Shazz Lindo, 16, of the Space Coast Striders youth track club won the long jump at the Space Coast Invitational Track Meet on May 21 with the only jump longer than 20 feet. / George White, for FLORIDA TODAY
Record crowds and participants attending the second annual Space Coast Invitational Track Meet on May 21 at Astronaut High in Titusville has left event organizers hopeful for the future of the sport in Brevard County.
Sponsored by the Space Coast Striders youth track club from Titusville, the AAU meet attracted 21 teams of kids ranging in age from 4 to 18.
"We probably have 150 to 200 more here than last year and we've got teams here from as far north as Tallahassee and as far south as Port St. Lucie," said Space Coast Striders coach Doug Vickers. "We're hoping that it keeps growing every year."
Brevard County teams participating in the meet included the Space Coast Striders, the M-Town Track Club of Melbourne, the Excelerators Track Club of Merritt Island and the Space Coast Flyers of Rockledge.
One standout during the field events portion of the meet was 16-year-old Shazz Lindo of the Space Coast Striders.
A former triple jumper who placed 8th overall in the state last year, Lindo won the long jump at the meet with the only jump greater than 20 feet.
"It's good experience, but I didn't jump as well as I could have. My personal record is over 22 feet," he said.
Other Brevard County winners at the meet were
Micah Wilson of the Space Coast Striders, 100-meters intermediate girls.
Justin Crapps of the Space Coast Flyers, 200-meters intermediate boys.
Zharia Lennear of the Space Coast Striders was a double-winner, taking home first place in both the shot put and discus.
Setting smaller goals at the high jump pit was Will Long, 10, from Vero Beach, who is a member of the Vero Striders. After one run through attempt, Long easily cleared 3' 2", his personal record and good enough for a third-place medal.
"This is his second year high jumping and he's done pretty well. This is a great meet and it's well run," said Will's father, Jeff Long, who helps coach the team.
Also new to high jumping and setting a personal record was Marina Bunn, 10, of Coronado Beach, competing for the New Smyrna Beach Police Athletic League.
"She's a mile runner and only started high jumping three weeks ago, so I think she's doing pretty good. She's from a running family, so we know it's in the gene pool," said Marina's mother, Mary Ann Bunn of New Smyrna Beach.
The Titusville meet was the first of a five-meet regular season, followed by competition aimed at qualifying for higher levels of competition, Vickers said.
"The goal is for these kids to compete in the Junior Olympics in August and to eventually get college scholarships," he said.