The Venice track and field team sent a record 14 athletes to the FHSAA State Championships at the University of North Florida this past weekend.

While not many Indians brought home medals, it was still a step in the right direction for the program.

Indians in the fieldMichael Trapani broke the school record last year for the triple jump at regionals, but finished 17th overall at states.

Nerves played a role in that finish, and this year he vowed to not let that happen.

Though he wasn’t able to break his previous record, Trapani jumped his way to the podium with an eighth-place finish. He jumped 43 feet, 9 3/4 inches.

“I’m feeling good. I didn’t jump as far as I wanted to, but I got a medal, which is my ultimate goal,” he said. “After finishing 17th last year, I wasn’t happy with that so I wanted to come back this year and get a medal. I’m much more confident (this year). Last year I was shaking on the runway. I didn’t feel like I belonged there. This year, I knew I had a place here.”

The downside is that the state meet marks the close of his athletic career at Venice. That hasn’t sunk in for him just yet.

“It’s awesome,” Trapani said. “The trip we take up here is great. It’s a good bonding time and then getting to triple jump with all of these amazing athletes. It’s awesome. It isn’t sinking in yet, not really. But I couldn’t ask to close it out much better.”

Along with Trapani, Marlem Louis finished 15th in the discus throw and Aja Jones came in 17th for the shot put.

Indians running eventsThough the Indians didn’t place in any of their track events, they were competitive in their finishes.

Individually, Carson Skillman (20th with a time of 1:58.11), Juliana Courville (15th with a time of 2:18.78) and Gabby LaRock (18th with a time of 2:20.96) competed in the 800m run, with Skillman and Courville posting personal bests.

Venice was close to medaling in two of its three relay events, but ultimately came up just over three seconds shy in both the 4x400m (11th place) and 4x800m (10th place) races.

Athletes Hannah Robertson, Gabby LaRock and Juliana Courville raced in both the 4x400 and the 4x800, with Rachel Rose rounding out the 4x400 and Mason Schilling completing the 4x800 team.

On the final leg of the 3A girls 4x800 relay, LaRock helped make it a tight finish. Trailing a touted squad in East Lake, LaRock charged ahead and picked her spot, helping her team earn its 10th place finish in the event.

“I passed in the last 200-300 (meters),” LaRock said. “I just wanted it so badly. That’s kind of my spot, right at the last corner. She had a big lead, but I just thought, ‘I have to get her.’”

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