Posted: 7:26 pm Thursday, April 4th, 2013

What to watch for in Saturday’s Palm Beach County Track and Field Championships 

By Matt Porter

Update: Avoiding the threat of severe thunderstorms capable of producing hail and wind gusts in excess of 60 mph, the organizers of the Palm Beach County track and field championships postponed Thursday’s running events.

They are now scheduled for 8 a.m. Saturday. They were originally postponed from Thursday to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Although unpopular with many athletes, parents and coaches, that date was necessary because district meets for Classes 1A and 2A begin next week. For schools in those classes, Saturday is the last day of the regular season.

But the change could take steam out of the 56th annual meet, which is held for bragging rights.

Several top competitors already planned to attend this weekend’s Florida Relays in Gainesville, including standouts from Suncoast, Lake Worth, King’s Academy and John I. Leonard.

Five girls ranked in the top 100 nationally in their events will skip the county meet: Suncoast sprinter Aluntrea Davis and hurdler Bianca Joseph; Lake Worth standouts Tatianna Etienne (400,800), hurdler Shakira Bartley and Tiah Sanborn (200).

In addition, King’s Academy senior Scott Simpson (800, 1,600) will instead compete in Gainesville, along with relay teams from Suncoast, King’s Academy, Lake Worth and John I. Leonard.

The top name competing at the county meet is Park Vista senior Christopher Grinley, ranked fourth in the state and 24th in the nation in the 110 hurdles (14.28 seconds). He’s also 10th in the state, 70th nationally in the 300 hurdles (39.24).

In the 300 hurdles, he’ll be pushed by Palm Beach Lakes junior Jonathan Hayden (fifth in the state, 18th nationally) and senior Darius Hodges (ninth in the state, 61st nationally).

Also worth watching:

Eric Whipple, Palm Beach Lakes, Sr. – The county’s best in the 200 (22.31) and subject of this story.

Markeith Dokes, Jupiter, Jr. – 28th in the state, 86th in the nation in 400 (49.23).

400 relays – Three Western Conference schools are all between 250 and 300 nationally. Glades Central (42.87), Palm Beach Central (42.99) and Pahokee (43.01) should put on a good show.

1,600 relays – Royal Palm Beach (3:22.43, 74th) and Palm Beach Lakes (3:23.44, 98th) are top-100 nationally.

Girls to watch at the county meet include Seminole Ridge senior Michelle Howell, ranked fourth in the state (34th nationally) in the 800 (2:17.98), and Dwyer senior Shanice Pettigrew, who is top-100 nationally in the 100 and 200.

Click here for coverage of the field events, which took place on Wednesday at Park Vista.