Bobcat boys win district

RIVERVIEW — A theory in many sports is that if an athlete wears bright shoes, they will look like they run faster on film.

North Port High School’s Ro’Derick Spears probably would have looked fast no matter what color he was wearing Wednesday.

Clad with bright yellow shoes and socks to match, Spears won the 100- and 300-meter hurdles and was the final leg in the winning 400-meter relay, helping the Bobcat boys win the District 4A-7 meet at Spoto High School.

“I think it’s just my color,” Spears said of his Nikes. “It’s just frustrating when everyone has the same colors. It just stands out; everybody recognizes me by my colors.”

North Port’s district win was the first in school history for the boys, and coach Tony Miller said it was a testament to his seniors.

“We’ve been tremendously blessed with a group that loves to compete,” he said. “Today, they came out and ran perfect. … They’ve trained hard and worked for this moment.”

The boys will send athletes from 12 events to next week’s regional meet at Leto. The girls team, which finished second, sends athletes from 11 more.

Spears crushed the competition in the 100 hurdles by more than half a second, setting a track record in the process, before helping the Bobcat 400 relay team edge Manatee by 0.22 seconds.

But then he started to feel nauseous.

“I’m not chugging a water bottle before the 300 again,” Spears said. “I thought I was going to throw up before my race. I managed to pull it off, but I’ll be sure not to do that again, though.”

He overcame the queasiness by finishing nearly a full second faster than Darryl Brookins of Manatee with a mark of 39.95.

Spears was the favorite to win each race, but said he wasn’t feeling any pressure.

“Before the race, I’m never nervous,” he said. “I’m relaxed and just be doing me and clowning around with everybody. But after the race, it hits me. I just walk it off, drink a water and lay down, then I’m good.”

The Bobcat girls weren’t too shabby, either. Four field athletes and the 3200 relay qualified for regionals to set the tone for the day that was highlighted by a 100-meter dash win from Judley Laroche, who qualified in two other events.

Having a relatively small team for Class 4A, girls coach Phu Nguyen called the second-place finish a complete team effort.

“I have a good core of girls that did multiple events and did them well,” he said. “The girls went above and beyond what they were supposed to do.”

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