Two members of the Cedar Key Sharks' track and field squad are headed to the state championship this Friday at Winter Park High School. At last Wednesday's regional meet at Bolles High School in Jacksonville, Junior Samantha Beckham qualified in girls' pole vault with a 9' 6" vault, good for second place. She finished behind Lindsey Enders of Holy Trinity, who reached 10 feet. Beckham also turned in a qualifying third place finish in the triple jump, with a best of 32' 7 3/4". Freshman Caely Hibbits will join Beckham in Winter Park after finishing third in the girls' high jump with her best of 4' 8". Hibbits finished behind Heather Kraft of Oak Hall, with a 5-foot jump, and Cristen Koeppen of Lake Mary Prep, who also reached 4'8", but in fewer tries.
Sharks track head coach Brad Penney was very proud of his team's performance on the season, noting their improvement in every category because of their being able to use the new track and equipment. Beckham recently set a new school record with her 11 foot vault at the Levy County meet. Penney hopes she'll have the same kind of day Friday, going up against the best small-school vaulters in Florida. She's also shown quite recently that she has the kind of air time to allow her to finish well in the triple jump, getting into the 33-feet range.
Hibbits outdid herself at regionals with her 4' 8" finish, and Penney feels certain she will just continue to improve.
For more information or directions to Showalter Field at Winter Park High School, go to www.fhsaa.org and select "Track and Field" under "In Season." The field will open at 9:30 a.m.