Poncherella Leonard sets the school and meet records in the 1600-meter race

Published 4:37 pm Tuesday, March 8, 2016








Poncherella Leonard tried to break the school record in the 1600-meter at the first meet of the season, but he fell 1.77 seconds short when he ran a 4:32.59 at the meet in Tallahassee. Going into Saturday’s race at the Larry Clark Invitation at Bainbridge High the expectation was that he could shave those last few seconds off his time.

Leonard knew what was at stake so he went out fast running the lap in 1:05 to lead a tightly grouped pack. Kaleb Wolfended of Lowndes took the lead after two laps. Coming down the stretch heading into the final lap Leonard started to pull ahead with Wolfended and Charles Asouzaof Northview just behind. After three laps Leonrads time was 3:27 meaning he would have to run the final lap in no more than 1:03, his fastest lap of the race, to break the record.

“I was trying to judge it, be the hunter and I didn’t want to get hunted,” Leonard said. “When we crossed for that fourth lap I knew that I could get him so I went ahead and pulled away.”

With his coaches screaming from the infield to go faster and two competitors close on his heals, Leonard began to fly. With each step he pulled farther away from Wolfended and Asouza. He ran the final lap in just 1:02 to finish in 4:29.26 and break the school and meet records in the race. The school record was previously 4:30.82 set by Chase Harris last year. The meet record was 4:31.77 and was set in 2014.

“I think he went out and did a great job,” Head Coach Larry Crosby said. “We thought he had a chance to break Chase’s record. Didn’t think I would be in the second meet of the year.”

Overall the Bearcats finished fourth in the meet and the Lady Cats finished fifth.

Freshman Tyaisha Gant helped pace the Lady Cats with a fourth place in the 100 with a time of 12.80 seconds. She was joined by Uriyah Davis who finished third in the 1600 with a time of 5:56.90 and second in the 3600 with a time of 13.27.08. Amaia Taylor added to the team’s point total with a time of 17.13 on the 100-hurdles and a fifth place finish in the 300-hurdles.

“I’m proud of the girls,” Crosby said. “They are all young. We are hoping they can stay with it.”

In addition to his 1600 win, Leonard finished second in the 3200. Danbrell Harris finished second in the 110-hurdles in a time of 14.88 and Jaylyn Scott finished in 15.51. Zyon McGee finished fourth in the triple jump with a jump of 42 feet.

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