48.5) and Manatee (42). The top five girls teams were Venice (166), Manatee (111.5), Saint Stephen's (93), Palmetto (87) and Braden River (46.5).

The Palmetto High girls had a lot to celebrate. Jada Massie, who runs track and plays softball, won the 100 (13.3 seconds) and 200 runs (27.9).

Jessica McKinney, the Tigers' top 400 runner from last year, won that race handily, finishing with a time of 1:02.93 in her only event of the night.

"My personal best is a minute flat. The 400 is my event. I wasn't exactly happy with my time, but I was happy with my start and my finish," McKinney said. "It was a little hard with the cold and the wind. I felt the wind hit me when I came off the last curve coming in the back stretch.

"To make it to states I need at least a low 59. I was at the region last year, but didn't qualify for states. My goal (this year) is to be at least at 57. If I work hard and grind a little bit, I believe I can."

O'Neesha Shaw from Manatee won the 100 hurdles (17.06) and the 300 hurdles (53.40). The Manatee girls won the 400 and 3,200 relays.

Other girls winners from Manatee County were Deveny Miller (Palmetto) in the 3,200 run (13:49.90), Joy Norman (Bayshore) in the high jump (5-04) and Kaitlyn Stiegel (Saint Stephen's) in the triple jump (30-0).

Bayshore's heralded distance runner, Canaan Meester-Kitterman, won the 800 run (2:01.49). The senior opted not to run the 1,600.

"I was hoping to go under two (minutes) today, but the wind and the cold got to me," Meester-Kitterman said. "The wind was horrible in the back stretch. You keep trying to go through it, but it is hard. I got halfway through and a gush of wind just slammed me. I could feel my speed decrease."

Other Manatee County boys individual winners were: Azavion Smith (Palmetto) in the 100 (11:30) and Lakevin Brice (Palmetto) in the high jump (6-02).

The Palmetto boys won the 400 relay (43.36 seconds) with Smith, Brice, Taylon Cheaves and Jacquill Daniels.

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