Fourteen Matanzas track and field athletes finished fourth or better at district to qualify for the regional.
"We actually had our best meet of the year," Pirates coach Tim Kane said of the District 4-3A championships April 20 at Orange Park. "It was our toughest meet of the year, and our kids competed really well. We're really happy."
Sophomores Jordan Mills and Sierra Howard qualified in three events apiece. The girls' 4x800-meter relay team dropped its best time by more than 17 seconds. And Howard dropped her 800 time by over five seconds to 2:26.14 to finish third.
"She's in the mix to qualify for state now," Kane said.
Howard also qualified for the regional in the girls' 4x400 and 4x800 relays. The 4x800 team of Howard, Nina Rodriguez, Mariah Mills and Lauren Marshall finished third with a time of 10:31.58. All four runners ran their personal-best times.
The 4x400 team of Howard, Evanne Miller, Madreeka Touissaint and Jordan Youngman finished second with a time of 4:14.24, which was more than a six-second improvement from their previous best.
"We were on the outside looking in at district, and we'll be on the outside looking in at region. But our kids will step up."
TIM KANE, Matanzas track coach
Jaden Smith placed second in the boys' 1,600 meters with a time of 4:35.12. Taylor Washington was the runner-up in the girls' 100 hurdles with a time 16.14 seconds. Miller, a freshman, placed third in the girls' 400 meters with a 1:00.4.
Jordan Mills finished fourth in both the 110 hurdles (16.47) and the 300 hurdles (41.68) and ran anchor on the boys' 4x400 relay with Aiden Langford, Ryan Miller and Sho'Marion Gaines. They ran a 3:34.82 to place fourth.
Langford placed third in the 400 with a 52.51. The sophomore was in the lead with 20 meters to go.
Bradyn Cox, who qualified for state in discus last year, placed fourth at district with a throw of 130 feet, 10 inches.
Washington, Evanne Miller and the girls' 4x400 relay team were the Pirates' only top-four seeds entering the meet, Kane said.
"We were on the outside looking in at district, and we'll be on the outside looking in at region," he said. "But our kids will step up."
The Region 1-3A meet will be May 6 at Fort Walton Beach High School.