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CKS track and field duo bring home handful of medals

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By Sean Arnold

Cedar Key sophomores Wade Gore and Sam Parks didn’t just make an appearance at the Florida High School Track & Field State Championships in Jacksonville.

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The Sharks’ track-and-field duo collected multiple medals on their trip to the state meet hosted by the University of North Florida on May 4 and May 5.

Gore matched his 1.82-meter jump at regionals to finish fifth in the state in Class 1A in the boys’ high jump. Parks, meanwhile, nabbed a trio of state championship medals in adaptive events, including the 200 meter, 800 meter and shot put.

The top eight finals finishers in each event earn a medal at state.

In the Class 1A boys’ adaptive shot put, Parks notched a throw of 5.82 meters to beat out his nearest competitor by more than 2 meters. The sophomore’s time of 1:11 in the adaptive 200 beat his previous record by one second. Parks posted a time of 5:34 in the adaptive 800.

Gore also finished third in the district in boys’ high jump. Cedar Key competes in one of the most competitive districts and regions in state track and field.

Gore and Parks were joined in competition at regionals in Wesley Chapel by fellow CKS qualifiers Jadyn Beckham (girls’ pole vault), Mikey Beckham (boys’ pole vault) and Jasmin Jackson (girls’ triple jump).

Parks won the same three adaptive events at state last year, and won in the adaptive shot put in 2016. Ashlyn Allen, who plays softball at St. Petersburg College, finished third in the girls’ shot put for CKS last season.

Cedar Key freshman Annie McCain has won multiple medals in adaptive events for the Sharks, but was forced to miss the regional championships last month due to illness.

CKS coach Brad Penney, who is retiring at the end of the school year, served again as a track and field official in the state tournament. His daughter, Kim Bishop, is the head coach of the Sharks’ track and field team.