There was only one proper way for Ahmad Middleton’s sensational high school track and field career to end – with gold draped around his neck.
The Dunedin High hurdler and long jumper traveled to the University of North Florida, in Jacksonville, last weekend for the Class 2A state championships and accomplished just that.
Qualified for two out of his three specialty events, Middleton got his gold medal by blowing past the field in the 300-meter hurdles with a personal-best time of 37.12 seconds.
Prior to earning his title, Middleton grabbed bronze in the long jump with a final distance of 22 feet, 0.5 inches.
The senior also excels in the 110-meter hurdles but did not qualify for states after a collision during the region finals hindered his time. His personal- and season-best time of 14.28 seconds in the event would have been good for another gold.
As a junior, Middleton won bronze in the 300-meter hurdles and placed sixth and seventh in the long jump and 110-meter hurdles, respectively.
Joining Middleton in Jacksonville last week was fellow Falcon Olivia Welsh. Making her state meet debut, the sophomore placed sixth in the 100-meter hurdles and tied for seventh in the pole vault.
While Middleton brought North Pinellas its lone gold medal this year, Countryside High distance runner Andrew Llewellyn came close in the Class 4A 3,200-meter run. The senior earned silver, finishing less than two seconds behind state champ Jack Guyton from Plant High. Llewellyn also helped the Cougars 4x800-meter relay team place sixth.
East Lake sprinter George Campbell finished fifth in the Class 4A 100-meter sprint with a time of 10.79 seconds and teammate Chigozie Atavwigho came in seventh in the 110-meter hurdles.
Eagles freshman Jennifer Lima placed 10th in the 800-meter run and was the girls lead runner in the 4-by-800-meter relay team that finished 13th.